Signal Tests Sharing Public Usernames in Place of Phone Numbers

Encrypted messaging app Signal has announced it is testing public account usernames so that users don't have to share their phone number to connect through the service.

signal logo
Currently, signing up to Signal requires that you share your phone number with other users when connecting with them. While the new method still requires an account to be associated with a number during setup, it is not subsequently shared when contacting other users, making the communication even more private and secure.

According to Signal VP of engineering Jim O'Leary, the username test is currently limited to a separate build in the platform's Staging Environment and remains "pre-beta," so it may cause crashes and other bugs to occur since it fundamentally changes the way that accounts are identified in the Signal ecosystem.

Users who install the build will be able to share their usernames via a QR code or a link, allowing them to use it as a way for others to contact them, no phone number required. There is also an option to turn off phone number discovery in the app under Settings ➝ Privacy ➝ Phone number ➝ Who can find my number.

Signal has been working on usernames since at least 2019, but it is not known when the feature will be ready for primetime. Using the pre-beta build on desktop and iOS today requires some technical knowhow involving code compiling, more information about which can be found in the Signal forums.

Top Rated Comments

tomnavratil Avatar
4 weeks ago
One of the best messaging apps out there especially when it comes to privacy and security. This will help with anonymity as well, which was certainly one of the drawbacks for wider adoption.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SW3029 Avatar
4 weeks ago
Baffled why more people don't use Signal. It's even more secure than iMessage – not to mention Messenger or WhatsApp.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple_Robert Avatar
4 weeks ago
This feature wouldn’t be useful to me but, nice to see more privacy. I use the app to contact my employees and like it a lot.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kalafalas Avatar
4 weeks ago
I absolutely love signal, so happy to see them keep working on it!
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bustycat Avatar
4 weeks ago
An IM app caring about privacy finally cares about privacy.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nealibob Avatar
4 weeks ago
Hopefully this means we'll eventually be able to use the same Signal account on multiple phones. This is a huge limitation compared to most other messaging platforms.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.2 Will Add These 12 New Features to Your iPhone

Friday December 1, 2023 12:19 pm PST by
iOS 17.2 has been in beta testing for over a month, and it should be released to all users in a few more weeks. The software update includes many new features and changes for iPhones, including the dozen that we have highlighted below. iOS 17.2 is expected to be released to the public in mid-December. To learn about even more features coming in the update, check out our full list. Journal ...
anker new xmas 1

Anker's Cyber Week Sale Enters Final Days With Up to 60% Off Sitewide

Friday December 1, 2023 12:05 pm PST by
Anker's Black Friday/Cyber Week event is entering its final days this weekend, and it's still offering up to 60 percent off sitewide. There are also a few "mystery boxes" that can include hundreds of dollars in savings, if you're willing to risk not knowing what you're buying ahead of time. All of these sales will end on December 3. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Anker. When you...
iOS 17

28 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in December's iOS 17.2 Update

Friday December 1, 2023 2:57 am PST by
Apple made the first beta of iOS 17.2 available to developers in October. Since then we've seen three more betas, and with each iteration Apple continues to add more new features and changes, many of which users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 28 new things that are coming to your iPhone when the finalized version is publicly released this December. 1. Help...
top stories 2dec2023

Top Stories: iOS 17.1.2 Released, NameDrop Misinformation, and More

Saturday December 2, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Apple employees are back to work following a Thanksgiving break, and that means this week saw a number of new operating system updates for both public release and beta testing. This week also saw some misinformation about Apple's new NameDrop feature making the rounds, while Apple and Goldman Sachs appear to be on the verge of a break-up in their Apple Card and savings account partnership,...
General Apps Messages

Green Bubbles on iPhone to Gain These 7 New Features Next Year

Thursday November 30, 2023 9:00 am PST by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that it will finally support RCS in the Messages app on the iPhone starting later next year. This change will result in several improvements to the messaging experience between iPhones and Android devices. RCS will become the new default standard for messaging between iPhones and Android devices, but these conversations will still have green bubbles like...
m2 macbook air green

Get Apple's M2 MacBook Air and M3 MacBook Pro for Record Low Prices

Friday December 1, 2023 6:59 am PST by
Best Buy is discounting a collection of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models to all-time low prices today. We're tracking these deals below in addition to great discounts on the Apple Pencil 2 and Apple Watch Ultra 1. MacBook Air Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the...
iPhone 16 Mock Header Updated 1

iPhone 16 to Include Action Button Across Entire Lineup

Thursday November 30, 2023 4:08 pm PST by
The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max saw the introduction of an entirely new user-configurable button known as the Action button, and now, MacRumors has seen extensive evidence confirming Apple is planning to include the Action button on the entire iPhone 16 range. Designs and plans for the Action button date back to at least 2021, as the button was intended for release alongside hapt...