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  • Voltaire Staff

Signal introduces feature to hide phone number with 'username'

Messaging app Signal is introducing a new feature that replaces phone numbers with usernames in chats to safeguard users' privacy by keeping their phone numbers concealed.

The update will alter the default setting, ensuring that phone numbers are no longer openly displayed to all Signal users.

Individuals communicating via Signal will now have their phone numbers shielded from public view by default. However, contacts who already possess a user's phone number saved in their device will continue to have access to it, the San Francisco-based firm said in a blogpost.

A phone number will still be required for Signal registration.

"A username is not the profile name that’s displayed in chats, it’s not a permanent handle, and not visible to the people you are chatting with in Signal. A username is simply a way to initiate contact on Signal without sharing your phone number," Signal said.

The company cautioned, "Note that even once these features reach everyone, both you and the people you are chatting with on Signal will need to be using the most updated version of the app to take advantage of them."

Each version of Signal app expires after 90 days and had to be replaced with the latest version.

Signal is introducing another setting that allows users to manage who can discover them via their phone number on the platform.

Earlier, individuals had to possess the recipient's phone number to initiate contact on Signal. However, Signal has introduced a new feature that enables users to connect without revealing their phone numbers. They can do it now through usernames.

"We have also worked to ensure that keeping your phone number private from the people you speak with doesn’t necessitate giving more personal information to Signal," the company, known for end-to-end encryption of messages shared through it, said.

All these features -- though default, will be optional for users -- are currently in beta testing and are scheduled for release to all users over the next few weeks.





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