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Signal usernames are being rolled out in beta to keep your phone number private

Signal usernames have long been inexplicably missing from the secure messaging app, which requires users to share their phone number with contacts. However, the situation changes in the latest beta version …

Edward Snowden famously recommends Signal for those looking for the most secure private messaging app, but it has one privacy flaw: You could only share your data with new contacts by entering your registered phone number.

The company has responded to repeated requests for username support

Until now, someone needed to know your phone number to contact you on Signal. You can now connect to Signal without having to give out your phone number. (You'll still need a phone number to sign up for Signal.) This is where usernames come in.

Instead of sharing your phone number, you can now share your username. You can also create a QR code or link that directs people to your username, allowing them to quickly contact you on Signal.

Usernames are not the same as your profile name—they're just a temporary identifier that allows someone to find you in the app. Once you've enabled this feature, your phone number will no longer appear in chats by default unless someone else has your number saved in their contacts.

The company emphasizes that creating a username is optional , and you can choose whether to make your phone number visible or not.

If you still want everyone to see your phone number when messaging them, you can change the default by going to Settings > Privacy > Phone Number > Who can see my number. You can choose to have your phone number visible to “Everyone” you message on Signal or to “Nobody.” If you select Nobody, the only people who will see your phone number in Signal are the people who already have it saved in their phone contacts.

You can now also prevent people from searching you by phone number.

If you don't want people to be able to find you by searching for your phone number in Signal, you can now enable a new optional privacy option. This means that unless people have your exact unique username, they won't be able to start a conversation or even know that you have a Signal account, even if they have your phone number.

Image: Signal

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