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Have you ever wondered how to make a call anonymously or how to send an anonymous text?
If you have been in the dating scene or posted your resume online recently, you may want to use a false phone number during your initial communications with another person or business. Or perhaps you want to separate your personal and professional life, hiding your phone number indefinitely from colleagues.
There are a multitude of ethical reasons you may want to hide your phone number, but most people do it to stay safe online and protect their personal data. We have researched the best ways to call or text anonymously and which organizations have the best private messaging applications. But not every company can truly keep your messaging or metadata safe, so keep reading for some surprising information.
How to text anonymously
How to encrypt calls and texts
How to call anonymously
Have you started to receive telemarketing or spam calls out of nowhere? Your phone number may have been sold to any number of various organizations, making you the target of endless solicitation calls. This reason alone is good enough for most people to hide their caller ID or use a burner app before making phone calls.
1. Turn off caller ID
We have broken down how to turn off your caller ID for both iOS and Android phones.
How to turn off caller ID on iPhone
1. Open the Settings app.
2. Click on Phone.
3. Tap Show My Caller ID.
4. Turn the toggle off.
How to turn off caller ID on Android
There are a few different versions of Android phones, and for the instructions below, we used a Samsung phone. But the instructions should be similar regardless of the model of your Android phone.
- Open the Phone app.
- Tap the three dots in the top right and open Settings.
- Click on Call Settings.
- Tap on Supplementary Services.
- Select Show Caller ID.
- Select Hide Number.
Your number should now be hidden.
2. Use a burner app
Have you just started dating online and want to keep your real phone number private? Are you in charge of a seasonal business and would like to turn your phone number off at the end of your selling season?
There are many reasons people use burner apps (an application that provides a false phone number) to make calls anonymously. We’ve noted two popular burner apps below.
The Burner app provides multiple numbers to you for multiple life categories, such as professional life, dating, and others. It includes unlimited calls and texts, muting or blocking other numbers, the ability to delete or change numbers, and spam blocking. You can even organize your different categories of contacts by color.
The company offers a seven-day free trial and has two plans ranging from $4.99 to $9.99 per month. You can download and start your free trial with Burner on their website.
Hushed offers phone numbers from more than 300 area codes in three countries with multiple phone categories to fit your personal life. This makes Hushed a great app for travel because your family and friends can use a local number to reach you while you travel versus paying for long-distance charges.
The app doesn’t require a contract or personal verification to get started, and you can delete your numbers once you are done with them. Prepaid plans start at $1.99 per month, and you can choose a prepaid, unlimited, or pay-as-you-go international plan on their website.
How to text anonymously
Is there something you wanted to say to someone without your privacy being compromised? Do you need to make an anonymous report to the authorities? Your ethical views may be in the right place when making a friend aware of a situation or making an official report to your local authorities, but providing this information could backfire on your personal privacy.
There are many pros to sending anonymous texts:
- Protecting your personal identity
- Avoiding being spied on or tracked
- Avoiding future spam and text calls
- Keeping your number private during a short-term life situation
Conversely, there are also cons to hiding your number when you send text messages. The obvious downside is that someone may not be able to reach you when they need to, which is especially important if you are engaged in a business deal.
Another downside is that you’ll possibly be unable to build rapport with someone. Sending anonymous texts can be a red flag for people, making them believe you are not being fully transparent. This disconnect can make it harder for people to trust you enough to build a relationship or business connection with you.
We’ll show you how to send anonymous texts by using email, burner apps, and a website.
1. Use an email
Before using email to send anonymous texts, we suggest using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet traffic and keep your data private. Here's how to set up your email to send anonymous text messages.
1. Create an email account specifically for anonymous texting.
2. Get your contact’s phone number.
3. Locate the contact’s phone carrier from a site like Carrier Lookup.
4. Combine the person’s phone number with their phone carrier’s email domain. You can find a recent list of phone carriers' email domains online. Here are some of the most popular ones:
AT&T: @txt.att.net or @mms.att.net
Verizon: @vtext.com or @vzwpix.com
Sprint: @messaging.sprintpcs.com or @pm.sprint.com
5. Write the email you wish to send, entering in the contact’s phone number and carrier domain name into the To recipient box. Example: firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Hit Send.
2. Use a burner app
Burner apps are a popular way to use a different phone number without buying a completely separate burner phone. This is how to send an anonymous text from a burner app:
- Ensure your VPN is on and active.
- Download an anonymous text app like previously stated – Burner or Hushed from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
- Open the app and register for your account.
- Select a burner number.
- Start a new message.
- Enter the recipient's phone number.
- Write your anonymous text message.
- Click the send icon.
3. Use a website
Using an anonymous texting website is an easy way to hide your number, as not every website makes you register your information before sending a text to someone. This differs from a burner app or email service that can be traced back to you easily.
How to use a text messaging website:
- Ensure your VPN is on and your connection is encrypted.
- Find an anonymous texting website of your choice.
- Read through the website and make sure that the service is still active.
- Enter the recipient’s phone number.
- Compose your message.
- Click the send icon.
How to encrypt calls and texts
End-to-end encryption differs from the other communication methods we have mentioned in the way that the receiver can see the sender’s information. Encrypted calls and texts use a method called end-to-end encryption where only the sender and receiver can see the message.
No individual or organization can decode the communication from the time the communication is sent nor when it is received. This security method ensures that your sensitive data cannot be intercepted, and it is commonly used with messaging apps and email services.
Although your encrypted calls and texts are secure, they are not fully anonymous due to metadata. Metadata is essentially information about the data being sent, and that data can be traced back to you.
Particular data points like your phone number, time or date of the call/text, or your location may all contribute to you being identified as the sender. Don’t worry! You can still send anonymous texts and call anonymously through a service that encrypts your communications and also protects your metadata.
Pros and cons of encrypted messaging services
There are pros and cons to using an encrypted-messaging service. The main benefit of encryption is that it is a key way to prevent identity theft. Moreover, keeping your messages secure from other individuals, organizations, or the government is the main idea behind data privacy.
On the other hand, government agencies may not be able to crack strongly encrypted data for ethical law-enforcement purposes.
Some private messaging apps that claim to be secure may still be forced to provide data to the government. A 2022 TeleMessage article, written to cover a leaked FBI document, highlighted what metadata governments can obtain from various private messaging applications.
Some important talking points surround what types of data they could be forced to supply to the government, and the article found that services like WhatsApp and iMessage can disclose the full contents of your messages along with your metadata.
On the safer end, Signal and Telegram, two other popular messaging services, will not disclose your message content but may have to disclose a few other metadata points.
Our recommended private messaging app
There is a company that has solved the metadata privacy issue with cryptography on the blockchain – xx network. Their xx messenger app provides security at a quantum resistance level with a team of nodes on the blockchain that destroy the metadata after the sender receives a receipt of the message.
Founder David Chaum recognizes that his messaging platform is the first messaging app to combine end-to-end encryption with metadata protection, stating, “The xx messenger App is truly a decentralized App (dApp), which means that it operates on a decentralized blockchain autonomously through smart contracts.”
How to hide your number FAQs
Can anonymous calls or texts be traced?
Even if your communications feel anonymous, you should always be prepared to have the call or text traced back to you. Reversely, you may be able to find out who called you “anonymously” by using *69 or by utilizing a reverse phone lookup service, but these methods are not guaranteed.
It is harder to locate an individual sending anonymous texts or hiding their phone number when they are using a burner app, but it is not entirely impossible.
What is the best app for anonymous texting?
If you want truly anonymous content and anonymous metadata attached to it, the xx messenger mobile app is based on the newest technologies of cryptography, offering the most secure experience for messaging.
XX Network enables secure messaging that destroys the content and metadata on the blockchain, a unique service that leaves no metadata trail like other popular messaging app providers. If you want to use a different popular messaging app, Signal and Telegram are the safest options.
Is it illegal to text or call someone anonymously?
The legality of hiding your number depends on the context and content of the communication. If your intent is to threaten or continually harass someone, then it may be illegal. If you have questions on the legality of a call or text message, you should consult an attorney in your area.
The purpose of technology is to remain adaptable and provide advantages to the people that use it. It may be safer to use technology to your advantage by protecting your phone number until you really know someone.
Turning off your caller ID, using a burner app, texting from an anonymous website, or utilizing nascent technology like end-to-end encryption are all ways that you can stay safe when interacting with the digital world.