Signal Takes User Privacy a Step Further with Optional Usernames: An Analysis

Signal Messaging App
Signal Messaging App

Signal, the popular encrypted messaging app known for its strong commitment to user privacy, has recently introduced a new feature: usernames. This innovative addition aims to further enhance individual control over phone number visibility, addressing a long-standing privacy concern.

Here’s a breakdown of the key points and their potential impact:

No More Mandatory Phone Number Sharing:

  • Traditionally, Signal relied on phone numbers for user identification, potentially exposing them to unwanted calls or messages from those having their number.
  • With usernames, users can now initiate conversations without revealing their phone numbers, promoting greater anonymity and control over online interactions.

Signal’s mission and sole focus is private communication. For years, Signal has kept your messages private, your profile information (like your name and profile photo) private, your contacts private, and your groups private – among much else. Now we’re taking that one step further, by making your phone number on Signal more private.

said Randall Sarafa

Increased Flexibility and Convenience:

  • Usernames offer a more personalized way to identify oneself within the app, fostering a more user-friendly experience.
  • Sharing a username instead of a phone number becomes particularly useful for public figures, businesses, or those seeking broader reach without personal number exposure.

Privacy Settings at the Forefront:

  • Signal emphasizes user control over username visibility. Users can choose who can find them by username, offering granular privacy options.
  • The ability to hide phone numbers from existing contacts ensures even stricter privacy control for those who desire it.

How To Keep Your Signal Phone Number Privacy

Settings > Privacy > Phone Number > Who can see my number > Everybody/Nobody

When using Signal, you can choose whether you want your phone number visible to everyone you message or nobody. If you select the “nobody” option, only those with your phone number saved in their contacts list can see it on Signal.

User signal phone number privacy

Addressing Potential Concerns:

  • Usernames introduce the possibility of impersonation or abuse. However, Signal’s existing reputation for user safety and moderation, coupled with user education and reporting mechanisms, aims to mitigate these risks.
  • While usernames add complexity, Signal’s user interface remains intuitive and the core focus on encryption and message privacy remains unchanged.

Overall Impact:

  • This feature solidifies Signal’s position as a privacy-first messaging platform, attracting users who value control over their personal information.
  • By offering options and flexibility, Signal caters to a wider range of privacy needs and preferences, potentially expanding its user base.
  • The success of this update hinges on user adoption and responsible online behavior within the platform.


Signal’s introduction of usernames represents a significant step in empowering users to manage their phone number visibility and online identities. While concerns exist, the potential benefits for privacy and user experience appear promising. Whether this feature leads to wider adoption of Signal remains to be seen, but it undoubtedly reinforces the platform’s commitment to prioritizing user privacy above all else.

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