How to Hide Your Phone Number in WhatsApp
When you first create a WhatsApp account, you sign up using your existing phone number, which allows you to connect to users stored in your device’s contacts list. While they are plenty of benefits to using your phone number to sign up for WhatsApp, not every user is going to want to use their phone number to connect their WhatsApp account to their devices, especially if you’re interested in chatting privately with new connections online.
So, how can you get around this requirement while still managing to chat using WhatsApp?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple method for hiding your phone number from WhatsApp—you need to use a valid phone number to sign up with the service. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t deploy a secondary or alternate phone number to hide your device’s actual identifying digits on your device.
Let’s take a look at how it’s done.
Getting a New Phone Number
To start, we’ll need to utilize one of several different services and apps to gain you a new phone number. This won’t replace your current number—think of it as a secondary addition to your primary number.
There are more than a dozen services online that promise to give you secondary numbers, either for free phone calls and messages or as a temporary number, but not all of these services are created equal.
Google Voice is our top pick for and is perfect for our purposes. It offers personal and business services and is frequently updated on both web and mobile. Voice even allows you to use your number to forward calls, making free phone calls in the United States, and text your family and friends with ease.
Plus, when you select your Voice number, you’re able to customize it to make sure you get the number that’s right for you. Your number can be both called and sent text messages, making it just like a standard cell phone. It’s a great service, especially for free, and it comes as our top recommended service for anyone looking for a new phone number to use with WhatsApp.
Like Google Voice, Talkatone is built around providing alternate numbers to call and text US-based users for free (and to call and text numbers outside the United States for small charges). As such, you gain an alternate phone number for calling and texting when you join the service, complete with a US or Canada-based area code.
Talkatone even lets you change this number when you need to, a great feature that, as far as we know, isn’t allowed with Google Voice. Talkatone does include ads, but if you’re only using the phone number to verify your account, it’s easy to ignore the ads within the app itself to just focus solely on the alternate number you gain within the app.
While Voice and Talkatone are our top two picks because of their lack of cost and ease of use, if you’re looking for an app with a bit more functionality beyond simple calls and texts, or an app with the ability to create more than one number incredibly easy, check out these applications:
For the purposes of this article, we’ll be using a number from Google Voice, along with screenshots from Voice as we set up our new WhatsApp account.
Google Voice’s own setup process is fairly straightforward. You’ll need a Google account to get started, and the app and website will walk new users through picking a new number. Once you have your new Google Voice number handy, you’re ready to move onto the next step in the process.
Make sure you keep the Google Voice app open on your phone or keep the website open on your desktop to view the confirmation SMS message WhatsApp sends during account creation, or keep voice.google.com open on your computer’s browser.
Setting Up a New WhatsApp Account
Alright, once you’re armed with your new number from any of the services we outlined above, you’re ready to begin setting up a new WhatsApp account. For this article, we’re using the Android version of WhatsApp to test out this service.
Start by logging out of your WhatsApp account completely. Once you’ve reached the login screen for WhatsApp, WhatsApp will ask for your phone number to register your account and verify your device. Instead of entering your current phone number, enter the secondary number you created through Google Voice (or the alternative you chose).
Hit the “Next” icon, and WhatsApp will alert you to the number they’re going to verify. Make sure you entered your number correctly and hit “OK” to continue to the next step.
After this, WhatsApp will give you a prompt to automatically detect your verification code through viewing your SMS messages. While this is typically an easy method to skip manually entering a confirmation code, do not allow WhatsApp to do this. As the text is going to your Google Voice or Talkatone number and not to your device’s SMS inbox, WhatsApp won’t be able to detect the code from within your phone. Instead, click “Not Now” to send the code.
Once you’ve received your code, enter the six digits into the field on your device. Once you type the sixth digit, your device will automatically verify the number. You’ll be asked to input a name for your WhatsApp account (this can always be changed later; it isn’t a username), and once this is done, you’ll be brought to your new inbox.
Despite using your alternate number, you can still view your contacts automatically from your primary device, though keep in mind that they won’t see your name in your account unless you give them your alternate number or you start messaging them through the service.
How to Change Your Current WhatsApp Phone Number
If you’ve been using WhatsApp for years and don’t wish to erase your messages and contacts to start over with a secondary number, it is possible to change the number inside the settings of your WhatsApp account on your phone.
If you’re ready to change your WhatsApp number to a more private phone number, here’s how to do it. Once again, the steps below are using the Android version of the application, though iOS users should be able to follow similar steps on their own platform.
Start by opening up WhatsApp, which should open to your inbox. Tap on the three-dot menu icon in the top-right corner (for iOS users, you’re going to be heading into Settings) and tap on the Profile view at the top of your display to load your profile.
At the bottom of this screen, you should see your phone number that you used to sign up for the service. Tap on your phone number to open a prompt that allows you to edit your number. At the top of the display, tap on the “Next” icon, then enter your current phone number into the “Old Phone Number” field.
Below this, enter your new alternative number in the “New Phone Number” field. Also, remember to make sure your country code is correct if you’re using a non-US based temporary number.
- Go to WhatsApp
- Tap More options > Settings > Account > Change number
- Enter your current account phone number in the top box
- Enter your Google Voice number in the bottom box
- Tap Next
- Tap Notify Contacts if you want to tell your contacts about your number change.
- Tap DONE to save and verify the new phone number.
After following these steps, WhatsApp will update your account to include your Google Voice phone number.
There’s no way to hide your phone number from being able to be seen by your fellow contacts in WhatsApp. Unfortunately, the entire premise of WhatsApp was built around using a phone number to contact users while simultaneously providing a far more rich experience than what basic SMS message provides users.
While WhatsApp requires your phone number to add users and for contacts to message through the app, there’s nothing to stop you from using an alternate or burner phone number to effectively “hide” your real number. When you choose to use an alternate number on WhatsApp, you can give you that number freely to your contacts, friends, family, and associates, while simultaneously protecting your standard phone number from people you don’t know well.