Unfortunately, you can’t. You need a phone number to use WhatsApp. That being said, there are 3 ways that you can circumvent using your specific mobile number on WhatsApp. While that offers you a greater degree of anonymity, it’s still possible to ultimately track the account back to you.
Hi, I’m Aaron. I love tinkering with technology and trying to figure out how to subvert its functionality and improve privacy and security.
Let’s dig into what you can do to make sure WhatsApp doesn’t show your number.
Table of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- Why WhatsApp Needs Your Number
- So How Do I Get Around It?
- A Note About Privacy
- WhatsApp needs your phone number by design.
- You can use a virtual number in lieu of your mobile number.
- There’s also the option of getting an entirely separate SIM card and new phone number.
- Your landline may also be an option, if you have one.
- Remember, these options will just obfuscate your mobile phone number, not make you anonymous.
Why WhatsApp Needs Your Number
WhatsApp is a platform-agnostic texting service. To make it easy to set up on phones, it asks for your number. You can set up a separate WhatsApp profile, but that’s not required.
Effectively, it was a sensible design decision. A platform designed to supplant inbuilt messaging apps needs to operate at least as easily as those apps in addition to providing more functionality. Since default SMS apps really only require a phone number, WhatsApp was designed similarly.
So How Do I Get Around It?
You’re probably asking at this point of the article. There are a few ways to do so, starting with…
Method 1: Using a Virtual Number
There are many services online, including Google Voice, that will give you a virtual phone number you can use for calling and texting. You can use that phone number for your WhatsApp account.
The obvious benefit of doing that is that you don’t need to expose your mobile number on WhatsApp. People can look you up using the virtual phone number.
Remember that some services have expiration dates on virtual phone numbers. If you want to continue using those numbers, you need to make sure to renew them. You could lose access to WhatsApp if you lose access to the number.
You could also…
Method 2: Use Another SIM Card
Your phone is typically assigned a number from the carrier via a SIM card. If you get a second SIM card–and pay for the associated phone and data plan–then you’ll be able to use that to provide a phone number for WhatsApp.
Most phones only use one SIM card at a time. If your phone only has one SIM card slot, then you’ll need to power off your phone and remove one SIM card before inserting the other. That seems awfully inconvenient–not to mention that you’re likely to lose one or both SIM cards at some point. They’re tiny!
You can buy a dual-SIM phone. Dual-SIM phones have two SIM card slots and are designed to operate with both simultaneously. If you have a dual-SIM phone, then you don’t need to swap SIM cards and instead you can just insert the second SIM card to use with WhatsApp.
Finally, you could try…
Method 3: Using Your Landline
If you have a landline phone, you can use that number for WhatsApp. Obviously, you can’t text using the landline phone. But if all you need is a number for registering a WhatsApp account, that’s absolutely a possibility.
If you use your landline, SMS validation of your number will fail and WhatsApp will call you with a verification code. You can then input the code into WhatsApp to use the service.
A Note About Privacy
It’s important to note that all the options outlined here ultimately identify you as the number owner. The only security they provide is not revealing your mobile number to people who you don’t want to have it.
If you’re concerned about being identified and your messages tracked back to you, WhatsApp isn’t the app for you. There are other more anonymous options that have a tradeoff of being less convenient to use.
Here are some answers to commonly asked questions related to using WhatsApp without showing your phone number.
Can Someone Find You on WhatsApp Without Your Phone Number?
No. You need a phone number to find someone on WhatsApp. If they set up WhatsApp with their name, then you’ll be able to see their name after locating them to verify it’s the person with whom you’re looking to text.
When You Add Someone on WhatsApp Will They Know Your Number?
No, not unless you contact them. You can add someone on WhatsApp, but until you contact them, WhatsApp won’t provide a notice that you’ve added them.
How Can I Access WhatsApp Without Someone Knowing?
If you’re trying to stay under the radar when accessing messages, you can turn off read receipts in your account privacy settings. That way, someone else won’t know when you’ve read their messages.
WhatsApp requires that you use a phone number. You have a few options so that you don’t need to use your mobile phone number. Those options won’t make you anonymous, but they will prevent someone from learning your mobile phone number.
Have you found another creative way to get around WhatsApp phone number requirements? Let me know in the comments below!
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