The Best Burner Number Apps – Give Your Phone a Second Phone Number
Burner numbers aren’t just for criminals. In fact, there are some solid reasons why you might want to use a burner number app. However, there are tons of apps on the market to choose from, and you might be a little confused as to which app is the one for you. That’s why we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about burner number apps, as well as to give you some solid app recommendations. Think you might need a burner number? Then read on!
Table of Contents
Why Do I Need a Burner Number App?
A burner number app does something very specific. It gives you a new phone number that you can give out, one that isn’t your personal number. But when a caller dials that new number, it’s still your phone that rings. Historically, we’ll be honest, these burner numbers were used for criminal purposes, but there are a fair few less-nefarious reasons that you might want to get one.
If you need to put your phone number online, perhaps because you’re selling something, for example. Or maybe because you’re applying for a job. Or perhaps you’re giving your number to someone who may need it for a short period of time, but who you don’t want to have future contact with. Burner app numbers are useful for online dating, for giving out to Airbnb customers, and for all kinds of temporary contact.
The benefit of a burner number is that it can be destroyed, meaning whoever gets that number won’t be able to contact you using it at a later date. When and if you destroy that burner number is, of course, up to you. But if you’re giving out a phone number to people you don’t know or don’t know well, then a burner number just helps keep you a little safer. Plus, there’s little chance that a burner number can be traced back to your name or address (unlike a simple mobile number), so there’s added security there too.
Wait, Is This Legal?
Yes, burner number apps are legal in the UK. However, they won’t protect you from the all-seeing eye of the authorities. Calls and texts still come through to your personal phone, meaning they’ll still show up on phone records, and could potentially be accessed by the police, for example. So you won’t be evading problems if you happen to be a criminal. Plus, we wouldn’t advise giving out a burner number to the police or as contact info to a government office. This wouldn’t exactly be illegal, but it could lead to some serious questions.
What Are My Options?
You have two basic options when you’re looking at burner number apps, both with pros and cons. Here are your choices:
There are a few free apps, either completely free or with free trial periods. The obvious benefit here is that you don’t need to pay anything. However, options are extremely limited, and app quality varies. Most of these apps are free trials, meaning you’ll get a certain period of free use, but you’ll need to pay after that.
Pros: You don’t need to pay.
Cons: App might not work as well as you’d like, and in the case of a free trial you’ll end up having to pay after a few days anyway. Plus, choices are extremely limited.
Best For: Those looking for a burner number to use just for a day or so, those looking to try before they buy.
Your other choice is to go for a paid app. Paid apps vary, some are pay to download, some are pay per minute of calling, or pay per phone number added. Because you’re paying app quality tends to be higher, but those calling charges can add up pretty quickly, so you’ll need to be careful.
Pros: App is likely to be of better quality, you’ll have more options for adding extra numbers, etc.
Cons: Charges can add up quickly, so you could end up paying more than you bargained for.
Best For: Those looking for a burner number to use for a longer period of time, those that frequently need burner numbers
What Do I Need to Think About When Choosing an App?
There are a few things that you should be looking for when you’re checking out apps and deciding between them:
There are many burner number apps, but a great many of those are limited in the location that they can be used. The majority of these can be used in the US only, so do make sure that you’re downloading an app that can be used in the UK and that will give you UK phone numbers.
How is the app going to charge you where relevant? Apps have different payment models, including pay per minute of use, pay per phone number added, and buying credits which can then be used. It’s up to you to figure out which payment model is going to be best for you depending on how you plan to use the app. And you’ll need to keep an eye on those costs too because they can add up fast. Do be aware that since many of these apps are American, they’re priced in US dollars, and so monthly charges may vary due to the exchange rate.
Free trials are a great way to either get that burner number you need for a short period of time or to check out the service before committing. But do make sure that you read the terms and conditions carefully, and be sure that you know what you’re getting and that you know when charges will start being made to your account. There are cases of people signing up for free trials only to find that they’re charged anyway because they forgot to cancel a number, or because they ran over the trial period.
Quality of Service
As you know, not all apps are created equal. And some just flat out don’t work. Obviously, you’re looking for an app that’s going to do what you need it to do, so you’re really going to want to check out customer reviews to ensure that you’re getting an app that actually works. This is especially true if an app you’re interested in doesn’t have a free trial period.
What About Extra Features?
With so many burner number apps around companies do tend to add in extra features to their apps to make them more appealing. Whether you want any of these features or not is up to you, but here are a few of the more popular one:
- Extras such as voicemail, call forwarding, or MMS messages to the burner number
- Self-destructing messages that will be destroyed after a certain period of time
- Call routing through network numbers (generally burner number apps use internet calling, but in the case of poor internet reception apps that use call routing will use your cell phone service, meaning minutes will be deducted from your monthly phone bill limit)
- Allowing you to design ‘vanity numbers’ that are easy to remember
- Allowing you to sign up anonymously, without using an email account or other identifying information
- Encrypting messages, meaning they’re more difficult for outsiders to read
How We Selected Our Top Apps
We’re getting to those recommendations in just a second, but first a quick word about how we chose our top apps. We obviously looked at cost, as well as features and customer reviews, giving us a fair idea of how well apps worked and how they were rated. We used the apps ourselves in most cases, and since we’re surrounded by techie people pretty much all the time, we got plenty of professional advice to ensure that we’re recommending only the best.
That being said, let’s get on to the main event. Which burner number apps are the best?
The Top 6 Burner Number Apps
Right, now you should have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a solid burner number app. So let’s move on to looking at which apps are the best around.
Free Trial: Yes, 3 days
Plans and Pricing: 4 plans, starting from $1.99
Numbers: As many as you like, with an extra charge for more numbers
Hushed is one of the biggest names in burner number apps, and it has tons of features. It offers full encrypted calling and messaging, voicemail included with every number, and the ability to add as many numbers as you’d like (from around 40 countries, including the UK). They also support Bitcoin, so you don’t have to add a credit card to your account. Numbers automatically expire (the length they’re valid for depends on which plan you buy), but can be extended if you need to. There’s even a student discount.
When it comes to plans and pricing, Hushed offers something for everyone. 60 messages and 20 calling minutes valid for seven days goes for $1.99, 150 messages and 50 calling minutes goes for $3.99 valid for 30 days, or 250 messages and 100 minutes is $9.99 for 90 days. Alternatively, you can get unlimited messaging and calling for 30 days for $4.99 per month on a recurring basis. Adding another phone number will cost you $2 per number. You can also top up credit in the same you as you would with a pay as you go SIM card, with calls costing from 15 cents per minute, depending on where you’re calling.
The downside to Hushed is probably that it’s a little complex for the casual user. Payment plans, voicemail and extra numbers are all very well if you’re going to be continuously using burner numbers. But for those looking for a simple extra number for just a few days, Hushed is maybe a little too involved…
- Payment plans make things easy
- Easy to add extra numbers
- Numbers automatically expire, so you don’t need to remember to block or delete them
- Probably more features than the average user needs
- A little more expensive than other options
Free Trial: Kind of…
Plans and Pricing: Pay as you go (unless you register a business account)
Numbers: Up to 5 per account
Swytch is a UK based company, and whilst their app isn’t exactly a burner number app (it’s designed to make business calling easier), it works perfectly as one. Swytch offers internet cloud calling that can be used from any device, kind of like Skype does. You can add up to five numbers to an account, and have calls and messages from those numbers all come through the app. Currently, Swytch is limited to UK numbers only, but they are in the process of adding foreign numbers.
Swytch is free to private users, you’ll only need to pay per calling minute or per text message, though a £5 per month business plan lets you add more users to your account. Calls and texts between Swytch numbers are free. For other calls and texts, you’ll pay 6p per minute, and 5p per message. Incoming calls and messages are free.
On the downside, since Swytch isn’t technically a burner number app you won’t find a lot of the extras and security features like encryption that you find on other apps. However, at these prices, we can’t really complain.
- Affordable and easy to use
- Up to 5 additional numbers
- Pay as you use makes it easy to keep track of spending
- Not many extras
- No encryption
TextMe Up (Paid)
Free Trial: Yes, 10 credits
Plans and Pricing: Has a credit system
Numbers: As many as you like
TextMe Up is a pretty basic app. You create an account and can then create numbers connected to that account (UK, US or Canadian numbers). It’s simple, sleek, and easy. All your calls, contacts and numbers will be stored in one place, you just have to decide which number to use before making a call or sending a message.
You will get 10 credits for free, but after that, you’ll need more credits to make calls and send texts. The number of credits you’ll need will depend on where you’re calling or texting. To get credits you can buy credit pack, or you can earn free credits by watching videos and ads. Credit pack prices depend on how many you buy, with prices going from $1.99.
Some customers have reported difficulty in making calls using TextMe Up, though there have been no reports of difficulty receiving calls. Plus, the price of credit packs does get high when you consider how many credits are required to call some numbers. However, if you’re looking for a quick fix for a one-time situation, then TextMe Up could be the way to go.
- Super easy to use
- Easy to add extra numbers
- All numbers stored in the same place
- May experience difficulty making calls
- Credit packs could get pricey
Free Trial: First number is free
Plans and Pricing: Has a credit system, and additional numbers are paid
Numbers: As many as you like
Ring4 is as easy as it gets. You download the app, generate a number, and you’re good to go. You can call or text from that number as often as you like, and numbers are automatically disabled after seven days (but you can increase that period if you need to). You can even create a US number if you like (handy if you’re travelling). And that first number is free to create, though additional numbers will cost you.
Ring4 works on a credit system, so you’ll need credits in your account to call or send texts. Unlimited credit for 30 days costs $9.99, though there are smaller credit packs available if you need them. And again, you’ll need to pay to create more numbers after that initial free one.
The disadvantage here is probably that you’ll have to pay for credit, which may deter the casual user. If you’re only looking for a temporary number, then needing to buy a credit pack rather than pay per use may not be the best plan…
- Intuitive and easy to set up
- Adding extra numbers is simple
- All info is kept in the same place, you just choose which number to use when making a call
- Credit packs may be too expensive for casual users
- Most services are aimed more to the US market (vanity numbers, etc)
Another Number (Paid)
Free Trial: Three days
Plans and Pricing: Monthly subscription plus top ups
Numbers: As many as you like
Another Number is an app that’s full of extras, so it’s really for the more serious burner number user. You get another number, exactly as you’d expect, and can add more if you’d like. You can also add other users to your account. There’s a do not disturb setting, as well as voicemail (and you can even have your voicemail read to you if you like). And you get free texts and calls to other users of the app.
In terms of pricing, there are two plans available after your free trial. For £4.99 per month, you can use Another Number as a pay as you go service, buying credit top-ups whenever you need to. Or for £14.99 a month you can use the service as much as you like without having to buy credit. This makes Another Number a pretty flexible choice.
The downside here is that there’s no encryption. And Another Number is a little pricey when compared to other alternatives, plus numbers aren’t automatically destroyed so you’ll need to remember to block them once you’re done using them. But if you’re looking for a reliable burner number app, then this could be the way to go.
- Easy to set up and use
- Flexible payment system for both PAYG and unlimited use
- Includes voicemail
- Could be too pricey for some
- No encryption and numbers aren’t automatically destroyed
Flipper (Paid iOS ONLY)
Free Trial: Seven days
Plans and Pricing: Monthly subscription plans plus top ups
Numbers: As many as you like
If you’re an iPhone user, then Flipper could be the app that you’re looking for. You get to add as many numbers as you like (though you’ll need to pay for a monthly subscription for each number you add). You get a dedicated Flipper contact menu (so you won’t mix numbers up and accidentally call from the wrong number), voicemail, free credit each month, and the app itself locks so others can’t access it.
Calls and messages to other Flipper users are free, calls and messages to UK numbers are charged at 4p per minute for mobile numbers and 2p per minute for landlines, and 4p per text message. On top of this, you’ll also need to pay a monthly price for each number you add. Plans go from £3.99 for one month, £2.66 per month for three months, £2.33 per month for six months, and £1.99 per month for twelve months.
Flipper is fairly cheap when compared to other apps as long as you only want one number. If you need more than one number though, those prices can add up. And there’s no encryption here either, so you might have security worries. But for a hassle-free service, Flipper is a great choice should you happen to use an iPhone.
- Relatively cheap
- Voicemail included, and app locks for privacy
- Super easy to use
- Could be too pricey if you want more than one number
- Only available for iPhone
Got a question about burners numbers or other ways to have a disposable additional phone number? Feel free to contact us.