There is a major issue with Signal: Your account is tied to your phone number.
This makes these apps really easy to use, since there are no usernames or passwords to deal with. It also makes it easy to discover other app users; if someone is a contact in your phone and has the app installed, you can send them encrypted texts with no further effort. But it also means that if you want people to be able to send you messages securely, you need to hand out your phone number. This puts people who interact with the public in an awkward bind: Is the ability for strangers to contact you securely worth publishing your private phone number?
In this article I explain how to create a second Signal number that is safe to publish on your Twitter bio and business cards, so strangers have an easy way to contact you securely, while your primary phone number remains private. I explain how to obtain a second phone number, how to register it with the Signal server, and how to configure it to use Signal Desktop — even if you’re already using Signal Desktop with your private phone number.
Introducing Signal PINs – In the latest version of our apps, we’re introducing Signal PINs. Signal PINs are based on Secure Value Recovery, which we previewed in December, to allow supporting data like your profile, settings, and who you’ve blocked to be securely recovered should you lose or switch devices. PINs will also help facilitate new features like addressing that isn’t based exclusively on phone numbers, since the system address book will no longer be a viable way to maintain your network of contacts.
Your next upgrade deserves an upgrade – Signal iOS now includes a new feature that makes it possible to switch to a brand-new iPhone or iPad while securely transferring Signal information from your existing iOS device. As with every new Signal feature, the process is end-to-end encrypted and designed to protect your privacy. Transfers also occur over a local connection (similar to AirDrop), so even large migrations can be completed quickly.