While Telegram is known for its privacy features, there is one rather obvious security flaw in the app: when you register for an account, you must provide your phone number in order to verify your account. You can’t just give it a fake phone number because you’ll need to receive a message on that number to verify your account and begin using the service.
Although Telegram does not use that number after you register, having to provide a phone number at all is a bad start for privacy-conscious users who want to maintain their anonymity.
Fortunately, getting around this requirement is simple. We’ll walk you through getting a Telegram account without having to give the service your real phone number in this article.
Can You Use Telegram Without a Phone Number?
You can’t create a Telegram account without providing a phone number, unfortunately. Bots and automated account creation are prohibited by this requirement.
You’ll either get a voice call or an SMS text message with a verification code to use to verify your Telegram account after giving the app your phone number.
However, once that call or text is received, you no longer need access to the number you provided. So, while having a phone number is required, Telegram does not require it.
Fortunately, there are numerous methods for obtaining a phone number for a minute or two, or even longer. Here are some quick and easy ways to get a temporary phone number.
Google Voice is a Google web-based telephone service that assigns users a new phone number that can be used for voice and text calls.
The only disadvantage of having a Google Voice number is that it is linked to your Google account. If your main concern is keeping Telegram from knowing your phone number, this isn’t an issue; however, if you want complete privacy, this may not be the best option.
Assuming Google Voice works for your security needs, here’s how to use Google Voice to get a Telegram account set up.
- Go to Google and set up a new account if necessary.
- Navigate to Google Voice and register or select a phone number.
- Register that number with Telegram and wait for the confirmation code to be delivered.
- Retrieve the code from your Google Voice window and type it into Telegram.
- Confirm your account and begin using it.
TextNow is another messaging service that we like because you can sign up for the service with a temporary email address and keep the phone number provided as long as you continue to use it and receive authentication codes later.
On your smartphone, download the app and grant all permissions at first. Use the phone number provided by TextNow to sign up for Telegram. If you don’t get the code via text first, wait for the timer to run out and then choose the option to get the code via phone call. You’ll only have a few minutes to answer the phone before it goes to TextNow’s voicemail. Enter the code and continue to set up your Telegram account.
There are two types of accounts: a short-term burner number for Craigslist or Telegram verification, and a long-term subscription number that you can keep for as long as you want. Short-term numbers are free, while long-term numbers are reasonably priced. Burner is a great option for users who don’t want their identity to be linked to their Telegram account.
FreePhoneNum.com is a website that provides free burner phone numbers. The service provides a very temporary phone number that can be used for verification or other purposes.
This service has worked for me to verify membership on a website. Some of the numbers provided will not work, but if you persevere and try again, one will.
Receive SMS is another free service I have used to verify membership without giving out my own number. It can work with Telegram but has the same issue that FreePhoneNum.com has in that not all numbers work all the time.
It may take a little trial and error to find one that works. Then it’s just a case of watching incoming messages for the verification code and adding that to your Telegram account on your phone.
More Privacy Tips
The truth is that your Telegram account is linked to more than just your phone number.
Your device’s unique MAC address is also stored in at least a couple of places along the network backbone, which could compromise your anonymity. A sufficiently motivated government or law enforcement agency should be able to defeat your attempt at complete anonymity. There are programs that allow you to change your MAC address, as well as the ever-popular VNC options.
Be Sure to Delete Your Account
If you use a burner phone number, it will eventually be recycled back into the pool of eligible numbers, where another person can use it, as one of our commenters pointed out. They may gain access to your messages and account long after you’ve moved on, assuming they use Telegram as well.
If you decide you no longer want to use that Telegram account, make sure you delete it entirely. That way, the next person who gets your phone number can create a new Telegram account and never see yours.
You certainly can. Just be mindful that they may not be able to create a Telegram account and it may be difficult to log in with 2FA turned on.
Telegram can be used as an internet program to avoid international charges from your cell phone carrier if you use it to call other people overseas. If you’re traveling internationally, you can use this feature only on WiFi to avoid paying extra fees. However, you will be charged if you use mobile data, so be cautious.