While Telegram is typically known for its privacy features, there is one glaring security hole in the app—you must provide your phone number to verify your account and use the service. You can’t just give it a fake number, either, because you have to receive a verification code on that number.
Although Telegram doesn’t use your number for anything after you register, having to provide a phone number could be a hurdle for privacy-minded users. Fortunately, you can bypass this requirement. In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of using Telegram without your phone number.
Can You Use Telegram Without a Phone Number?
Unfortunately, you cannot make a Telegram account without providing a phone number. Doing so helps Telegram prevent bots and automated account creation.
After giving the app your phone number, you can receive a voice call or an SMS text message with a verification code to verify your Telegram account.
Once you successfully verify your account, Telegram won’t ask or require access to your phone number.
Fortunately, there are several ways to get a phone number for a minute or two or for even longer. Telegram only needs a phone number during the registration process. And there’s no rule that you must use your own number.
How to Get a Temporary Number for Telegram
Plenty of services offer a burner or a temporary number that you can use for signing up for Telegram. Check out some of the options below.
Fragment is a blockchain platform that allows you to buy and sell anonymous phone numbers using Toncoin. You’ll have to download the Tonkeeper app on your device and set up a TON wallet. Connect the Tonkeeper app with Fragment using the Connect TON button and scan the QR code on your phone.
On Fragment, go to the Numbers section to buy an anonymous phone number instantly or place a bid for any phone number being auctioned. You can check the value of the number in TON with its equivalent dollar value.
Once you acquire an anonymous phone number from Fragment, go to Telegram, tap on Country, and select the Anonymous Numbers option. Use your Fragment phone number to verify your Telegram account.
2. Google Voice
Google Voice is a web-based telephone service from Google that provides users with a new phone number that they can use for voice calls and messaging.
The only downside to using a Google Voice number is that it is associated with your Google account. If your main concern is just preventing Telegram from knowing your phone number, then that won’t matter, but if you’re after ultimate privacy, this may not be your option.
Assuming Google Voice works for your security needs, here’s how to use Google Voice to get a Telegram account set up.
- Create a new Google account, if necessary.
- Navigate to Google Voice and register or select a phone number.
- It will ask you to input your phone number. Enter your number to complete the process.
- 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.
You can create a Google Account without a phone number too. Although the email service asks for it, there are some workarounds to bypass this.
TextNow is another messaging service that allows you to use a temporary email address to sign-up for the service. You can use it to get a phone number to receive authentication codes without using your contact number.
Once you installed and set up the app on your smartphone, you can sign up for Telegram using the phone number that TextNow provides you. You get two options to get the verification code: text or call. TextNow also offers paid alias phone numbers. That number is yours as long as you’re subscribed.
Burner is a useful call-forwarding app that gives you a secondary phone number. Using Burner, you can reroute phone calls from an alias phone number to your personal phone number. When someone calls you, they will only see the alias Burner number.
The best thing about Burner is you get a free one-week trial. You can use the free trial to set up your Telegram account. Burner won’t share your actual contact number with anyone even after the free trial ends.
You can also subscribe to Burner’s yearly/monthly plan if your wish to continue using the alias phone number. However, if you don’t want to subscribe to Burner after registering for a Telegram account, you should cancel your trial to avoid the subscription fees. Cancellation won’t impact your Telegram account.
CoverMe is more than just an app that offers alias phone numbers. You can use the dummy number to verify your Telegram account without worrying about your real phone number.
It also provides security features like encryption for calls and texting, self-destructing texts, and a private vault to store photos, videos, passwords, and documents with cloud backup. You can also add your friends to the CoverMe circle feature to send a broadcast message or start a group chat.
The only catch is encryption for calls and texting requires both parties to use CoverMe. Moreover, calls placed and received using CoverMe don’t appear on the phone bill. When others call you, they will only see the alias number.
Line2 offers the benefits of having a cloud phone number in addition to your regular phone number and using the cloud phone number to get the verification code for your Telegram account.
It provides both commercial and personal options that include a United States or Canada cloud phone number, unlimited SMS and voice minutes, and the ability to use the number on a mobile and a desktop computer.
While it doesn’t provide any security options like those in CoverMe, Line2 offers additional features such as call blocking, call forwarding, voicemail recording, caller ID, and more.
FreePhoneNum.com is a free-to-use website that gives you access to a list of temporary phone numbers. You can simply select a phone number from that list and use it to receive the Telegram verification text.
If your verification code doesn’t appear on the website, simply refresh the webpage, and it should appear on the page. Do note that everyone will be able to see your code if they click on the same number. We advise you not to use these numbers for any private purposes besides receiving verification codes.
In our testing, there were times when the alias number didn’t work. You will likely have to try multiple numbers until Telegram accepts one.
8. Receive SMS
Receive SMS is another free-to-use website like FreePhoneNum.com that gives you a temporary phone number. It gives you options to choose numbers from the U.K., U.S., and Canada, among other countries.
There is no limit to how many times you can use any number. You can use them for as long as you wish. Once you select a number listed on the website, you will be able to see all the text messages sent to that number by clicking on the Read SMS button.
Do note that everyone can see those messages if they select the same number. In our testing, we faced the same issue with Receive SMS that we witnessed with FreePhoneNum.com: not all numbers will always work. Finding a number that works may take a little trial and error.
More Privacy Tips
The reality is your phone number isn’t the only thing that ties you to your Telegram account. Another potential weakness in your anonymity is that your device’s unique MAC address is stored in at least a couple of places along the network backbone.
In theory, a sufficiently motivated government or law enforcement agency will have the resources to defeat your attempt at ultimate anonymity. As it happens, there are programs to change the MAC address of your phone or PC.
Lastly, you should enable two-factor authentication on your Telegram account after creating your account with a burner number.
Without this extra security measure, someone can log into your Telegram account with the spoofed number, access your conversations, or even delete your account. Of course, this will mean you’ll probably need to keep that number active to sign in to your account.
Be Sure to Delete Your Account
As one of our commenters pointed out, if you use a burner phone number, it will eventually get recycled back into the pool of eligible numbers that another person can use it. Assuming they also use Telegram, they may gain access to your messages and account long after you’ve moved on.
If you decide you no longer wish to use that particular Telegram account, be sure to delete it completely. That way, the next person with that number can start their own Telegram account fresh and never have access to yours.
Can I use someone else’s phone number to sign up for Telegram?
You certainly can. Just be mindful that they may be unable to create a Telegram account, and it may be difficult to log in with 2FA turned on.
Can I use a landline phone to sign up for Telegram?
Telegram requires users to verify via text. If you have the phone call verification option, this will work; if not, you need a cell phone.
Can I use Telegram for International calling?
Yes, you can use Telegram to make international VoIP calls for free. But this only works when the other person you are calling is also on Telegram. When traveling internationally, you can use this feature on WiFi to avoid data charges.