New Delhi– Encrypted messaging platform Signal is launching usernames for chats to keep your phone number private.

As a new default, the phone number will no longer be visible to everyone in Signal.

“People who have your number saved in their phone’s contacts will still see your phone number since they already know it,” the company said in a statement.

You can now create a unique username that you can use instead (you will still need a phone number to sign up for Signal).

“A username is not the profile name that’s displayed in chats, it’s not a permanent handle, and not visible to the people you are chatting with in Signal. A username is simply a way to initiate contact on Signal without sharing your phone number,” the company explained.

The users can also now enable a new, optional privacy setting.

“Unless people have your exact unique username, they won’t be able to start a conversation, or even know that you have a Signal account – even if they have your phone number,” said the company

These options are currently in beta and will be rolling out to everyone in the coming weeks.

According to the company, once these features roll out, your phone number will no longer be visible in Signal to anyone running the latest version of Signal who doesn’t already have it saved in their phone’s contacts.

“We’re also introducing a setting that lets you control who can find you by your phone number on Signal,” it added.

As last reported, Signal had 40 million active users. (IANS)