For whatever reason, you may find yourself needing or wanting to send a text to someone without your phone number showing up at the other end. In a world where privacy and anonymity are both being steadily eroded, it can be helpful to know about ways to send a message to someone’s phone without saying who you are. Being able to send an anonymous text is a minor protection of your privacy, but it might be one you find important one day–who knows? In this article, I will show you several ways to send a text anonymously or semi-anonymously.
How does anonymous texting work? First, let’s talk about how it works normally. Usually, SMS messages are packaged along with the sending number, the destination number, and the message itself. This is by design, so that individual packets (your text may take up one or many packets, depending on how long it is) can reach the destination number and be re-assembled into a coherent message. Including the sending number with the packet also lets the sending carrier know who to bill for the service.
With anonymous messaging, your sending number is stripped out after billing is triggered and then sent to the destination. So the phone company will know you sent the text, and charge you for it normally, but they won’t pass your number along to the recipient of the message.
Another, simpler approach to anonymous texts is apps and websites that use their own SMS numbers to pass along your message. The platform generally switches your sending number with its own for billing purposes, but the service’s own number is the one that gets sent along to the destination.
The two main ways to send an anonymous text are through an app or through a website. These services tend to come and go, so what follows are the apps and sites currently working in May of 2019.
Apps to send an anonymous text
Apps open up a lot of functionality with your texts. For instance you can use apps to forward text messages to your email. There are a few apps that have anonymous texting either as their main function or as an added benefit. Most of these will work on both Android and iOS.
Snapchat is a very well-known image-based social network. Snapchat is well-known in the public consciousness thanks to the innovative way it allows us to communicate. The main thing that makes it different from other platforms is that Snapchat messages don’t last forever. Instead, they disappear after a short time. The app includes the ability to send SMS without showing the identity of the sender.
Private Text Messaging & Calls
Private Text Messaging & Calls is an Android-only app. It can handle SMS, calls, image and file sharing, and will automatically self-destruct messages after a set time. It has a number of other privacy-oriented features and is worth checking out.
Signal is a secure communications app, apparently supported by Edward Snowden (the famous and controversial leaker/whistleblower who exposed the NSA’s vast data-gathering operation in 2013). Signal encrypts calls and texts, and you can send files and images securely. It also has the option to suppress your caller ID when calling or messaging, which is ideal if you want to send an anonymous text or call someone in secret.
Websites that let you send an anonymous text
If you don’t want to download an app for it, there are also a few websites that allow you to send anonymous texts. Many restrict the number of messages you can send in a day but are otherwise reliable.
These sites all work in about the same way. I have tested each one of these with an SMS and the texts were delivered within two minutes with all of them. Bear in mind that, since these sites are all free, delivery is not guaranteed.
TxtEmNow is a very slick website that allows you to an anonymous text to any North American or international phone. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, enter the number and a message, and hit Continue. You have the opportunity to confirm the details, and then the text is sent. Delivery took a while, but it did arrive and was anonymous.
Text ’em is very similar, although the website looks like something out of the 1990s. It gets the job done though. Enter the number, the carrier, and the message. Complete the Captcha and agree the ToS, then hit Send Message. The site seems to cover most North American carriers, with a few international ones thrown in.
SendAnonymousSMS does exactly what it says: send an anonymous message to any recipient in almost any country. The site is clean and easy to use. Enter the sender number, the country, the delivery number, and the message. Then enter the Captcha code and his Send SMS. Delivery with this one took quite a while and I don’t know why you need to enter your own number–maybe to track illegal messages. Nevertheless, the service works.
TextForFree.net is another very basic looking website that gets the job done. This site only seems to work in the U.S. but does deliver the message as long as you’re using one of the approved carriers. Just enter the number, the message header, and the message, then choose the carrier from the list and hit Send Free Text Message at the bottom. Again, delivery takes a while but it does get there.
That is three apps and four websites that currently allow you to send anonymous messages for free. Each has its strengths and weaknesses but they all get the job done. Got any other apps or websites that work? Tell us about them below if you do!