A smartphone with five slot machine reels spelling “number” and a lever on the side.

Phone number generators are useful for those who want to keep their actual number close to their chests. Too many online forms ask for your number, but not all of them are worth trusting. That’s why you need a phone number generator to give you an alternative number and save you from all the spam. This article will tell you how that works.

Table of contents

    What is a phone number generator?

    A phone number generator gives you a new — and often temporary — phone number to use instead of your real phone number. These generators come in the form of apps or online services.

    Naturally, they give you more than just a random string of numbers (you can come up with that yourself). Largely through the miracle of internet telephony, these virtual phone numbers work just like real ones — you can receive calls and use them to verify web service sign-ups.

    But their usefulness doesn’t end there. Such numbers are also good for keeping your actual phone number away from spammers and scammers. Even if they get their hands on this new number, you can simply discard it or ignore the calls. 

    Benefits of having an alternative phone number

    The reasons to have an alternative phone number range from privacy to convenience. Let me explain it with some more words:

    Setting up new accounts spam-free: whenever you make a move online, you’re hit with prompts suggesting you register an account. And while some of those are honest businesses that wouldn’t mistreat the data you have given over, not all of them are. If you put in a generated phone number, you can shield your real one from spam or prevent it from serving as an inroad for scams.

    Leaving contacts on online marketplaces: selling stuff online might not be your business — maybe you’re just offloading a couch. However, a phone number attached to your Craigslist ad can linger long after the ad is gone. So why not use a temporary generated phone number that’s safe to give out to random strangers?

    Receiving business calls: everyone’s hustling and grinding these days, so it’s fairly realistic that you may also have a side business. The downside of that is customers might call you at all hours. Achieve a bit of privacy by not giving them your official phone number. 

    What are the methods to generate a phone number?

    Unsurprisingly, several methods exist to get a generated phone number. There are many platforms, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are some of the better-known options.

    Google Voice

    US and Canadian users can get Google Voice which will give them a single free number based on the user’s area code choice. The device compatibility ensures that you can place and receive calls on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.

    Additional benefits are available. For one, your calls can be automatically transcribed so that you can look up what you said without having to listen to your own voice (gross). You can filter unwanted calls and spam, too.

    The downside is that only a single number is available for free. A possibly even bigger issue is that the service hasn’t been rolled out worldwide yet. 


    TextFree bills itself as the original free texting app, but it also makes calls! You can use it for free on Android or iOS devices; just have Wi-Fi (or mobile data) on.

    The free model is supposedly ad-supported, so if you get high pressure at the merest hint of an ad like I do, it may not exactly work for you. On the other hand, free calls and texts!

    There’s also a paid version that removes ads. This is probably the high point of the premium experience, but it’s not the only one. It also prevents your phone number from expiring. And then you can also change your phone number as often as you need.  


    Sideline is one of the most prominent players out there, with more than 5 million downloads on the Google Play store alone. It is very much focused on serving as the second phone number for calls, though it offers messages as well.

    One of the big features is using cellular networks to make calls. Usually, apps like these operate as VoIP (Voice over IP) internet telephony. Naturally, calling over the internet is cheaper, but it’s only as good as your internet connection. Using carrier networks is supposed to maintain a higher standard of audio quality.

    Sideline also allows you to set up your own vanity number as your second phone number. All of that jazz doesn’t come cheap, but they do have a 7-day free-trial version

    Google and Amazon assistants

    Users in certain regions — for example, the US, Mexico, Canada — can use their home assistants to make calls. Under these circumstances, the caller ID would be anonymous. Though for Alexa, the default number is set to be your actual number, but you can change that setting via the app.

    All you need to do to make the call is to say the wake word followed by “call/dial” and the number you want to call. Alternatively, if you have the number in your contacts, you can just ask the device to call that person.

    The one downside is that you may not be able to do menu/voice mail prompts when calling businesses. Not having buttons to press is somewhat of an issue here. 

    What you need to consider before generating an alternative phone number

    Trustworthy provider
    It wouldn’t be great if the service forwarding your calls was planning to sell your number or even eavesdropping on your calls.
    Available in your country
    There’s a lot less use for a phone generator that doesn’t work within your local area.
    Security features
    What security benefits does the service offer?
    Device compatibility
    Would be really cool if it was compatible with an actual phone!
    If the call is not encrypted but going over VoIP, then it would be better to employ a VPN.
    Additional numbers
    Can you get more numbers with a single account?
    Will the service cost you, and how much?

    In conclusion: protect your phone number

    In a world where phone calls are increasingly either scams or spam, the only sane move is to get an alternative phone number you can discard at any time. Fortunately for you and me, the internet is full of alternatives for discerning tastes. But whichever method or tool you choose, make sure it’s safe.

    Bring back privacy to phone calls
    Don’t forget to make those VoIP calls safer


    How can I create a free phone number?

    There are multiple online services that provide a free phone number — for example, TextFree or Google Voice. All you need to do is find a free service that suits your needs and works well for you.

    Can I create a specific phone number?

    Some phone number generator services allow you to generate either a specific vanity number or transfer an existing number. 

    Can I create a mobile number online?

    Yes, there are online services — phone number generators — that allow you to create a mobile number online. Most of them will assign you a random number based on the geographical area of your choice. However, some phone generator services allow you to create a vanity number.