Privacy enhancing Burner app creates disposable phone numbers

The new Burner app for iPhone generates throw-away phone numbers, which can be used for undercover operations or by those who simply prefer a deep layer of privacy.

With Burner, launched in just the US and Canada initially, users can create multiple new phone numbers for a day, a week, a month, or longer, and manage all inbound calls, SMS messages, and voicemails for each number. Once you are finished with the number, you can "burn" it by taking it out of service and wiping it from your phone, as if it never existed.

Each number is a separate line within the iPhone, which can be redirected to your main mobile number, or go straight to voicemail, according to the Burner app blog.

"You can use a Burner for dating, Craigslist, short-term projects, side businesses, bands, and other times when you need to be in touch but want to maintain a little privacy," the Burner team said.

The $1.99 (£1.28) app comes with credits to create one short-duration Burner line. Any additions to your phone-number cache require the purchase of more credits, which begin at $1.99 (£1.28). A discount is provided when buying credits in bulk.

To "burn" a number requires a user confirmation, but once the number is deleted, it is gone forever. Anyone who calls the burned phone number will hear a generic out-of-service message.

The app is not yet available for download in Apple's UK App Store, though the Burner team says this "will hopefully change shortly".