Here’s a powerful privacy app that is unfairly being associated with nefarious purposes only—it could be quite useful in everyday life, too. Burner ($1.99) is an app that lets you create, or more accurately “rent”, short-term, disposable phone numbers. Calls to your burner number can be forwarded to your main iPhone number or sent directly to voicemail. You can also send/receive text messages with the temporary number.
The initial $1.99 cost of the app supplies enough credits for a burner number good for 7 days, 20 talk minutes, or 60 texts. After that, you can buy more credits to extend the current number or buy new, separate lines. For example, $3.99 gets you a 30-day, 100-minute burner.
While “burners” are usually associated with drug dealers trying to evade police wiretaps (have you seen The Wire?), there are many legitimate uses for temporary phone numbers. You could use it for selling stuff online (Craigslist, eBay, etc), dating sites (“call me maybe”), small public projects, etc.
The app itself is well designed (see screenshots below), especially when it comes to managing multiple burners at the same time. You can label each number with its purpose (for example, “Match.com”), view missed calls, send/receive text messages, and manage call & text forwarding within the app.
Another cool feature is that you can choose the area code of your new burner number. For example, if you’re in Hawaii, you could choose an “808” number. Burner provides only US phone numbers, and you must have a valid US phone number if you want calls to be forwarded to you.
When you are finished with the number, you can “burn” it to remove all evidence. Check out the video below to see the app in action.