So, there’s a new app out there for the iPhone that will let you create a temproary number that routes to your real phone number, and can be set to stop working, or “burn,” after a set amount of time. Basically, the free Burner app comes with enough credits to create a temporary phone number called a mini-burner that expires after 20 minutes of talk time and/or 60 text messages, or after 7 days. Or you can burn it sooner.
Inbound and outbound calls use up your actual phone plan minutes and/or texts, but the actual identity of the caller and callee are kept private. You can then buy more credits, in various tiers starting at 3 for $1.99. These can be used to buy burner numbers of different lengths, or to extend burners you’re currently using.
Yeah, we all want to think we’re James Bond, but the reality is probably more mundane. Or, you know, way to hook up anonymously (possible NSFW link). As the iTunes description says, “** What will you use Burner for? **”
The devs say Burner is perfect for dating, job searches, short-term projects, craigslist transactions, Twitter and other social media, and whenever you want to keep your interaction private. It’s not for 911 or other emergency calls, and the Burner numbers do not support MMS, only SMS.
What separates this from a service like Skype or Google Voice is the temporary nature of the phone/text number. Obviously, you’re not going to want to use this to do anything illegal or that could put you in danger if the caller finds out who you really are, but real life can be tricky. It seems like Burner, with the control you have over the number itself, from within the app itself, is ideal if you need to be able to maintain anonymity or keep yourself from having to deal with day-after stalking or creepiness.