How to Text Someone & Have Another Number Show Up on an iPhone
By Jen Cordwainer
Updated August 29, 2017
The iPhone uses two types of messaging protocols: SMS and iMessage. Both of these communication methods are linked to your phone number, though you can set iMessage to only display your Apple ID. To make it appear as if you're texting from a different number, use third-party messaging apps that assign you a separate texting phone number, thereby keeping your real phone number out of the conversation.
Download and install TextFree from the App Store on your iPhone. Launch the application, and then press "Allow" at the Location Services prompt. Your location helps TextFree match area codes to your current state. Select your country from the drop-down menu, and then fill out the signup form to create a TextFree account. Press "Sign Up," and then tap "Accept" to agree to the TextFree terms of service. Select your new TextFree messaging phone number. If you do not want a local area code, tap "Change area code," and then type in a zip code to get a new list of potential phone numbers with matching area codes. Highlight an available phone number, tap "Get this number," and then press "Confirm." To message someone from your new phone number, tap the "Compose" icon, select a recipient from your contacts, type your message in the text field, and then press "Send."
Search for the free TextNow software in the App Store. After installing it, open the application, press "Create Account," and then complete the signup fields. Tap "Create Account," and then enter your desired area code. A small flag icon appears next to your choice, denoting the country that the area code is associated with. Press "Continue" to have TextNow assign you an available phone number. Tap "Done." Start a new message by tapping the icon that looks like a speech icon. Type in your recipient's phone number or press the "+" symbol to add someone from your contact list. Type your message in the text field, and then press "Send."
Burner offers a variety of free and paid plans that allow you to create varying amounts of phone numbers and send varying amounts of texts and calls. Search for the Burner app in the App Store. After installing the app, open it, and click "Sign Up." Enter your existing phone number and it will send you a code by text. Enter that code in the app and tap "Next." Enter your desired area code, tap "Search" and select a phone number. Start a new message by tapping the speech icon. Type in the phone number you want to message or search for one in your contacts.
With a free plan, you will have a limited number of texts and calls that you can place with that number. To upgrade your plan, tap the main menu then tap "Upgrade" and choose a plan that meets your needs. If you want to create a new number, tap the main menu, then tap "Create a Burner" and choose an appropriate plan.
Third-Party Messaging Protocols
The third-party apps detailed here use Wi-Fi to send and receive text messages. If your iPhone cannot connect to Wi-Fi, then the apps switch to cellular data to send and receive messages. This means that texts you send using these apps do not count toward the SMS allotment on your cellular plan.