One iPhone, Two Phone Numbers?

Is it possible?


Q: I have an iPhone 4S, and I'm wondering if I can keep the number that I already have as my own personal line and have a separate phone number that I can give out to other people? I'm wondering this because there's certain people that I wouldn't mind giving my phone number, but when they start acting creepy I'd like to ignore them. Also, would I have to have Wi-Fi to make it work?

A: Several years ago, some phone carriers in the US would let you have two different phone numbers on one cell phone. You had to pay an extra ten dollars a month or so, but then you could have a personal line and a professional line. Unfortunately, that practice has fallen to the wayside in the US like the roadside attractions on Route 66. I'm not sure if the US cell phone networks stop supporting it or the manufacturers stop making phones that could do it, or both. Overseas, Dual SIM card phones have started getting popular, but there's no way to have two phone numbers on one iPhone in the US. Well, you can buy a iPhone case from China that lets you have two SIM cards, but trust me, you don't want to mess with it. However, there's a few options that you can try that will accomplish the same thing you are trying to do.

The simplest option would be to get a cheap, prepaid phone for the creeps. Give them that number, and you can toss it if you have to. Another option is to simply block them from calling your phone number. Lifehacker has a great breakdown of how to block someone from calling you depending on who your phone carrier is. However, this only prevents them from calling your phone number from their phone number. If they get a new phone number, or try to call you from somewhere else, they'll still get to you. 

A slightly more complicated trick is to use Google Voice. With Google Voice, you'll have a separate phone number that you can set to forward to your phone number. I have several for different projects I work on. Each project gets its own phone number so I can give it out freely without giving out my personal cell phone number. You can even set Google Voice to forward to multiple phones and to chat in Gmail. If you ever called us on our old phone number 1-904-372-DEEM, you were calling a Google Voice number. (It still works, but now it forwards to our 1-888-972-9868 phone number.) You have a lot of options with Google Voice. The downside is that you have to use the Google Voice app to dial out or your phone number will appear on the caller ID. If you forget and accidently dial like normal, you just gave Mr. Creepy your phone number. Also, to use the app, you have to have a strong data connection over 3G or Wi-Fi. The app doesn't use VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) like Skype, Vonage or FaceTime, but it does connect the phone call using the Internet.

So, there's a few options you can try. Hopefully, one of them will help you find Mr. Right while you weed through the Mr. Creepys.

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