Phone keypad
Credit: Image by nickstone333 on Flickr. Some rights reserved

App of the week for journalists: Burner

Devices: iPhone, Android

Cost: Free, but you pay for the temporary phone numbers

What is it? Turns your smartphone into a burner phone by providing temporary numbers. You can select the town or city's area code and choose a phone number.

How is it of use to journalists?

Some journalists are dealing with subjects so sensitive that they need to consider telephone security. Investigative journalists have long used so-called burner phones, whereby they buy a sim card and then dispose of it.

This app allows you to buy temporary numbers. You are able to choose which town or city you want the temporary number to appear to come from.


For example, I selected London and was able to choose from a range of 020 numbers and buy a number which lasts for 30 days for £1.99.

The number works for incoming calls, outgoing calls, voicemail and SMS. You can also manage ringtones for each burner.

When you are finished using the number, you can 'burn' it, taking it out of service and wiping it from your phone as if it never existed.

Have you got a favourite app that you use as a journalist? Fill in this form to nominate an app for’s app of the week for journalists.

Update: The security of this app has not been independently verified and we would advise anyone using it to do so with caution.

Free daily newsletter

If you like our news and feature articles, you can sign up to receive our free daily (Mon-Fri) email newsletter (mobile friendly).