One of the dilemmas I am constantly faced with is deciding whether to use my cell phone for business related phone calls. I don’t mind using it and not getting compensated for doing so, but I’m more worried about people having my number. Yet there are times when I need to get back to someone right away and I am not necessarily at my work phone or even at the office. Being that I don’t have a landline at home and my cell phone is the only means of calling someone back, I am sometimes forced to use it.
But, now there is an alternative for situations like this with an app named Burner. Somewhat similar to Google Voice, it provides you with a separate phone number that can be used from your iPhone. So now you have two numbers, which can be very handy for a variety of situations, especially with using your iPhone for work and personal calls. That, and it helps you feel like Jason Bourne. Find out more after the jump.
How Does It Work?
When you first sign up for Burner, you are assigned a random number to use. What’s nice about this is that you can do everything you normally would with a phone, but with a totally different number. So I can call or text someone with Burner, and it will show up on their caller ID as that number, not my regular one and vice versa.
What makes this app different and somewhat unique is that your phone number is only temporary. Once you are done with it or the number expires, then you can “burn” it — hence the name. If you ever need a different number again, you can always just sign up for another one and you get it right away.
This is where the app can get a little pricey depending on what you plan to do with Burner. When you first get started, you are given three credits, which gives you your burner number for seven days, 20 mins of talk time or 60 texts, whichever runs out first. There are four different packages to choose from with the most expensive package costing eight credits, which gives you 60 days with your number, 75 minutes of talking or 225 texts.
When buying credits, you can get them in three, eight, 15 and 25 packs, with the lowest starting at $1.99 and the highest coming in at $11.99. As you can see, this is definitely a temporary phone number solution because if used over a long period of time, it can get really spendy, very quickly. Nowdays, even the highest package doesn’t go a long way and that package alone will cost you $5.
Temporary Is Key
The key to Burner is to use it only for a temporary fix and not as a permanent solution as you would something like Google Voice. There are a couple of reasons for this, with one being the most obvious: cost. Depending how you use it, you can easily spend $10-15 a month, and that would be on top of your iPhone bill.
Secondly, the features in Burner definitely point it toward a temporary solution, in that you can only make calls and send/receive texts with the app. The one big feature that is missing to make it more long term is voicemail integration, similar to Google Voice. Yes, you can rely on your iPhone voicemail when using Burner, and that is fine, but after using Google Voice myself, the way that they integrate voicemail with email and transcription, it is definitely handy to have.
The experience of using Burner was a very good one and I really like the concept behind it. I was able to reach out to them and ask how they are able to acquire so many phone numbers for their service. All they told me was that they got their numbers from a service called Twilio. That didn’t necessarily answer my question, but I didn’t want to push any further as I felt I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
If you are looking for a temporary solution to your phone number needs, then you definitely have to give Burner a try. You can get it on the App Store for $1.99, which also gives you three credits to start out with. I think it is a perfect way to start off with the app to try it and see if you actually would like it. I can definitely see a lot of reasons to want to use a service like this, I just wish they would also give you more of a long-term option as well.