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Call or text while protecting your identity with StitMe

StitMe screenshots

"It is our belief that privacy is a right – not a commodity." Those are the words of Gurtaj Padda, CEO of StitMe, a free app for iOS that imports your contacts and let you call or text message anyone using a randomly generated phone number, thereby completely concealing your identity and real phone number. It works for both iPhone and iPad running iOS 5.0 or later.

Sign up using your regular phone number when you launch the app, then input the security code sent to you via SMS. The app asks if it can "securely" import your contacts. Say yes, because without your contacts in StitMe you lose out on the most important features.

It took me a while to figure out what purpose the main StitMe tab actually serves, probably about a solid five minutes to be honest. It turns out it's to add other people on StitMe. There's really nothing indicating this other than the logo at the top modified to include a plus sign. When you're friends with someone who uses the app, you communicate using your StitMe ID. This acts as a username, making the service similar to other apps like Kik.

That's really where the similarities end though. The Contacts view lists all your contacts much like the standard Contacts app, except there's notably no sorting options - you're stuck with alphabetical by last name only. Next to each name is the StitMe logo to invite them to join and a phone icon to make a phone call. When you tap the phone, a prompt will appear with an unfamiliar number. This, too, was another confusing UI element. It looks like you're about to dial this odd number, but the app is actually telling you that's how your number will appear on that person's caller ID.

StitMe screenshots

Trying to call a different person will generate a different number. In my test, it works very well. What's impressive is that the person you dial can even call back that number and your phone will ring. StitMe doesn't need to be open or even running in the background for this to work. It's just a typical iOS phone call. This is identity protection at its finest. One feature request: a dial pad to be able to essentially call anyone anonymously using a randomly generated number rather than just people in your contacts.

The Chats view is where all your private text messages are stored, but sadly chatting only works between two StitMe users. Again, this uses StitMe ID. Notifications informs you of missed calls and friend requests.

Lastly, the Settings view. There's not much special here; everything you'd expect except for one unique feature. Tap "Contact Time" in Settings to specify which days and even times during those days people can contact you using your StitMe ID or random phone numbers. Workers using this app should greatly appreciate this ability and the extensive customization options within it.

StitMe screenshots

StitMe is an effective solution for protecting your privacy making phone calls or sending messages. The calling feature in particular impressed me the most. Get past some of the confusing (or more blatantly poor) UI choices and StitMe proves to be pretty efficient.

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