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Traveling with Allo? You can swap SIMs without logging out

In addition to being linked to your Google account, Allo is tied to your main phone number. That makes things tricky if you use multiple devices — unlike Hangouts, there's no easy way to use it on multiple phones at the same time right now. And the phone number tie-in might seem to make things difficult for travelers too — specifically being stuck on one phone number with the associated roaming costs when traveling abroad.

Fortunately, there's a simple workaround.

Allo is heavily inspired by WhatsApp, and the way it handles SIM swaps is basically borrowed from the rival service. Activating Allo on a new device is what ends your previous session, not changing the SIM in your phone. And even if you swap SIMs while you're traveling, Allo will remain activated on your old number — just so long as you don't sign into Allo with that number on a different device.

So if you want to use a local SIM when traveling, simply do the following:

  1. Activate Allo on your main (home) number using SMS authentication. (Chances are you've already done this.)
  2. Swap your SIM to a local one when you arrive at your destination.
  3. Continue using Allo as normal. You'll receive Allo messages sent to your home number while using the local (foreign) network for data, calls and texts.

If you're logged out for whatever reason, you'll be able to log back in by receiving Google's authentication text message to your main phone number. (You don't necessarily need your main SIM in your main phone to do this, just as long as you can receive the SMS.)

Alex Dobie
Alex Dobie

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

13 Comments
  • This is so insane. Duo and Allo should have just been one app - associated by e-mail.
  • That's called Hangouts, and we all know how it went
  • Hangouts using your email id but Allo is not. So merging both will be a good idea. But I dont think so google will consider this in near future.
  • You've literally jist described Hangouts. There's a reason they are using your phone number to sign up for this. Not everyone has a Google account and they're trying not to force people to create a Google account to use these apps.
  • And how are you going to install Allo from the PLAY STORE without a google account?
  • -Laughing out loud- You mean. Lmao ahahahahahah you know people don't "get" everything .....
  • iPhone users don't have the Play Store, so it's possible that one can download Allo without a Google account. Activating by phone number makes Allo more like WhatsApp, moreso than Hangouts.
  • It's all dumb, the purpose of "email" notice I didn't say GMAIL was so users can navigate one device to another using a number, I don't get people....traditional sms/mms hasn't stopped working and guess what you don't need an APP! Just another random unfinished product, well have something else in a few years when Google abandons this platform as well. Too much redundancy and little innovation. They were better off updating hangouts, getting more users on Google plus etc. Consistency, which is lacking...
  • Nope, keep them separated.
  • I have mine tied to my Google voice number.
  • Will dual SIM confuse it?
  • So what happens if you regularly use both your normal carrier cell# AND your Google Voice # for texting? Will Allo be able to receive and send msgs for both accounts? Hangouts makes this so easy.
  • So if you switch phones and reactivate the app, your messages are reset?