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UIDAI Phone Contact Mystery: Not All Mobiles Have it, Yet

Here is what we have found out about the UIDAI number popping up on smartphones across the country.

Updated:August 3, 2018, 6:03 PM IST
UIDAI Phone Contact Mystery: Not All Mobiles Have it, Yet
(Photo for representation)
The Internet has gone ablaze once again with the discussion around Aadhaar but for a completely different reason this time. On Friday, smartphone users across the country started noticing a UIDAI number saved in their contact list. Following this, the Twitterati went into a frenzy asking one simple question, where did the number come from, as none of the users seemed to have saved the number on their own. Addressing the rising concerns around this, UIDAI released a press statement mentioning that the authority had no role to play in this and had not directed any of the telecom operators or the mobile manufacturers to push the number on the devices. "UIDAI has not asked or communicated to any manufacturer or service provider for providing any such facility whatsoever," the statement read.

So where did this number come from? While this is an intricate question that cannot be answered easily, a quest to find the pattern of the number's appearance has ensued. Though many first thought that the number is being pushed by Google's Android OS on its devices, the fact that several Apple iPhones also display the number discards the claims.

Here is what else we have found out about the UIDAI number popping up on smartphones across the country:

- First and foremost, UIDAI has acknowledged that the number that the smartphone users are reporting is not its official helpline number anymore and has since long been changed to 1947, while the number being displayed on the phones is 1800-300-1947.

- In our findings, all the smartphones are still displaying the old number, i.e. 1800-300-1947, in their contact lists. Though there have been reports online wherein people have mentioned seeing the new number saved in their contact list by default.

- In an attempt to find the source of the number being pushed, we started a BlackBerry device after a factory reset. We wanted to check if the number is being pushed by the network operators or through an internet update. Without connecting the device to the internet or inserting a SIM, we looked for the number and Voila! It was there.

- While this might hint at the number being fed into the systems by the mobile manufacturers, apparently not all the operators are following this practice. In particular, after checking in multiple units, we have till now not come across any Xiaomi smartphone that displays the number. Then again, there are users who have tweeted about seeing the number on their Xiaomi devices.

- Not only on Android, the UIDAI number is also visible on the iOS devices. We checked on several iPhones to find the number on almost all of them. Interestingly the number was found on iPhones with iOS 11.4.1 while it was not seen on those with iOS 11.0.2.

- We checked for the numbers on a JioPhone and did not find either the new or the old UIDAI number on it.
| Edited by: Sarthak Dogra
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