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WhatsApp: are you ready to set your username?



As one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, WhatsApp developers have to ensure that their apps work smoothly across multiple platforms (Android, iOS, desktops, etc.). This means ensuring parity in terms of feature additions, so that everyone can use the chat app as it was designed. Since May last year, we have known that WhatsApp is working to allow people to set usernames in the application.

WhatsApp: are you ready to set your username?

Anyway, we didn’t hear much about it until December. At that time, a beta version gave an early look at this functionality. WhatsApp developers are now closer to a wider rollout across all platforms, as username validation has arrived in the WhatsApp Business beta for iOS via TestFlight.

O WABetaInfo, which closely monitors the beta versions of Android and iOS for new additions, spotted this feature in particular. So the screenshot provided by the website reveals how personalized usernames will be validated. This is with the warning that only alphanumeric characters are allowed, i.e. az or 0-9. Naturally, usernames will need to be unique, which means you may have to try some variations if the name you want is already taken. While this specific validation screen appeared in the WhatsApp Business app, we expect regular accounts to follow a similar process for usernames across all platforms.

We haven’t seen much progress with WhatsApp usernames since the December beta update. Then we learned how people could search for other users by their usernames. It’s worth noting that usernames also made it into the beta version of WhatsApp for iOS in October. This has been expected for a long time. This is nothing new, as almost all other major messaging apps support usernames.

With the widespread adoption of usernames, WhatsApp aims to allow users to keep their phone numbers private.

Nowadays, phone numbers are necessary to communicate with people. We don’t expect WhatsApp to eliminate the phone number requirement for new accounts. However, allowing accounts to set usernames is a good way to ensure that contact numbers are only shared with trusted people. There is also the benefit of creating a catchy and memorable username. This way it may be easier to remember than a full phone number.

WABetaInfo says this username feature is still in development, with no information on when it might arrive. We assume WhatsApp wants to give it a few more months to ensure it’s well polished for Android, iOS and web/desktop apps. Meanwhile, WhatsApp is also working to allow channel owners to associate a username with their accounts, making them more easily identifiable by their followers.

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