Cool: WhatsApp Beta Testing Username Selection

WhatsApp will soon let people discover you via usernames

A Beta preview of the previously announced username feature shows you can create a unique identifier for your WhatsApp profile. The username field should appear underneath the existing Name field. You’ll find it if you navigate to Settings and tap your profile name. 

Beta preview of new WhatsApp username selection feature
Image Credit: WABetaInfo

Moving forward, you can find someone by their username if they’ve created one as well. Messaging them becomes easier as you don’t need to save phone numbers first. Whether or not it will have a dedicated search bar, or integrate into the existing method, you’re no longer restricted to finding contacts.

You don’t have to set a username if you don’t want to. Some of us simply prefer not to be discovered by search. If the previous feature is anything to go by, your username doesn’t have to be closely related to your real name. Also, chats remain end-to-end encrypted, so only you and the person you’re communicating can read the messages. 

Now comes the big caveat.

Early adopters are at an advantage

No two WhatsApp users can share one username. It’s something you may be familiar with on other platforms. But Beta users will have first picks since they get to test the feature before the official release. 

So if you’re not already in the program, you’ll struggle to create your preferred username, especially if you have popular choices in mind. At the time of this report, WhatsApp’s Beta program is full and you’ll have to wait for slots to open. It could take time as users have to leave the program or Meta may decide to create room for more testers. But if you’re already in the program, check for updates in your device’s store app.

It won’t hurt to keep an eye on the app’s info page, the official Google enrolment page, and the TestFlight app for iOS devices. It’s possible that access frequently opens and closes across different regions, and slots may still be available.

When will username creation become available on WhatsApp?

It’s unclear how the upcoming username feature will work and when it will reach the Google Play Store. You may have many questions in mind, like if people can still see your phone number on interaction with your profile, how the feature will work with groups and broadcasts, and character limitations. Since Meta hasn’t released an official statement concerning any UI changes, you’ll have to wait until they release the update.

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