WhatsApp is working on a new feature that could change how you use it

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WhatsApp has been in a real groove lately, consistently pumping out new feature after new feature since March. This time, the platform is rumored to be working on adding usernames to its Android app.

This information comes from WABetaInfo, which dug into the files of the latest Android beta where it discovered the update will be in the settings menu under an account’s Profile page. It appears you will be able to give yourself a unique moniker by tapping the pencil icon and then entering a name. Pretty simple stuff. WABetaInfo was also able to confirm “conversations initiated through usernames will still be protected by end-to-end encryption.” 

Beyond the few confirmations, very little is unknown about the feature. It is still in development although WABetaInfo does posit it could be used as “another layer of privacy”. Instead of having a phone number for all the world to see, you can hide it with a username. Plus, they can make it easier to identify and locate other people. No need to remember a phone number. This could be very useful in a WhatsApp Community which can be a verifiable sea of numbers since they can house over 1,000 members.

But, it's speculation at this point. We’ll just have to wait until Meta releases a more stable beta version of the feature to get some answers. Either way, this is definitely something to look forward to once it officially launches. 

Privacy focused

The latest beta is available for download from the Google Play Beta Program. While you won’t be able to create a unique username, you can check out the new group settings menu. The interface has been redesigned to be clearer and more intuitive. We don’t know if WhatsApp usernames will make their way to the iOS app. However, Meta is pretty good at making sure both sides of the mobile spectrum get the same update  –  even if it does take a while.

Privacy updates have been a major focus for WhatsApp this past month. Back at the beginning of May, Meta announced it was partnering up with Truecaller to stop spam calls from reaching users on its communications platform. For more personal control, the company also recently launched Chat Lock to keep your conversations away from prying eyes.

If you want to take your privacy protection to the next level, you may want to invest in a brand-new phone instead of just solely relying on software. Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best secure phones for May 2023 for some recommendations.

Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.