WhatsApp may soon introduce usernames

The update could change the way users find each other on the app.


WhatsApp has been rolling out a constant stream of updates lately across its platform. The latest news comes in the form of a profile update, with WhatsApp reportedly working on a new username option, WABetaInfo reports. Included in the latest WhatsApp beta for Android update is a new field in the profile section of the app, which asks users to choose their own unique handle.

The added option brings WhatsApp one step closer to how people communicate on fellow Meta-owned app Instagram, though not much is known about how a username will work on the messaging app. It could mean a significant change in how people find each other on WhatsApp and increase their privacy — instead of a person needing to share their personal phone number or QR code to chat, a user-chosen username might be enough. End-to-end encryption is said to still be deployed on WhatsApp conversations started by username.

This announcement comes on the heels of another sought-out feature release: message editing. The update allows WhatsApp users to alter a message within 15 minutes of sending it, with the caveat that it will have the word "edited" written beside the timestamp. The messaging app also rolled out "Chat Lock" in May, a tool that lets you make specific one-on-one or group chats available solely through entering your password or biometric scanning. It also stops messages from popping up as notifications.

As for usernames, WhatsApp has yet to set a release date or even confirm the feature. It will likely be offered to beta users first when it does arrive before rolling out across all devices.