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Encrypted messaging app Signal is testing public account usernames to eliminate the need for users to share their phone numbers when connecting to the service. This is a major change for Signal, as previously users needed to share their phone number with others in order to connect.

The new username feature will allow users to set a unique username that others can use to find them on Signal without needing to know their phone number. Users can share their username via a QR code or link, or disable phone number discovery in the app’s Settings.

Signal VP of Engineering Jim O’Leary announced the new feature on Twitter, writing, “Signal is testing username functionality:

Signal is testing username functionality. This means you don’t have to give your phone number to the person you want to contact. Instead of sharing it with others, you can make your phone number private.

The new username feature is currently being tested in a pre-beta version of Signal for desktop and iOS. It’s unclear when the feature will be released to the public.

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Signal test username, no phone number required

WhatsApp will also test usernames

Signal’s rival WhatsApp is also testing a similar feature, with WhatsApp users soon being able to set up usernames for their accounts instead of cell phone numbers. This will allow users to choose handles that represent their preferences and is expected to improve security and privacy.

Benefits of usernames

There are several benefits to using usernames instead of phone numbers in messaging apps. First, usernames are more private. When you share your phone number with others, you provide them with a way to contact you directly, even if you don’t want them to know. With a username, you control who can reach you and only share your username with people you want to be able to reach you.

Secondly, usernames are more secure. Phone numbers can be easily spoofed, which means someone can pretend to use your phone number to make a call or send a text message. This can be used for phishing attacks or other scams. Usernames are much harder to spoof, making them a safer way to communicate.

Finally, usernames are more convenient. Usernames are easier to remember and easier to enter than phone numbers. This makes it easier to communicate with others using Signal or other messaging applications that support usernames.

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