New Update Signal is now testing public usernames

Ink

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Hey, all!

If you’ve been following along with the commit messages across our repositories, it’s no secret that we’ve been working on bringing Usernames to Signal for a while now. After rounds of internal testing, we have hit the point where we think the community that powers these forums can help us test even further before public launch.

To do so, we’d first like to invite you to test in Staging. Think of The Staging Environment as a parallel Signal universe: you’ll need to install and run a new build (links below), and register for a new account with a phone number (you can use the same one you’re using in Production). Anybody you wish to talk with in Staging needs to be registered in Staging as well (please coordinate with your Signal testing pals in group chats rather than posting your phone numbers and usernames to the forums). We have no uptime guarantees in Staging, and it’s likely that push notifications won’t work as well, or potentially at all, during your testing.

Once you’re registered and running the app, please navigate into Settings / Profile and Settings / Privacy / Phone Number to explore the new functionality available in these builds. Please test creating usernames, sharing username links, modifying the sharing settings for your phone number, and inviting people to groups by username and by phone number alike.

As you’re testing, we’re most interested in hearing about crashes and seeing your corresponding debug logs 9 in this dedicated forum thread. These early builds are designed to proactively crash if it appears that anything has gone wrong under the hood, since we’re changing the fundamental way that accounts are identified in the Signal ecosystem. We know that there are some rough edges in the UX at the moment, as you might expect with pre-beta software, so you’re welcome to note issues you find in the UX, but we may already be aware of many of them. Lastly, we expect to update these builds daily, rather than the weekly cadence you’ve become accustomed to in the public beta channels (even as the server side of the staging environment goes up and down through various bouts of development and deployment on our side).

Thank you, and happy testing!
 

silversurfer

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Signal’s mission and sole focus is private communication. For years, Signal has kept your messages private, your profile information (like your name and profile photo) private, your contacts private, and your groups private – among much else. Now we’re taking that one step further, by making your phone number on Signal more private.

Here’s how:
  • New default: Your phone number will no longer be visible to everyone in Signal
    • If you use Signal, your phone number will no longer be visible to everyone you chat with by default. People who have your number saved in their phone’s contacts will still see your phone number since they already know it.
  • Connect without sharing your phone number
    • If you don’t want to hand out your phone number to chat with someone on Signal, you can now create a unique username that you can use instead (you will still need a phone number to sign up for Signal). Note that a username is not the profile name that’s displayed in chats, it’s not a permanent handle, and not visible to the people you are chatting with in Signal. A username is simply a way to initiate contact on Signal without sharing your phone number.
  • Control who can find you on Signal by phone number
    • If you don’t want people to be able to find you by searching for your phone number on Signal, you can now enable a new, optional privacy setting. This means that unless people have your exact unique username, they won’t be able to start a conversation, or even know that you have a Signal account – even if they have your phone number.
Right now, these options are in beta, and will be rolling out to everyone in the coming weeks.
 

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