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Instagram Is Testing a Feature That Will Let You Try on a New Name. Here’s Why Professionals Will Love It

March 21, 2019, 11:01 PM UTC
Instagram is testing a feature that lets people try on a new username, and hold onto their old handle, just in case they want it back.
Thomas Trutschel—Photothek via Getty Images

Changing your name can feel serious, even if it’s just your Instagram username.

There’s good news for anyone who wants to try on a new name, but without the commitment. The Facebook-owned photo sharing app is testing a new feature that lets people change their usernames, while keeping their old ones on reserve for 14 days, just in case the new name ends up not feeling like the right fit. The apparent test was spotted by developer Jane Manchun Wong, who has a track record of reverse-engineering apps to find new features companies are testing.

In a statement issued to Fortune, Instagram noted that the feature is in its early stages:

We’re always analyzing trends so we can build features that keep our community safe. We observed that if someone changes or loses their username, for example if they want to switch usernames or if they lose access to their account, it can sometimes be claimed quickly by another person. With this feature, we give the account holder the security of knowing their username is safe for a period of time following any changes.

Instagram’s name-switching feature is a great tool for anyone who wants to ditch the old Justin Bieber-related username they had as a teenager and make their Instagram appear more professional. On the flip side, it’s also a chance for a user to keep their following, but try on a more anonymous username that makes it harder for bosses, co-workers, or anyone else to find them in the wild.

And a new handle could also bring give neglected Instagram accounts a new lease life, by offering people the chance to keep their following, while also transitioning to a more private, unfiltered feed, or what kids these days call a “finsta,” which is short for fake Instagram.

Instagram has always made it easy to change your username without having to delete your account, followers, and photos. In her tweet, Wong said the change could prevent bots from continuing the practice of pouncing on high quality usernames, as soon as someone switches their name. Those handles can then be sold on the black market to people looking for high quality names that will make it easier to amass a following, at least easier than by using a handle with a bunch of extra numbers or letters tacked onto the end.