What is Discord Canary and Is It Safe?

Test out the latest updates first

Without testing, software developers can’t know for sure that the software they’re shipping is safe to use. It could come with bugs, security holes, or other problems that could cause it to stop working, pushing users to other software. That’s why major software releases, like Discord, test out new features before they’re released.

Discord Canary is the alpha test release of the popular community chat software. Just like Chrome Canary and other “canary”-branded software releases, Discord Canary gives willing test users access to new features and fixes. If you’re curious about Discord Canary and want to learn more, here’s what you’ll need to know.

What is Discord Canary?

To help mining communities protect against the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning, miners would take a canary with them to work. Taking “a canary down the coal mine” wasn’t metaphorical—it was a test to determine the air quality. If the canary survived, the miners would be safe enough to carry on work.

While miners no longer rely on canaries, software developers do. In technology terms, a “canary” is an alpha build or release of software, available for other developers, quality testers, and keen users to try out. A canary release isn’t a stable release, so crashes, bugs, and other issues are expected.

Discord Canary is no different. This alpha release is the initial test build for new features and bug releases. It’s the first of three Discord release channels, allowing the development team to test and resolve problems with Discord before a wider release is issued.

If features or bug fixes in Discord Canary are safe, they’ll be added to the Discord Public Test Build (PTB) for further beta testing before they’re released to the wider Discord community in the Discord Stable release. This is the release you’ll see and use when you download the desktop app or visit the Discord website. 

If these features or fixes aren’t stable or are unfinished, the development team could remove them from Discord before they release the PTB or Stable releases. These features may make a return after further refinement, or they may be scrapped entirely, depending on the development team’s wider plan for Discord.

Who is Discord Canary Suitable For?

Discord Canary is a very early test build. This means that the features, fixes, and other additions aren’t yet ready for the wider community. While Discord Canary is completely safe to use, it isn’t stable. If you’re keen to try it, you should expect the worst—it may crash or break, with features failing to work or work unexpectedly.

As a testbed release, only serious developers, testers, and enthusiasts should consider installing or trying out a Discord Canary build. However, if you’re keen to test out the latest Discord features, or you want to support the development team by helping to find bugs or problems, you can use Discord Canary to do so. 

If you want to try Discord Canary, you can download it as a desktop app or you can try the web-based version in your browser. If you do test it, expect bugs, crashes, errors, and more to occur. Discord Canary is for developers and serious testers and enthusiasts only—other users should stick to the stable release.

If you want to help out the development team, you can submit bug reports for Discord Canary through the Discord website or by joining the official Discord Testers community server to report issues instead. New bug fixes will appear in Discord Canary first for a smaller group of users to try before reaching the Stable release at a later stage.

Android and iPhone Discord users won’t be able to try Discord Canary on their devices, but you can sign up for early testing of new fixes and features by joining the Discord Testers community server.

How to Install Discord Canary

You can try out Discord Canary by downloading the latest build release of the Discord Canary desktop app or by trying it out in your web browser.

  1. To start, download the latest Discord Canary release for your operating system from the Discord website. You can download and use the desktop app on Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  1. After the download completes, run the installer for your operating system and follow the on-screen instructions.
  1. Once you’ve installed Discord Canary on your PC or Mac, launch it. You can find the app in your Windows Start menu or Mac Launchpad menu with a gold Discord icon—select this to launch the app.
  1. Discord Canary will check for updates when you first launch it. Once this is complete, sign in using your Discord account username and password.

How to Use Discord Canary in a Web Browser

While the desktop app offers the best way to fully test out Discord Canary, you can also try out new features and fixes in your web browser. Using Discord through your web browser offers many of the same features as the Discord desktop app, but some features (such as constant push-to-talk voice access) are unavailable.

  1. To try Discord Canary on the web, head to the Discord Canary website in your browser. Select the Open Discord in Your Browser option to proceed.
  1. You’ll need to type in your username, then select the checkbox below to confirm that you accept the terms and conditions. Select the enter button to proceed, then provide your password to confirm the sign in.
  1. Alternatively, select Login in the top-right corner of the Discord Canary website. 
  1. At the Login screen, you’ll sign in again with your username and password. Select the Login button to confirm and sign in. 

Once you sign in, you’ll be able to try new features and fixes that are specific to the web version of Discord Canary. If it’s too unstable to use, open the Discord Stable website and sign in to begin using that instead.

Testing Out Discord Canary

With Discord Canary installed on your PC or Mac, or by visiting the Discord Canary URL in your web browser, you can try out the latest features and bug fixes. If it’s a little unstable, you can switch to the beta test release in the Discord Public Test Build (PTB) release, or to the widely-available Discord Stable instead.

Whether you’re using Discord Canary or Discord Stable, you can try it out for free by setting up a new Discord server. If you want more from Discord, you can add new Discord bots to expand functionality, or consider switching to a number of Discord alternatives like Slack or Ventrilo instead.

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