Introducing Firebase phone authentication: the next evolution of Digits

by Chris Oryschak, Product Manager

When we first launched Digits in 2014, our goal was to help you grow your user base through simple phone number verification. Before Digits, signing into apps was painful for app users. Passwords are hard to manage; more than 90% of users leave a service without attempting account recovery. Our own research also told us that over 70% of mobile teams aren’t happy with the traditional sign-in experience for their apps.

In a little over two years, Digits has helped over 20,000+ developers create frictionless sign-in flows and made it easy for 140 million users to log into apps in more than 200 countries. During that time, we’ve been thrilled by the response from the mobile community:

The results are striking! Not only did the sign-up rate increase by 45% over email, but two-thirds of new users chose to use their phone numbers rather than social login.

We constantly verify >1.5M new phone numbers per month. With Digits, it just worked out of the box.

By using Digits, musical.ly & live.ly are able to provide a clear path for user registration all over the world… big THANKS!

As we ramped up Digits to better serve you, we noticed there were limits to how much we could do on our own to make authentication even more seamless. That was one of the reasons why in January, we decided to join Google and partner with the Firebase team on the next evolution of Digits - leveraging Google’s global-scale infrastructure.

Today, we’re excited to introduce Firebase phone authentication - the next evolution of authentication. Firebase phone authentication includes the best of Digits plus more power, reliability and new features to drive user growth.

Everything you love, plus more

Firebase phone authentication will carry these existing features from Digits:

  • SMS-based phone number authentication
  • SDK with drop-in user flow for phone number entry, confirmation code sending, confirmation code entry and auth token creation
  • iOS, Android & Web support
  • SMS auth message customization
  • Global delivery capability
  • Minimum Android version

On top of these, we’ve upgraded our service to give you:

  • Faster user growth: new Android SDK features instant, 1 touch verification for users in your apps
  • More reliability: powered by the same telephony infrastructure that supports all Google products
  • More power: new, direct API access joins our simple-to-deploy SDKs for the ultimate in flexibility
  • Completely white-labeled: fully customizable phone authentication UI through our headless API 

To better serve you and innovate more quickly, we're graduating our service into Firebase and officially sunsetting the Digits brand. The Digits SDK and digits.com will continue to be functional until September 30th, 2017, at which point they will be retired fully. In the meantime, Firebase phone authentication will remain free of charge.

We’ll be rolling out access to Firebase phone authentication over the next few weeks. To help you upgrade easily, we are giving you the ability to link your existing Fabric account to Firebase. This will automatically migrate all your authentication data so your existing, verified users don’t need to log in again once you’ve deployed your app with Firebase phone authentication. And don’t worry - it won’t impact your current users in any way. 

If you’re already using Digits, we’ll be sending you an email with instructions within the next few weeks that’ll guide you on linking your account(s) - so hang tight :) 

We look forward to continue working with Firebase and helping you unlock global growth for your apps!