More than one billion people use Facebook Messenger every month to stay in touch with family and friends. The app is packed with functionality, which isn’t always obvious. New features, that you might not be aware of, are being rolled out all the time. Check out the tips and tricks below to find out if you’re making the most ofFacebook’s popular chat client.
Before we get started…
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have the most recent version of Facebook Messenger, which could easily be done in either operating system.
If you’re an iOS user, open the App Store and tap the Updates tab on the far right. Afterward, tap the Update All button in the top-right corner or the Update button directly to the right of Facebook Messenger, if available.
If you’re an Android user, open the Google Play Store and tap the three horizontal lines in the top left. Then, tap My apps & games from the resulting menu and you’ll see a list of possible updates. Find Facebook Messenger and update it as needed, or just tap Update all at the top.
Facebook Messenger basics
How to tell if your message has been read
When you send a message in Facebook Messenger, you can easily tell if it has been read when the other person’s profile picture appears to the bottom right of it. In group conversations, you’ll see multiple profile pictures appear as people read the message.
When you see an open blue circle, it means your message is being sent. An open blue circle with a check mark indicates that your message has been sent. A filled blue circle with a check mark indicates that your message has been delivered, though the recipient may not have read it yet. A red triangle indicates that it failed to send. It your message fails, then check your Wi-Fi and network connections.
How to make a voice or video call
Did you know that can use Facebook Messenger to make voice or video calls? Simply tap the phone icon in the top-right corner for a normal voice call or the video icon next to it for a video call. This will be free if you’re connected to Wi-Fi, but if you’re on a cellular network, then it’s going to use up some of your data allowance.
How to send an audio message
If the person you want to talk to isn’t there, you can always send an audio message for them to listen to later. All you need to do is tap the microphone icon. Continue pressing on the the red record button to record your message, then release the button to send it.
How to send a new photo or video
If you prefer to send a photo or a video, then tap the camera icon. The bottom half of your screen will show the camera view and you can tap to snap a photo or tap and hold to record a video. Once done, simply tap the blue arrow to send your photo or video. You can also active full-screen mode by tapping the icon in the bottom left, or switch to the selfie camera with the icon in the bottom right.
How to send a photo or video from your roll
You can also send photos and videos from your camera roll by tapping the picture icon next to the camera icon. A gallery will pop up and you can scroll through the recent photos and videos and choose which ones you’d like to send. If you want to add a message, or annotate a photo to show off something important, then tap the edit icon (which looks like a pen) before sending. You can also draw atop photos and add text.
Emoji tricks, GIFs, and Stickers
How to resize your Thumbs-Up
One of the quickest and easiest ways to respond to a message is to tap the blue thumbs-up icon. But did you know that you can tap and hold on it to make it grow? Now you can make your thumbs-ups as big as you’d like.
How to add a GIF
Some pictures are worth a thousand words, and GIFs can be ideal for conveying how you feel. Thankfully, Facebook Messenger has GIPHY integrated. To add a GIF to your conversation, just tap the GIF icon and type what you’re looking for to see a list of possible options. Tap on the one you want to send it.
How to add a sticker
If you want to send a sticker in a message, then tap the smiley face icon. The stickers are divided into sections, but you can enter specific terms to narrow the search results. When you find the one you want, just tap on it to send it. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, then you can tap the plus icon on the right to peruse the sticker store and get more options.
How to send balloons
If you open the emoticons and choose the lightbulb icon, you’ll find a balloon emoticon, which will trigger an animated burst of balloons for your recipient when you send it. You’ll also see the animation when you tap send.
How to send random cat pics
For cat lovers, there’s an easy shortcut to adorable feline pics. Just type “@dailycute” into the text field and hit send, and you’ll see a random cat pic pop up in the message thread.
More handy messaging tips
How to share your location
If you want to send someone a map of your exact location, then simply open a conversation with a contact or group of contacts and tap the location icon located above the text field (where it says “Write a message…”). The location icon is second from the right. If it’s the first time you’ve used it, you’ll be prompted to turn on location tracking, and then you should see a map with a list of nearby places beneath it. Tap the blue arrow on the right to insert the map of your location into the conversation.
How to set names and photos for group chats
Open the conversation and tap the name at the top if using iOS, or the “i” in the top-right corner if using Android. You can change the name at the top of a group page by tapping on it and saving your new name.
You can also tap at the top of the iOS app to capture or select a photo. In Android, you may need to tap the three vertical dots in the top right and choose Change group photo. You can choose one from your camera roll, or capture a new one.
How to set a nickname
If you prefer to use a nickname for someone in a conversation, then you can. Tap on their name at the top of a conversation if using iOS, or the “i” in the top right if using Android. Then, choose Nicknames, pick the person you want to set a nickname for, write it out, and tap Set.
How to mute a conversation
Sometimes, especially with group conversations, you’ll get bombarded by too many notifications. It’s hard to resist the impulse to check them when your phone beeps, but it’s annoying when it’s just another thumbs-up from a group member, or something that doesn’t apply to you. Thankfully, you can mute specific conversations easily. To do so, tap the name at the top in iOS, or the “i” in the top right of the Android app. Afterward, tap Notifications and you’ll be presented with a host of options for muting the conversation.
How to check messages from non-friends
Facebook Messenger allows people who aren’t officially your friends to send you messages, but it’s not immediately obvious where these messages are. If you want to check, tap the three horizontal lines to access your contacts page and look for Message Requests near the top. Then, you can read these messages and decide if you want to accept or ignore them. Some of them are going to be spam, sure, you might just find something interesting.
Play games, install apps, or send money
How to play basketball
If you want to shoot some hoops in Facebook Messenger, then tap the emoticon icon in the right of the text field — the one with the four faces — and tap the ball icon before choosing the basketball. After you hit the blue arrow to send it as a message, you can tap on it in the message thread and it will launch a basketball game. Simply swipe up to shoot and compete for the best high score.
How to play keepie-ups
Soccer fans can launch a similar game by sending the soccer ball as a message. Once you’ve sent it, tap on it in the message thread and it will launch a game where you must tap on the ball to keep it from falling off the bottom of the screen. Just like basketball, you can also compete for the high score.
How to play chess
You can play chess with a contact in Facebook Messenger. To start a new game, simply type “@fbchess play.” A board will pop, but you must use standard algebraic notation in order to interact with it, so you’ll need to type “@fbchess Pe4” to move a pawn to E4, for example. You can also type “@fbchess help” for further instructions and options.
How to install apps
There are quite a few apps that can be used with Facebook Messenger, assuming you have them installed on your phone. For example, you can use Spotify to send music tracks, or set Uber as a contact to book rides from directly within Messenger chat.
If you want to see the full list, then tap the three dots on the right in a conversation. You’ll see your installed options at the top and you can scroll down to see the full list of apps that can be used with Facebook Messenger. If there’s anything you like the look of in there, simply tap on it and you’ll be redirected to the Play Store or App Store to install it.
How to send money
If you’re over 18, live in the United Sates, and you’re prepared to add a Visa or Mastercard to your Facebook Messenger account, then you can send money through the app. All you need to do is tap the “$” icon in a conversation, choose the amount you want to send, and tap Pay in the top right. The recipient will also have to add a card to receive their money, however.