23 Facebook Messenger tips and tricks


Facebook recently announced more than a billion people are using Messenger every month, so Pocket-lint is rounding up some of the most interesting things you can do with the messaging app that’s clearly taken over the world.

However, we’re not going to cover basic things like how to send a message, photo, video, sticker, or emoji – nor are we going to discuss how to place a video/voice call. Those are functions that pretty much everyone knows how to use at this point. Instead, this handy guide, which is for the Android and iOS app, is all about those hidden tips and tricks, such as how to start a game of chess or interact with a bot.

Let us know in the comments if you know other tips and tricks worth including, as we plan to update this piece over time.

Share your location

iOS and Android

Open a chat with a friend, then tap the More button (four dots in a square) in the toolbar above the text field, and select Location. You may have to allow access to your location. From there, send your current location. Your friend will immediately get a map showing your exact location.

Give your friend a nickname

iOS

Open a chat with a friend, then tap his or her name at the top of the chat, and select Nicknames. You can then tap your friend’s name again to begin setting a nickname. The friend will see his or her new nickname in the chatbox.

Android

Open a chat with a friend, then tap the “i” button at the top of the chat, and select Nicknames. You can then tap your friend’s name to begin setting a nickname. The friend will see his or her new nickname in the chatbox.

Change the name of group chats

iOS

Open a group chat, then tap the names at the top of the chat, and select the names at the top. You can then change the name of the group chat to whatever you want. All your friends in the chat will see the new name.

Android

Open a group chat, then tap the “i” button at the top of the chat, and select the names at the top. You can then change the name of the group chat to whatever you want. All your friends in the chat will see the new name.

Change the photo of group chats

iOS

Open a group chat, then tap the names at the top of the chat, and select the names at the top again. You can then change the photo of the group chat by taking a new picture or adding a photo from your camera roll. All your friends in the chat will see the new photo.

Android

Open a group chat, then tap the “i” button at the top of the chat, and select the Extra Settings button (three vertical dots) button at the top. You can then change the photo for the group chat to whatever you want. All your friends in the chat will see the new photo.

Customise your chat theme

iOS

Open a chat with a friend or group, then tap the name at the top of the chat, and you’ll see a list of options that let you do things like mute notifications for a set period of time, add a nickname, select a colour or emoji for the conversation, and add more people. Tap the nickname, colour, or emoji options to customise the look and theme of the chat.

Android

Open a chat with a friend or group, then tap the “i” button at the top of the chat, and you’ll see a list of options like mute notifications for a set period, add a nickname, select a colour or emoji for the conversation, and add more people. Tap the nickname, colour, or emoji options to customise the look and theme of the chat.

Send a voice message

iOS and Android

Sometimes it’s just easier to say something rather than typing it up. To send a voice message, simply tap and hold the microphone to the left of the text field on your chat. Once you start a message, it’ll send when you stop holding the microphone, but you can drag it away to delete it. Anyway, say what you’re too lazy to type, and then lift your finger to automatically send to the chat.

Play basketball with a friend

iOS and Android

Open a chat with a friend, then find and send them a basketball emoji from your keyboard. From there, long-press on the emoji to open up a new screen where you can shoot hoops. Your friend will get a message asking them to play.

Send a bigger thumb-up

iOS and Android

Open a chat with a friend, and then hit the thumbs-up button in the toolbar above the text field. If you tap that button, you’ll send a quick thumbs-up to your friend, but if you hold down on it before releasing, you’ll enlarge the thumbs-up and can send that instead. This works with whatever emoji you have selected for the chat.

Change the color on your thumbs up emoji

iOS

Go to the Messenger home menu that displays all of your chats, and then click your photo displayed in the top left above the search bar. Scroll down to select emoji from the options. There, you’ll be able to choose from different options besides the default yellow thumbs up.

Android

Go to the Messenger home menu that displays all of your chats and click your photo displayed in the top left above the search bar. Scroll down to select Photos and Media. There, you’ll be able to select emoji from the choices given besides the default yellow thumbs up.

Open an app

iOS and Android

Open a chat and select the More button (four dots) in the toolbar to the left of the text field. That will open two rows, with the bottom row containing applications you can open to easily share with the person in your chat. For instance, you can easily share music across Apple Music, news stories from the Wall Street Journal, and your favorite pins from Pinterest, along with a whole lot more.

Send or request money

iOS and Android

Open a chat with a friend, then tap the More button (four dots) in the toolbar to the left of the text field, and select Payments. You can then toggle between pay or request to either send money or ask for money, respectively. Just enter the amount, add a note, and click next/request to send. You can also swipe left in this area to change the theme (to, like, a Christmas theme, for instance).

You’ll need to make sure you have a payment card setup, though. Open Messenger, then tap the Me/profile button in the menu bar, and select Payments. You’ll then see options to add a new debit card. You’ll also see your transaction history, with the ability to cancel sent requests.

Play a game

iOS or Android

Open a chat and tap the More button (four dots) in the toolbar to the left of the text field. There, you should see a games option with a controller icon. Click it, and then you’ll be able to select from the long list of available games. The person you’re chatting with will automatically get a notification to join you, or you can just keep playing by yourself.

Adjust notification preferences

iOS

If you’ve ever been in an active group chat, you’ve been inundated with notifications for every single message received. Fix the problem by muting the entire group chat (you can also do this for individual friends). Just open a chat with a friend or group, then tap the name at the top of the chat, and click the mute button located to the left. You can choose muting options like 15 minutes, one hour, eight hours, 24 hours, or until you turn notifications back on.

You can also adjust sound and vibration settings. Open Messenger, then tap the Me/profile button in the menu bar and select Notifications. You’ll see a Notifications in Messenger option. Tap it, and from this area, you can enable/disable sound and vibrations.

Android

Open a chat with a friend or group, then tap the “i” button at the top of the chat, and select Notifications. You can choose muting options like 15 minutes, one hour, eight hours, 24 hours, or until you turn notifications back on.

You can also adjust sound and vibration settings. Open Messenger, then tap the Me/profile button in the menu bar and select Notifications and Sound. You’ll then see options to adjust your sound and vibration preferences.

Remove notification previews

iOS

To stop notifications from showing up on your lock screen, open Messenger, then tap the Me/profile button in the menu bar and select Notifications. You’ll then see a Show Previews option that lets you show or hide message previews in alerts and banners.

Android

Open Messenger, then tap the Me/profile button in the menu bar and select Notifications and Sound. You’ll then see a Notifications Previews option that lets you show or hide message previews.

Draw on your photos

iOS

Open a chat with a friend, then tap the Camera button in the toolbar to the left of the text field, and swipe through the photos in your camera roll. Choose a photo, then long-press on it, and tap Edit. You’ll see options at the bottom of the photo preview that let you add text or doodles.

Android

Open a chat with a friend, then tap the Gallery button in the toolbar to the left of the text field, and swipe through the photos in your camera roll. Choose a photo and click the edit button. You’ll see options in the photo preview that let you add text or doodles on the top right.

Set a reminder

iOS and Android

Open a chat and select the more option (four dots) to the left of the text field. There you’ll see two rows of options, with the reminder marked by a bell in the top row. Click it, and you can select a name, time, and location for the reminder. Anyone in the chat with you will see the reminder.

Search in conversation

iOS

If you’re looking for a specific message in a chat, you can search for it.

Just start by clicking the name of the person or group you’re chatting with at the top of the screen. Then, select “Search in Conversation” from the menu that opens and a text field will open up. So, say if you’re looking for the Netflix login you know you’ve already received in an old chat, try typing “Netflix” into the search field, and then click search. You’ll see any mention of it in the history of that specific chat.

Android

Click the “i” icon in the top left of a chat. Then, select “Search in Conversation” from the menu and a text field will open up. Type what you want to search into the search field, click search, and you’ll see any mention of it in the history of that specific chat.

Turn on dark mode

iOS and Android

Go to the Messenger home menu that displays all of your chats, and click your photo displayed in the top left above the search bar. This will open a menu – with the first option being to toggle the dark mode on or off for all of your chats.

Save photos you take in the Messenger camera

iOS

Go to the Messenger home menu that displays all of your chats, and click your photo displayed in the top left above the search bar. Scroll down to select Data and Storage. There, you can toggle whether you want photos taken in the app saved to your device.

Android

Go to the Messenger home menu that displays all of your chats and click your photo above the search bar. Scroll down to select Photos and Media. There, you’ll want to turn on Save on capture to automatically save any photos you take in the app to your gallery.

Add filters to a photo

Android

This one currently only works on Android. Open a photo in messenger by clicking the gallery button to open your camera roll, then click the edit button. A list of options will open on the upper right side of the screen. Select the magic wand-shaped icon at the bottom of the screen, and you can select from any of the available Snapchat-like filters that are available.

Create a shortcut

Android

This one is for Android only, again. If there is a Messenger conversation you want to access quickly, you can create a quick-access shortcut on your home screen. Just long-press on any conversation under the Home tab to prompt a pop-up menu, where you’ll find the option to Create shortcut. Select that to create a shortcut on your phone’s home screen. It makes that Messenger conversation just a tap away.

Interact with a bot

iOS and Android

If you go to the main Messenger screen on your iPhone or Android device, you can access the Discover menu by clicking the compass icon on the bottom right of the screen. There, you’ll be able to choose chatbots that will interact with you. Check out Pocket-lint’s step-by-step guide to find out more about Messenger bots, including what they are and how you can find them.

Use the standalone Messenger site

Desktop

If you work in front of a computer most of the day, you can use Messenger without going to the Facebook homepage. Just go to Messenger.com. Unfortunately, this web app doesn’t pack all the functionality of the mobile app.

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