21 Facebook Messenger tricks you’re (probably) not aware of

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Since splitting from its social media granddaddy, Messenger has consistently received a slew of cool features – many without actually informing you.

To keep you in the loop and in the interest of staying ahead of the chat game, here are 21 tricks that will make you the king of Messenger and envy of all your friends.

Use Facebook Messenger without a Facebook account

messenger-sign-up-androidThat’s right, Messenger isn’t just for awkward Facebook friends anymore. If you’re one of the rare few who doesn’t have a Facebook account, simply sign up with a valid phone number. The app won’t judge you.

Get on it: Download the free (iOS/Android/Windows Phone) app and you’ll see there’s an option for Not On Facebook. Click on that and follow the instructions to get on Messenger without being on Facebook. Now you can remain elusive without being uncontactable.

Works for: Everyone who’s successfully resisted the temptation of Facebook

Share photos easily with facial recognition

messenger_photo_magicSharing photographs just got a whole lot easier. With Photo Magic, the app itself will identify your friends and suggest that you send the photo to them. It takes all the actual thought of disseminating embarrassing club photos after a wild night out of it, leaving you more time to actually talk to your friends.

Get on it: To enable the feature, tap on the settings tab on the bottom bar, go into Photos & Media, and swipe on the Photo Magic option to toggle it on. It’s only available on Android for now. Once it’s on, you will get reminder notifications to send them photos they’re in. Photos are not automatically sent; you’ll get last say over what gets sent.

Works for: Android users for now

Play basketball with your friends

basketball_game_0This awesome Messenger Easter egg is the new way to fool around with your friends online. When you’re sick of chatting and sharing links, you can now shoot virtual hoops with your friends.

Get on it: Go into the app and send a basketball emoji, and then tap on the emoji. You’ll find a hidden basketball game where you compete with your friend to make the most baskets in a row. The game ends whenever you choose it so, so resilience is power. And yes, competitive ones, the highest score will be saved in the app.

Works for: Individual and group chats. Just don’t end friendships over this.

Share music with Spotify

spotify_for_facebook_messengerIf you’re both a Messenger and Spotify user, then you’ll be happy to know that you can share your tunes with your friends through the service.

Get on it: Open a conversation and tap the (…) icon to open the apps menu. Scroll down until you find Spotify, and tap it. This will launch the app, and any song you choose from there will be sent through your conversations in the form of an album cover.

If they have Spotify, they’ll be able the play the song you choose specifically for them. It’s like the new-age digital boombox above your head. Except without John Cusack.

Works for: Group and individual chats. Have fun imposing your music preferences on your friends!

See hidden filtered message requests

filtered_messagesLong gone are the days when you can literally approach anybody you want through Messenger — security is tight nowadays, and if you haven’t realised, Facebook is filtering all unexpected messaging coming into your inbox.

Get on it: If you’re curious to see where these message requests go, tap on the Settings gear in the bottom right hand corner, then People, then tap Message Requests. You can then tap on filtered requests to see what you’ve been missing out on.

Works for: Everyone afflicted with a serious case of FOMO

Give friends nicknames in Facebook Messenger

nicknamesMessenger will take your proper Facebook name, but if you and your friends rather use funny and/or mortifying nicknames, there’s a way to do that.

Get on it: Tap the person’s name, and then tap Nickname to be given the freedom to change either your nickname or theirs. You can also change their names to yours and vice versa. But be warned, things can get confusing and we won’t be held responsible for any miscommunication.

Works for: Group and individual chats. You can finally give your partner that nauseating pet name. Nobody else has to know.

Colour your world

colour_0If you have a very special chat that you’d like to personalize, why not set a chat colour to brighten the mood and differentiate all your chats?

Get on it: Tap on the person’s name, and then select the Colour menu to be given some bright options to choose from. Tap on your chosen shade to change the colour of the text bubbles and icons.

Works for: Group and individual chats. Messenger will never look the same again after you’ve splashed some digital colour on the interface.

Set an Emoji shortcut

emojiIt’s pretty clear now emoji have taken over the world, so it makes sense that Messenger would follow suit and give you an emoji shortcut to help you communicate in cryptic pictures.

Get on it: Tap on the person or group chat’s name, and then select the emoji menu. You’ll be given a choice from a selection of emojis that you can set to be placed on the bottom right-hand side of your chat to replace the classic thumbs-up. You never have to fiddle with your keyboards in Messenger to find the one and only emoji you ever use anyway.

Works for: All chats. And yes, before you ask, they have the poop emoji too.

Share Locations

locationIf you’re rushing to meet someone, or you need to direct your friends to your dinner spot, send help by directing your friends and family to the right place.

Get on it: To do so, open a conversation, tap the(…) icon on the bottom right hand side, and then location. This will show you your current location, and give you the option to either send your current location, or pin another location.

Works for: Both group and individual chats, so you don’t have to start individual chats to send directions to everyone in the group.

Stay stealthy and use the web version

messenger_webInstead of constantly looking at your phone or opening the horribly distracting Facebook.com, especially just as your boss is passing by, open the much more discreet dedicated web version for Messenger. It keeps your messaging separate from your Facebook life, so that means all of the private chats, and less of the clickbait.

Get on it: Head over to Messenger.com and sign in. That’s all you have to do.

Works for: Everyone with Messenger and an internet browser. All your chats will appear in a new window, don’t worry about any of your precious chats going missing.

Varying degrees of like

The Facebook Like, as represented by that now familiar blue thumbs-up, is the answer to everything. Literally. We’re serious. When you cannot be bothered to look for a sticker that correctly expresses your sentiments, or bother typing a reply, just go for that good old Facebook like.

Get on it: Tap on the thumbs up sign in the right corner of the bar. You can choose to go with a tiny thumbs up to show a little approval. Or tap and hold down that thumbs up till it wriggles and grows, and take your thumb off to flash either a medium or big thumbs up to show the difference in how much you approve.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Add apps

facebook_messenger_appsYou can do more than send the usual photos and videos taken with your phone’s native camera. If you’re the type to add a little more pizzazz to, well, your type, this next tip’s for you. Within the Facebook Messenger app lies other apps that will allow you to jazz up your messages with all manner of GIFs, moving text and enhanced videos.

Get on it: Go to More (…) in any of your chats and you’ll find a long list of apps that work with Messenger. They range from GIF-creating to photo-enhancing filters and effects. Whichever you choose, you’ll be able to create a little visual celebration for your friend.

It’s no coincidence that GIF makes up most of “gift”. You’ll be able to access these apps directly from Messenger so get creating there. There’s more than enough apps to help you express yourself in brand new ways.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Close suggestions bar

Sometimes Messenger’s word suggestions can be more of a hindrance than help. If you’re the type who’d much rather rely on your own typing, there’s a way to remove that distracting word suggestion bar.

Get on it: Get your thumb, or finger, directly on the suggestion bar itself and swipe downwards. If ever you want to be corrected again, just swipe up from the white dash above your keyboard. Easy.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Get more stickers

facebook_messenger_stickersWho can get enough of stickers? We find they fill the gap quite nicely when words fail us. Also, when we’re too lazy to spell things out for whoever we’re talking to, it’s always easier to tap on a sticker that’s open to interpretation. Plus, if they accuse you of saying something you didn’t, you can retort “I didn’t say that”, because well, you really didn’t.

Get on it: Tap on the sticker icon (the smiley face that’s fourth from the left), and it will bring up different categories that you can tap into. If you like a specific character, you can tap on the “+” to add themed sticker sets. There’s even one devoted to Mark Zuckerberg’s dog, Beast.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Edit photos

facebook_messenger_photo_editAdd a personal touch to photos you send over. Especially useful when you have the habit of sending screenshots of other conversations to people. When there’s a whole screen full of chatter, people won’t know where to look. You can focus their attention with a helpful scribble or two.

Get on it: In a chat, tap on the third icon from the left to bring up the most recently taken photos in your camera roll, tap on one and then tap Edit. You’ll be able to add text or do a free-finger drawing, or do both actually. When it comes to adding text, you won’t be able to change the font colour, but for free-finger drawing, just tap on the colour of your choice on the colour bar on the right.

Works for: Group and individual chats

View shared photos

facebook_messenger_view_shared_photosYou probably send as many photos as you send messages. And sometimes you want to find that photo of your friend’s delicious looking lunch to share and torture other friends with. You don’t have to scroll through all the noise of the messages you’ve exchanged to find that one photo tucked away between layers of text. Just look at your Shared Photos folder.

Get on it: Tap on the “i” icon in the top right corner of whatever chat you want to view the photos of. Then, tap on Shared Photos to bring up all the photos you’ve ever shared in Facebook history, even way before Messenger became a separate app. Be warned, it’s all too easy to get carried away with the reminiscing and forget you were even looking for a particular photo in the first place.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Mute notifications

facebook_messenger_notificationsIf you’re in an active group chat you’re not really paying attention to and get way too distracted by the notifications, there’s a way to steer clear of it without having to exit the group chat. God forbid you should come across as anti-social (even if you really are).

Get on it: Tap on the offending group chat, or squawky individual chat, then the “i” in the top right corner, and finally Notifications. You get a choice of five options, from a short 15 minutes to focus on your work at hand, to an entire day if you’re trying to see if anyone will feel your missing presence, to Until I (can be bothered to) turn it back on.

Works for: Group and individual chats

Shift groups around

facebook_messenger_pin_groupsAgain, if you’ve got too many group chats going on, you might need to get a little bit organised about them. On the Groups page in your Messenger app, you can move them around so only the ones you really care about are at the top for quick access, while the others you can’t be bothered with are hidden way at the bottom.

Get on it: Go to the Groups tab in the bottom bar of your app, tap on it and you will find all your Group chats nicely listed with the participants named. You can Pin (top left corner) a new group chat, or move chats around by tapping and holding a group chat until it pops up, like you would move your apps around.

Works for: Group chats

Democratic group chats

facebook_messenger_boot_peopleSometimes you’re just done with certain people in a chat. And now, it doesn’t even matter if you’re the one who started the group chat or someone who’s just invited, everybody gets autonomy! Which means you can kick someone out of the chat, invite whoever you please, or change the topic.

Get on it: We know you can always leave the chat, but sometimes you can make more of a point by booting them from the group. Just tap on the Group Chat, then “i” in the top right, and then the “i” next to the person you’d like to chuck out of the conversation. Finally tap Remove From Group to cull them. Don’t worry, you can always add them back. Or someone else could.

Works for: Group chats

Make free calls over Wi-Fi

facebook_messenger_callsYou probably have more friends on Facebook than you have on your phone’s contact list. Now you don’t have to ask for someone’s number to call them. In the event of wanting to make direct contact, you can make free calls to them via Messenger.

Get on it: Tap on People in the bottom bar and tap on the phone icon next to their name. You should be able to get through to them unless they did not sync their number when they downloaded Messenger. In that case, they’ll receive an automated message telling them they’ve missed a call from you and an option to call back. Be warned that the calls will be relying on data if you’re not in a Wi-Fi enabled area.

Works for: Individual chats

Change your number on Messenger

facebook_messenger_change_numberYou can change your contact number on Messenger so that people can reach your private mobile instead of your work mobile. Works like a charm if you have more than one phone, or if you’re overseas and you want to remain contactable on your new SIM. You can also go to your Facebook profile to control who can see it. Just be careful that you don’t rack up expensive data charges!

Get on it: Go to Settings in the right hand corner of the bottom bar, and tap on the number below your name. Tap Change phone number and key in the number you wish to be contacted by for a certain period.

Works for: Individual chats

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