Best Facebook Messenger tips & tricks

Facebook is arguably the most popular social network on the planet, with people relying on its messaging service to communicate with friends and family around the world. Here are some of the best tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Facebook Messenger.

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Facebook Messenger is capable of a number of things you probably never knew about, as we'll explain over the following slides. To make the most out of the app, though, you'll need to ensure you always keep it up to date.

That's never been more true than now, as the company announced at April's F8 2017 conference that Facebook Messenger 2.0 would be rolling out imminently (in the US at least).

You'll soon see more artificial intelligence than ever, a new Discover tab, parametric codes, Chat Extensions and rich gameplay. Or, at least, you will if you keep your Messenger app up to date.

On Android launch the Google Play store and tap the three vertical lines at the top left corner, then choose My apps & games. If an update is listed for Messenger tap Update.

On iOS launch the App Store and tap the Updates tab at the bottom right. Check to see whether an update is listed for Messenger and, if it is, tap Update.

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Next Prev smartphone messenger 01

Facebook Messenger is capable of a number of things you probably never knew about, as we'll explain over the following slides. To make the most out of the app, though, you'll need to ensure you always keep it up to date.

That's never been more true than now, as the company announced at April's F8 2017 conference that Facebook Messenger 2.0 would be rolling out imminently (in the US at least).

You'll soon see more artificial intelligence than ever, a new Discover tab, parametric codes, Chat Extensions and rich gameplay. Or, at least, you will if you keep your Messenger app up to date.

On Android launch the Google Play store and tap the three vertical lines at the top left corner, then choose My apps & games. If an update is listed for Messenger tap Update.

On iOS launch the App Store and tap the Updates tab at the bottom right. Check to see whether an update is listed for Messenger and, if it is, tap Update.

Send Snapchat-style photos

Facebook has rolled out an update to Messenger that lets you create and send Snapchat-style photos to your friends. To use the new feature, open a conversation, tap the camera icon, then look for the smiley face, text and doodle icons at the top right of the screen.

Now experiment to compose your pic. Tap the circular button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or long-press for a video.

Messenger Day

Facebook has gone the same way as Instagram and WhatsApp (both of which are owned by the social network) and added a Snapchat Stories clone weirdly dubbed Messenger Day to Messenger, allowing you to share snaps with your friends that are deleted after 24 hours.

The company looks to offer something slightly different to Snapchat hough, offering over 5,000 frames, effects and stickers according to the company.

Messenger Day is available now, just make sure you're running the latest version of the app and tap the photo button on the Messenger list to take a photo.

Your photos, along with those of your friends, will be displayed at the top of the Messenger app.  

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Use Reactions

Facebook's Messenger app for iOS boasts the ability to add 'Reactions' to incoming messages, in the same way that users can react to other users Facebook statuses with a variety of emoji, like a thumbs up, a laughing face or, if it's a bad message, an angry face.

It allows users to quickly react to an incoming message without needing to type out a response. 

To add a reaction to an incoming message on Facebook Messenger, simply press and hold on the message and select your desired emoji. Apple fans may think this feature seems familiar, and they should - it's very similar to how iMessage users can react to incoming messages. 

Facebook Messenger reactions work on both one-to-one conversations and group conversations, and can be used on not only text messages but photos, stickers, videos, GPS locations and more. 

Send balloons

Facebook has added another emoji trick to its Messenger chat app. If someone you know is celebrating a birthday or other event, you can now send them a message that has sees balloons fly up the screen.

To do so, simply open the chat conversation with your particular friend and send them a balloon emoji. When they open the message the balloons will be set free.

Play football

While it was originally introduced for Euro 2016, Facebook users can still play a cool football (or soccer) game within Messenger, similar in design to the basketball game also available for the app.

To begin a game of Keepy Up with your friend, send them a football emoji. Then just tap it to start the game. Keep tapping the football to stop it touching the ground, and you'll find it gets harder the further your progress.

Note that if this doesn't work for you then you likely need to update Messenger - check Google Play or the App Store to see whether an update is available.

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Make group video calls

Facebook is rolling out group video messaging across the globe. You will need to be running the latest version of the app for Android or iOS to take advantage.

To make a group video call just open a group conversation and tap the phone icon at the top of the screen - it’s that easy.

You can also view a log of your previous phone calls by opening the Phone tab on the Messenger home screen.

Access your secret inbox

While many people assume that any and all messages received on Facebook will make their way to their inbox, it's not the case. It turns out that you don't always get a notification when you receive a message from a person you're not friends with on Facebook - in fact, the messages are stored in a completely different inbox. 

If Facebook decides that a person/messages are probably spam, the messages will be diverted to a special inbox called 'filtered requests' within the 'Message Requests' inbox. If Facebook thinks you may know the person, only then will you be notified of the incoming message - and that doesn't happen very often. To access the 'filtered requests' folder, simply open the Facebook Messenger app on your phone, head to Settings > People > Message Requests and below the list of messages, tap "See filtered messages". 

While most messages will now be out of date (they definitely were in our case), it may be a good idea to check periodically in future for any potential missed messages. 

Share Dropbox files

If you're somebody that uses the Dropbox cloud storage service for storing photos, videos, and documents, we have some great news for you - you can now share your Dropbox files with your Facebook friends without having to leave the Facebook Messenger app.

It's fairly easy to do too - although you have to have the Dropbox app installed on your smartphone (and be logged in of course) before you follow our instructions. In a Messenger chat, simply tap the 'More' button and you should see Dropbox appear as an available resource. Tap that option and you should be able to browse your Dropbox directory without leaving the app.

Users can send videos and images (including GIFs of course) and these will be displayed in the chat, but sending other files will require the recipient to open the Dropbox app to preview and save the file. 

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Play basketball

While there is a lot to do on Facebook Messenger, we bet you didn't know you could play basketball without even having to leave the app. It's one in a growing list of activities to perform with friends on Facebook Messenger, and is quite simple to activate and play. Simply send a friend a Basketball emoji and tap on the message to activate the game. Also see: Best WhatsApp tips and tricks.

The game is simple to play too - swipe the basketball towards the hoop and for every ball you get through the hoop, you get a point. You're free to play until you miss, then your score is saved and sent to your friend as a challenge. It's fun, free and a nice way to pass the time.

Share Spotify music

Facebook is now integrating Spotify to Messenger, allowing you to share tunes with your friends over the service. To use Spotify with Messenger you and your recipient must both have the free app installed on your phone, but Messenger will take you straight to the App Store or Google Play to get it if you don't.

To share songs over Facebook Messenger, open a conversation on Messenger and tap the three dots icon below the message to bring up the More menu. Scroll down to and select Spotify from here, which will then launch on your phone. Search for a song, select it, then press Send. It's that easy.

Play Chess

Did you know that you can play Chess with your friends without even having to leave Facebook Messenger? Apparently so, although it takes a bit of effort to play. First of all, you need to type @fbchess play in-chat and a board should appear, prompting your friend (or foe) to go first.

You can select pieces using K for the king, Q for the queen, N for the knight, R for rook or P for the pawn. Once you've selected your piece, add the letter and number representing the space you want to move it to. 

For example, you'd type @fbchess Kd3 to move your King to D3. Enjoy!

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Make calls 

While everybody knows that you can instant message each other using the Messenger app, many are unaware of its voice calling capabilities. Facebook offers free voice calling to other Facebook users, as long as you’re connected to the internet (data charges may apply if not connected to Wi-Fi) which is great for people that don’t have a lot of minutes on their contract, as well as those on pay as you go.

Simply tap on the phone icon in the top right-hand corner of any conversation to call your friends (the same can be done for video calls by tapping the camera icon).

Send group messages

While there was a time where you’d have to individually call or text your group of friends organising plans, Facebook has made this process a lot easier (and slightly more annoying).

Now you can add multiple recipients to your messages and create a group chat, meaning you only have to type the message once and all recipients can discuss amongst each other, instead of running around like a headless chicken.

Send money

The best thing about sending money via Messenger is that it's free, but this also rules out the possibility of sending money via credit cards or other methods - only debit cards are supported for now. It's also easy, and all you need do is enter the settings menu and add a card to your account to get started.

However, while it doesn't support native payments in the UK just yet, TransferWise announced its own Messenger bot that'll guide you through the process of sending money to friends (completely free of charge) from within Facebook.

While it's limited to the UK, US, Canada, Australia and Europe for now, the company intends to make the functionality available to all 50 countries at some point in the near future. Just click here to get started. 

Provided you're over 18, a US resident and have a US debit card registered to your account, sending or receiving payments - or even requesting payments - is pain-free. See our separate article on How to send money on Facebook Messenger for further instruction.

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Mute chat notifications

Remember we said that group chats were slightly annoying? We were talking about the number of notifications you’ll receive when your friends are talking amongst each other - especially when you’re not actively in the conversation at the time.

Thankfully, you can head to the options in the group chat and mute notifications for a predetermined period of time ranging from 15 minutes up to 24 hours at a time.

If you don’t want to ever receive notifications from a certain person or group, this can also be done via the same menu (just select ‘Until I turn it back on’).

Give a thumbs-up

Facebook introduced the ability to send your friends a thumbs up in-chat quite some time ago, ideal for letting someone know you’ve seen a message or showing your enthusiasm for a particular subject.

However, not many people know that you can change the size of the thumbs up icon (we’re not quite sure why, but you can) – just tap and hold the thumbs up button in-chat to see the size of the logo increase.

Take a photo

Facebook offers functionality that allows you instantly take and send photos in the Messenger app, making the whole process a little easier. However, what is impressive is that when the camera icon is tapped, the keyboard disappears and is replaced with a mini-viewfinder.

The viewfinder can be expanded to properly compose your photo, but if you’re only taking a quick photo of something for a friend, you can take and send the photo without even maximising the camera viewfinder.

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Share your location

It’s an age old situation – you’re running late, and your friend is messaging you every two minutes wanting an update on your current location.

Thankfully, with Messenger, you can automate this process by sharing your current location, allowing your friends to see where you are at any given time with a single tap.

If you don’t see the location icon on your top tray above your keyboard, simply tap the menu button (three dots) and tap ‘Location’.

Give your friends nicknames

Facebook is a great way for old friends to reconnect, which is why Facebook displays your full name.

The issue with this is that, as you’re probably aware, groups of friends usually have hilarious (and embarrassing) nicknames for each other.

Luckily, there’s a way to give your friends nicknames that’ll be displayed instead of their full names in-chat.

Simply tap on the person’s name, then tap ‘Nickname’ and enter the desired nickname.

Make your messages private

Okay while there isn’t a way to keep anyone from accessing your Messenger conversations if they have full access to your phone, there is a way to stop prying eyes from reading your incoming messages.

By default, Messenger will display the first line/few words from an incoming message in the Messenger notification, which is great if you want a sneak peek at what your friend is messaging you about, but not so great if you’re talking about a private matter and somebody is using your phone.

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Send a GIF

It seems that Millennials communicate though GIFs (if Tumblr & Twitter are anything to go by) so it was only natural that Facebook would implement a way to send hilarious GIFs to your Facebook friends, summing up your reaction to a message in a humorous way.

Just tap on the ‘GIF’ icon above the keyboard in the Messenger app and find the perfect reaction GIF – if this isn’t available, tap the three dots and browse for the GIF keyboard.

Store boarding passes

Provided you select the option when you book your tickets, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines now lets you use Facebook Messenger to receive flight info updates, and you can even use it as your boarding pass.

KLM will automatically set up the Messenger thread and send over any information relevant to your flight.

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