How to Start a Facebook Secret Conversation

Send encrypted messages through Messenger

Two children using paper cup to send messages, depicting secret Facebook conversation

 Getty Images / pinstock

Whether you're planning a surprise party, discussing health information, or sharing sensitive news, hitting the Send button on an email or text can be stressful. You don't want your message to fall into the wrong hands. Fortunately, Facebook has created a way to send secret conversations via the Messenger app. A secret conversation in Messenger is encrypted end-to-end, so the messages can be seen only by you and your recipient. Even Facebook can't access the message.

Here's how to start a secret conversation in Messenger from an iOS or Android device.

Secret conversations are available only in the Messenger app on iOS and Android.

Toggle on Facebook Secret Conversations

Make sure the Facebook Secret Conversations option is turned on. On both Android and iOS devices, tap your profile picture, scroll down to Secret Conversations, and turn it on.

Start a Secret Conversation in Android

  1. Open the Messenger app.

  2. From Chats, tap the pencil icon in the top right of the screen.

    Screenshot of Android phone with pencil icon to start a conversation in Messenger.
  3. Slide the lock icon in the upper right corner of the screen to the locked position.

    Android phone screenshot showing the lock icon to start a conversation.
  4. Select who you want to message.

  5. Tap the clock icon to set a time limit for the message, if you want, or continue typing your message without setting the timer.

    Screenshot of Android app showing how to set a timer for a message.

    When activated, a timer appears on the recipient's message on the right side, counting down the time left before the message disappears for good.

  6. Type your message. Tap the Arrow to the right of the message screen to send your message.

Start a Secret Conversation in iOS

  1. Open the Messenger app.

  2. Tap the New Message icon on the top right of the screen.

  3. Tap Secret on the top right.

    Screenshot of Facebook Messenger app with secret conversation option.
  4. Select the contact icon of who you want to message.

  5. Tap the clock icon to set a time limit for the message, if you want, or continue typing your message without setting the timer.

    Screenshot showing how to set an expiration time for a Secret Conversation

    If you select an expiration time, the recipient will see a time icon to count down the time before a message disappears.

  6. Finish typing and send your message.

On the recipient's device, your message will appear in black, rather than blue, with the words, "Encrypted from one device to the other."

Verifying Facebook Secret Conversations

All Facebook secret conversations are encrypted. Facebook also gives you the option to verify the end-to-end encryption by comparing device keys. Both parties in the conversation will receive device keys, which you can compare to ensure they match.

To view a conversation's device key in Android or iOS, open a secret conversation with someone, tap their name at the top, and tap Your Keys. Compare the device key that appears under your friend's name with the key on their device to make sure they match. Compare device keys in person or via screenshot.

While Facebook secret conversations are encrypted, the other person could still share your conversation with others by sharing their phone with someone else, or by taking a screenshot of your conversation.

Access Secret Conversations On Multiple Devices

Secret conversations can be accessed only on the device the conversation was created on. You can send secret conversations from another device, but you won't be able to see any previous messages.

To add a new device, just sign into Messenger on that device. When you sign in to a new device, you won't see the messages from previous secret conversations. You'll receive a notice in past secret conversations letting you and the other participant know you're on a new device. Once the device is added, you'll see new messages in secret conversations on all active devices.

Delete Facebook Secret Conversations

You can delete Facebook secret conversations on your devices, but you can't delete secret conversations on your recipient's device.

Delete Facebook Secret Conversations on Android

  1. Open Messenger and tap your profile picture in the top right corner.

  2. Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations.

  3. Tap Delete all secret conversations.

    The location of Delete all secret conversation on the Facebook Messenger for Android app.
  4. Tap Delete.

Delete Facebook Secret Conversations on iOS

  1. From Chats, tap your profile picture in the top left corner.

  2. Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations.

  3. Tap Delete Secret Conversations.

  4. Tap Delete.

Facebook secret conversations can include pictures, videos, and voice recordings. They do not support group conversations or voice and video calls, and you can't use secret conversations to send payments.