How to Use Facebook Messenger for iPhone

Contact your Facebook friends on the go with the Messenger app

The Facebook Messenger app for iPhone, iPad, ​and iPod Touch devices is more than a chat app. It gives you access to your Facebook Messages on your mobile devices and allows you to reply and post images, videos, and voice messages.

If you and one of your Facebook friends who uses Messenger are online at the same time, Messenger acts as a real-time chat app. If you aren't both online, Messenger holds the messages until you or the recipient are online. The messages sync with the Messages section on Facebook's computer browser interface. The social media giant separated the two features into mobile apps for use on mobile devices: the Facebook app and the Messenger app.  

Using Facebook's Messenger app is easy, and you can get started in just minutes on your iPhone or another iOS mobile device.

 

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Installing the Facebook Messenger App

Facebook Messenger iOS App Logo

If you have not yet installed the Facebook Messenger app to your device, here's how:

  1. Tap the App Store icon on your iPhone.
  2. Select Search at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Type Messenger into the search field.
  4. Tap Messenger or Facebook Messenger in the results list. 
  5. Tap Get to download the free Messenger app to your iPhone.
  6. Open the Messenger app and enter your Facebook username and password in the fields provided. If you already have the Facebook app on your phone, you are asked if you want to use the same Facebook credentials with Messenger.

The Facebook Messenger app syncs with Facebook Messages to load your conversations.

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Scrolling Through Your Facebook Conversations

Tap the Messenger app to open it. The icons of Facebook user profiles with names and green dots under them that appear at the top of the Messages screen indicate which of your Messenger contacts are currently active on Facebook. Tap on a person's picture to begin a live chat.

Underneath the icons for online users are the complete list of names and profile pictures of all the Facebook users with whom you have exchanged messages. Each name includes the date and the first line of the last message. If the person is currently available in Messenger, a green dot appears next to the name.

To find someone by navigating through your contacts list, swipe up to scroll through your conversations or type a name in the search field at the top of the screen. Tap a name to open the conversation and see the messages contained in it and to reveal a field where you can enter a new message or response.

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Sending a Facebook Message

Sending a message with Facebook Messenger is simple. If you have already started a conversation, tap the conversation to open it and type your message in the field to continue where the chat left off. Use the icons adjacent to the message input field to add a picture or video or to record a voice message. Tap the smiley face in the response field to add a sticker, GIF, or emoji to your message. Tap the + sign to open a screen where you can attach your location to your message or send money to the person.

Starting a New Message

To start a new conversation, click the compose icon in the upper right corner of the app screen, which looks like a piece of paper with a pen or pencil over it. The New Message screen opens with the "To" field at the top.

You can either pick a Facebook recipient from among your friends or enter the name of the Facebook recipient for your message in the "To" field. As you type a name, the friend selections change, narrowing based on the characters you type. Also, by scrolling down, you can find group conversations in which the people who match the name you've typed have participated. 

When you see the name of the person or the group to whom you want to send a message, tap it to start the conversation. If you've had a conversation with the person or group at any time in the past, it will automatically continue that conversation thread, and you'll see all of the old messages you've shared. If this is the first time you're sending a message to the person or group, you'll see a blank conversation ready to begin.

To send your message when you're done typing, tap Return on the keyboard.

Viewing Your Friend's Facebook Profile

Want to check out your friend's Facebook page? Tap that friend's image to bring up a menu, and then tap "View Facebook Profile." This launches the Facebook app, if you have it on your iPhone, and displays your friend's profile page.

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Making Phone and Video Calls

You can make both voice and video calls using the Facebook Messenger app. Tap on the Calls icon at the top of the app screen to bring up a list of your Facebook friends. To the right of each name are two icons, one for initiating a voice call and the other for a video call. A green dot next to the icons indicates that the person is currently online.

Tap either the voice call or video call icon, and the Messenger app attempts to contact the person. If you chose a video call, your iPhone camera is engaged in the video chat. You must allow Messenger to access the camera if you haven't done so in the past.

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Play Messenger Games

The Games icon at the bottom of the Messenger app brings up a list of several games you can play with your friends through Messenger. The games include "Words With Friends," "Cookie Crush," "Uno," "The Test," and others. After you play one game, the entire library of games is unlocked. Each game has access to your public profile information and the people you know who also play the game. The game may send you messages containing tips or announcements.

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Discover Automated Messaging

The Discover link at the bottom of the Messenger app screen opens a featured list of providers of automated messaging by categories. You may select "NBC News," for example, to receive automated news messages in Messenger, your favorite sports team in the Sports category, or "WebMD" for health tips. When you select one of the automated messaging providers, that provider can see your public profile.

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Sending Money Through Messenger

If you use a debit card or have a PayPal account, you can send money to one of your Facebook friends in Messenger. Pull up the person's conversation and tap the + next to the message entry field to open a screen that includes Payments. Tap it and enter the amount you want to send, attach a note, and tap the Pay button. Enter your payment information as directed. Your payment is on the way, and your friend is notified.

This feature is handy when friends want to split a bill at a restaurant or owe half the rent to a roommate. The service is free and secure.

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Changing Facebook Messenger App Settings

You can change your Facebook Messenger app settings by tapping your profile picture at the top of the app screen.

On this screen, you can adjust notification settings, change your "active" status, enter a phone number, switch Facebook accounts, set preferences for Facebook Payments, sync contacts, invite people to Messenger, and much more.