Viewing Facebook Messages Without Installing The Messenger App

Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of stink over the fact that Facebook is splitting its messaging functionality out into a new Facebook Messenger app.

Some fear-mongers have been spreading rumors that Facebook plans to use your camera and microphone to listen in on your private conversations, while Facebook has sent pretty clear messages that it has no intent to do so.

The result, however, has been quite a few conversations where friends and family have asked me whether they should avoid installing the Messenger app.

There have been a few changes to Messenger in the fact that there is a new app, but do you need it to view your Facebook messages?

Do We REALLY Think Facebook is Spying On Us?

My response has been pretty simple. Even if it were true, and Facebook were spying…is your life really that interesting? If you’re concerned with Facebook listening in on your conversations, maybe you should rethink what activities you’re engaged in.

No…Facebook is not really interested in your rants during your kids soccer game.

Surprise…they don’t want to hear you use the terms “ping”, “strategize” and “leverage” in your corporate meetings.

It’s true…Facebook is not interested in any of your embarrassing bathroom noises while you play Candy Crush Saga on the toilet.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but installing the Messenger app isn’t going to place your privacy in any more risk than the already embarrassing photos and “woe is me” posts that you’re putting on Facebook yourself.

So calm down, don’t believe the fear-mongers….just relax.

Facebook Messenger Doesn’t Represent The End Of Our Personal Privacy

Installing Facebook Messenger is not the end of your privacy…unless we want it to be. You can still use the phone to call people. 

If you choose not to use Facebook Messenger, great!

It’s one less communication channel that you need to check while you’re sitting at the stoplight holding everyone else up in line when the light turns green and you’re fixated on your phone.

{STOP THAT, PEOPLE!!}

But if you don’t believe me and you NEED your Facebook messages, yet are terrified that adding it to your phone will require you to wear a foil hat for the rest of your life so Facebook doesn’t steal your thoughts, then here are the instructions on how to get them.

NOTE: No…it’s not optimal. Yes, it’s kind of cludgy…but if you want the best experience, simply install the app and get over it.

Viewing Facebook Messages On Your Mobile Device Or Tablet Without Using The Facebook App

  1. Install Chrome on your device. If you are an Android user, it’s already on your phone.
  2. Open Chrome and navigate to http://www.facebook.com (don’t log in yet)
  3. Open the context menu within Chrome and check the box next to “Request Desktop Site”
  4. Reload the page and you should see the Facebook.com desktop site.
  5. Log in.
  6. Click the Messages link in the left nav under your profile photo to see your messages and respond to them.

You can still view your Facebook messages on your mobile device by viewing the desktop version of Facebook in your mobile browser. Just be sure to use the “Request desktop site” feature in Chrome to make sure you see the desktop version of Facebook, not the mobile version.

Again, not the best user experience, but it gets you to your messages without ever having to bow to the privacy will of Facebook and their desire that you download their second, stand-alone Facebook Messenger app.

Except for the fact that you basically gave away all privacy expectations when you “Agreed” to the Facebook terms of use by creating your account.

Oh yeah…that small detail.

I hope this helps. I also hope this post gets zero traffic because people aren’t silly enough to Google “how can I view my Facebook messages on my phone without installing the Messenger app”.

We’ll see….

Cheers!

–Sean


Update:

Wow…just wow.

First, let me apologize to my readers for the high-level of snark in this post. I probably went a little overboard and if it offends folks, sorry. Not my intent.

Second, I cannot believe the traffic this post is generating.

What that means to me is there are lots of real, legitimate reasons that people want to view Facebook Messenger messages without installing the mobile app. If you read the comments below, you’ll see that my readers have (once again) done a great job chiming in and sharing their reasons.

Some of them include:

Privacy

Not wanting to give away all of your private information, although I don’t see how viewing the messages in the desktop version vs the mobile app makes any difference on that front. Facebook still has all your messages and can still read them, regardless of the platform.

Resources, mainly storage on your phone

This one is SUPER valid.

On my Samsung Galaxy, the Facebook Messenger app is a bloated whale on an app.

The current version of the app takes up 408 MB of storage.  That’s nearly half a gig of storage for a single app.

By comparison, What’s App Messenger only takes up 19MB of storage and is a very similar type of messenger app. If you’re short on storage or your phone doesn’t allow you to move apps to your SD card, I can see why you would be unhappy with Messenger.

A loathe for chat applications

If you hate chat apps, then you should love the fact that Facebook split Messenger out, so you don’t have to install it. I completely get it.

Battery Life

Again, a very fair and valid point.

Now, instead of one app checking for Facebook messages, you have two. Two apps essentially performing a very similar function on a similar schedule could really impact your battery life.

The solution? Look at the settings for both the Facebook and Messenger apps and adjust how frequently the apps are searching for new messages or data.

Data Consumption

Not everyone has unlimited data on their mobile phone plan, I get it.

But in the single Facebook app that included Messenger, you didn’t have a choice as to whether you wanted to get messages on your phone or not. You either installed the Facebook app and got the messages, or you didn’t install the app and got nothing.

With the division of Facebook the app and Facebook Messenger, you can save data by choosing not to install the Messenger app. For those that want the best of both worlds, Facebook even included a “Data Saver” feature in Messenger to reduce the amount of data that the app uses by not automatically downloading images and videos.

To access the data saver feature, open Facebook Messenger and then click your profile photo. There should be a “Data Saver” menu item in the options that appear.

The Facebook Messenger data saver feature can limit the automatic downloads of images and videos

The Facebook Messenger App Crashes

It has gotten better, but at the beginning, Messenger was a hulking piece of $hit. I certainly expected more from Facebook (which I probably shouldn’t have). I feel like it’s a lot more stable, so maybe this has been worked out. That is, until they try to add more advertisements in 

Confidentiality of Messenger Apps. Who collects the least data? [Table]

Apple has recently introduced privacy labels in its App Store for iOS apps. This new feature forces developers to reveal all data it collects from users and also explain how the data is being used. With iOS 14 update for iPhones, Apple has ensured that app developers can’t hide behind lengthy and incomprehensible privacy policies and transact with your personal data while offering a free app in return.

Now, as all apps require what kind of data is harvested from your device, we went through two of the most popular messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger– both Facebook products. For the sake of comparison, we are also considering, Telegram, Signal and iMessage. Signal is a relatively lesser-known messaging app in India. But what is important to note is that Signal offers all the features of WhatsApp. Telegram is another WhatsApp alternative offering more privacy.

For those unaware, the co-founder of WhatsApp– Brian Acton– left the company after Facebook acquired it. He then moved ahead to create the Signal Foundation with Moxie Marlinspike. The Signal messaging app is like what WhatsApp used to be earlier and offers better privacy. There is end-to-end encryption by default powered by the open source Signal Protocol. So, here’s a comparison about the amount of data collected by WhatsApp, Telegram, iMessage, Signal and Facebook Messenger…

Comparison Table of Messenger Apps Privacy

AppsData collectedScore
SignalNone. Signal only needs your mobile number for registration but the report claims that the app doesn’t link your phone number to your identity.5
iMessageEmail address, Phone number, Search history, Device ID3
WhatsAppDevice ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User, Content2
Facebook MessengerThird-Party Advertising, Purchase History, Financial Info, Precise Location, Coarse Location, Physical Address, Email Address, Name, Phone Number, Other User Contact Info, Contacts, Photos or Videos, Gameplay Content, Other User Content, Search History, Browsing History, User ID, Device ID, Product Interaction, Advertising Data, Other Usage Data, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Other Data Types, Developer’s, Advertising or Marketing, Health, Fitness, Payment Info, Sensitive Info, Product Personalization, Credit Info, Other Financial Info, Emails or Text Messages1
TelegramName, Phone number, Contacts, User ID4

Signal – Private Messenger

Data collected: None. Signal only needs your mobile number for registration but the report claims that the app doesn’t link your phone number to your identity.

iMessage

Data collected: Email address, Phone number, Search history, Device ID. Click here to see on Apple’s support page.

Telegram



Data Collected: Name, Phone number, Contacts, User ID

WhatsApp



Data collected: Device ID, User ID, Advertising Data, Purchase History, Coarse Location, Phone Number, Email Address, Contacts, Product Interaction, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Payment Info, Customer Support, Product Interaction, Other User, Content.

Note: WhatsApp is also known to collect user metadata which its hasn’t provided much clarity.

Facebook Messenger



For Facebook Messenger, the list is just too long and includes almost all types of personal user data an app can possibly collect.

Data collected: Third-Party Advertising, Purchase History, Financial Info, Precise Location, Coarse Location, Physical Address, Email Address, Name, Phone Number, Other User Contact Info, Contacts, Photos or Videos, Gameplay Content, Other User Content, Search History, Browsing History, User ID, Device ID, Product Interaction, Advertising Data, Other Usage Data, Crash Data, Performance Data, Other Diagnostic Data, Other Data Types, Developer’s, Advertising or Marketing, Health, Fitness, Payment Info, Sensitive Info, Product Personalization, Credit Info, Other Financial Info, Emails or Text Messages.

How to send GIFs through text Android or iOS?

Sending GIFs is a much easier way of expressive emotions without even saying a word. However, not all of us are fully aware of the art of sending GIFs, with a little fault of our own. Every operating system keyboard comes with its own method of sending GIFs in a chat, and we are going to teach you exactly how you can send GIFs on some of the most popular platforms.

So how to text a gif?

Texting a GIF is easy. Once you have opened up a messaging app of your choice, such as iMessage or WhatsApp, or the default messenger installed on Android phones, the keyboard would probably give you a GIF option. Simply clicking on it will reveal GIFs, and you can send one by selecting and clicking whichever you like.

Apart from the inbuilt apps on smartphones that allow you to send GIFs, there are specialized apps such as GIPHY (iOSAndroid ), which have a vast collection of GIFs categorized according to context and geographical culture. Users can also search for the most appropriate one as per their needs by typing in keywords that best describe the emotion they wish to express.

How to Add Gifs on iMessage (iOS)?

Adding a GIF to iMessage is simple as the default keyboard provided by the operating system contains a vast collection of GIFs. To use the default keyboard feature to add GIF on iPhone text, follow these steps:

  1. Open the default messaging app to compose a message.
  2. On the left side, tap the icon with an A on it, depicting apps.
  3. Search for the app called #images, which contains all the GIFs included in the database.
  4. Select the #images app, and then choose the GIF of your choice.

How to Text a Gif on Android OS?

All Android OS phones come with a designated messaging app. However, they all may look and operate differently. But, all of them come with GIFs for texting. There isn’t much difference between Android and iPhone GIFs, however the way to sending GIFs through both the operating systems slightly varies. If you are using the Google keyboard by default, then sending a GIF over a text message can be done through the following steps:

  1. To send GIF in text message android, open your default messaging app.
  2. Look for a smiley face emoji on the keyboard, and tap it.
  3. Look for the GIF button among all the emojis and tap it.
  4. Use the search field to find your desired GIF or browse through the collection.
  5. Tap your desired GIF to preview it, and then tap the Send button.

How to Add Gif on Keyboard?

Although the default keyboard is likely to have a GIF option, in case you are looking for a GIF keyboard that has a more extensive collection of GIFs, then you can add a specialized one on your own as well. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Go on your phone’s app store and search for a GIF keyboard.
  2. Install the one which seems the most suitable for your needs.

This keyboard would not replace the default keyboard available in your phone’s messaging apps but will be available as a standalone app. To add a GIF, simply open this keyboard and select the GIF of your choice to send as a message through your preferred messaging app.

How to Add Gif Keyboard to iPhone?

Since GIFs have become universally popular among iPhone users, Apple has included the texting GIF feature as part of the default iMessage in iOS versions ten and later. Third-party options are also available, in case the default iPhone typing GIF collection is not adequate as per your needs.

You can also get third-party GIF apps to work with your iMessage app. The most popular one is called GIPHY, and also another one called GIF Keyboard. To download either or both of these apps, there are two options. First, you can use the App Store, available on the iPhone. Second, there is an option to download the app through iMessage.

To add a GIF keyboard through the iMessage app, follow these steps:

  1. Access the App Store in the iPhone messaging app by clicking the + icon. Downloading an app through this store would not only install an app on your messaging app, but likely show this app on your iPhone’s home screen as well.
  2. Once installed, these apps would become part of the messaging app and can be accessed through the default keyboard.

How to Use Gif Keyboard on Android

To use the GIF keyboard feature, all you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Click on the messaging app and tap on the compose message option
  2. On the keyboard that is displayed, click on the icon that says GIF at the top (this option may only appear for users operating the Gboard). In case this icon is not visible, click on the smiley emoji on the keyboard and then find the GIF icon and tap it.
  3. Once the GIF collection is displayed, find your desired GIF and tap send.

Another way to use the GIF keyboard on Android phones is through third-party applications. In the Android world, just like the Apple world, GIPHY seems to be a very popular app for an extensive GIF collection. Follow these steps to use the GIPHY (or any other third-party GIF app) on your Android phone:

  1. Launch the app after having installed it through the Google Play Store.
  2. Choose the GIF of your choice by either searching for it or browsing through the collection.
  3. Select any option that allows you to share the GIF on another app, and then tap the icon that represents your phone’s messaging app.
  4. The GIF will now be incorporated within your messaging app’s compose message section. Also, note that your message would have automatically converted to an MMS rather than an SMS to allow for graphical content to be sent.
  5. Select your recipient and send the GIF.

Unlike the iPhone’s default messaging app, the Android messaging apps don’t contain an in-built app store, and hence you cannot embed third-party GIF keyboards into your default keyboard. However, the collection of GIFs available to you remains the same, regardless of the operating system you use.