These days, there are so many ways to stay in contact with friends and family online, but one of the best choices is the Messenger app on Facebook.
In August 2014, Facebook separated the Messenger section of its service from the main product to the outrage of those who felt Facebook was strong-arming them into installing another app. Most people have now embraced the separation of Messenger from the main app and have seen the benefits: it’s quicker and has more functionality than before.
If you are still reluctant to participate, here’s a Facebook Messenger guide and the features that it brings into play …
1. Download Messenger App
You’ll need to download the software first. It’s free from your app store, or from the main app by following the prompt. You won’t have to log in again if your Facebook account is connected to your phone.
2. Request for mobile Number
Facebook will initially ask for your phone number. As it enables your non-Facebook friends to find you on Messenger, the company sells this as a profit. If giving your mobile number to Facebook makes you uncomfortable by clicking Not Now, skip this step. The app works without it.
3. Import Contacts
Next, even if you’re not friends with them, you’ll be asked if you want to import your phone contacts into the app and add them as Messenger contacts.
They will be stored on Facebook’s own servers by importing those contacts, so again, it is at your discretion.
4. Basic Settings
You can see the familiar chat screen once set up, where all of your ‘Recent’ messages are shown in chronological order. The blue lightning bolt icon highlights friends that also have the Messenger app mounted.
Unread messages are highlighted in bold while swiping right allows the conversation to be removed or silenced. Finally, you are brought through to the chat window by tapping a name.
5. Shared photos
There is also an info icon that will allow you to view images that users have shared with each other privately, while also providing a shortcut to their profile. And messages from them can be silenced.
6. Attaching a photo
By tapping the photograph button, you can also quickly attach a picture from your camera roll. This will load your gallery app beforehand, but in a neat, time-saving trick, the Messenger app loads a mini gallery at the foot of the window.
7. Chat Heads
When you don’t use it, Messenger will run in the background and Chat Heads will appear when you get a new message on Android. These are your friends’ small circular icons which appear on the side of your screen.
To open Messenger and start talking with them, click on them. Or, to dismiss the post, drag them to the bottom of your computer.
8. Audio or video call
You can make free video calls or audio calls to your Facebook friends by clicking the top-right button. To save your data allowance, it’s best to do this on a wi-fi network.
You can also leave a voicemail for them if your friend isn’t around.
9. Audio snippets
You can capture a 15-second (or less) audio message by tapping the microphone icon and then pressing Record.
10. Take a photo
Tapping the camera icon allows a simple image to be snapped and added with a single tap.
The location function can be useful if you’re meeting up with a person. Your computer will decide your location by clicking the pointer icon (make sure that the location settings are turned on to function this way).
12. Smiley faces
Facebook’s emoji stickers can also be added to the talk.
Holding ‘Send’ down helps you to record up to 15 seconds of video and connect it to a message directly.