Facebook Loophole Lets You Chat Without Messenger App

Facebook is requiring users to download its Messenger app to send private messages, but there's a workaround—for now.

Many of our readers were quite vocal about their displeasure when we wrote in July that Facebook would begin forcing iPhone and Android users to download a separate app for messaging. Well, angry readers, here is a bit of mischief for you: Time.com has discovered a simple way to avoid using Facebook Messenger.

Facebook has been rolling out alerts prompting users to download its Messenger app. The trick to stop these alerts—and to get back the old private message interface in its flagship app—unfortunately still involves downloading Messenger. But there's a workaround for iOS users, who can delete the app after it has downloaded or pause the download in the App Store before it has completed. When they return to the Messages tab on the main Facebook app, they will be able to use the service after hitting cancel when the app prompts them to download Messenger.

We tested this method on an iPhone 5C running iOS 7 and were able to send messages the old way in the Facebook app.

The loophole only works for iPhones, and it's likely that Facebook will close it soon. The social network has been aggressive in its attempts to get users to adopt multiple standalone Facebook apps, such as the Paper news reader and its Snapchat clone Slingshot. None of these apps—not even the well-reviewed Paper—has managed to snag more than a fraction of a percent of the social network's billion-plus active users.

Did you try this method? Did it work for you? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image: Flickr user Kārlis Dambrāns]

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  • Amelia Cutadean

    I have been looking for others who were still able to use the original chat method without messenger. At one point after days of prompting my chat function went away. For a short period I logged on to FB on my phone via their full site to check messages. A bit tedious but my experience with messenger about a year prior was so poor I wasn't about to download it again. I had deleted it once for good reason. Fast forward to some random day when I accidentally swiped left and low and behold my old chat window was back. I didn't do any of the suggested fixes you listed in your article and have been wondering how I got do lucky. At this point I am afraid to make any changes or updates to my phone lest I make my chat windo go away again.

  • Andrew Myers

    Tried downloading and deleting the app. Went to FB app clicked messages got the prompt and there is no way to dismiss or decline the offer to install the messenger app! Your choices are Install and Learn More. So this did not work for me. I still get the offer to install and no other options.

  • Brianna Sparks

    On Android, I have been able to avoid it by uninstalling the last fb update. I have an older version of fb and deal with crashes avoiding the force installation of the messenger app itself.

  • Rose - This worked on my iPhone 4S, running iOS7. Nice little hack. Have to say, I like simpler apps that don't try to throw in every feature + the kitchen sink. That said, while I like Paper, it hasn't become a habit, and I still prefer using iMessage to a standalone Facebook Messenger. I can see why unbundling is a tougher strategy and just designing that way from the get-go. Hard to break habits, even if the new one is better.

  • elzocone

    Another alternative is to use m.facebook.com (IE use your mobile browser). That makes it simple.

  • Yes, that's another solution. I thought about including it here, but I figured it doesn't get around the most annoying issue: that you'd have to open a separate application to send messages.

  • I might actually argue that the biggest issue with Facebook Messenger is the T&C's that people are finding unacceptable. If you do a bit of looking around, you'll find that lots of people are either deleting the app or not making the switch due to the intrusive language being used.

    Pretty sure that's the real story here. Not having to open a second app.