How do I hide in Facebook chat

19 tricks for Messenger: How to make the most of the app that Facebook imposes on us

In addition to iPhone and Android, the Messenger app is also available for Windows Phone. © Facebook

Facebook's strategy of forcing its members to use Messenger did not necessarily meet with great approval, as I have already written. There is a trick to bypass the download requirement and still be able to write and receive direct messages in the main app (see trick 10), but it may not work for much longer. So if you want to use Facebook messages on smartphones in the long term, you have to put up with the messenger app for better or worse.

However, since Facebook is pushing for the app to be used, Facebook users who are chatting will not be able to avoid using it. The app is currently ranked number one again on the iOS charts and was given a rating of only one and a half stars by users. With these tricks you can get the most out of the unpopular messenger app for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone:

1. Interpret the messenger symbol correctly
In the app, some, but not all, Facebook friends are shown in the contact list with the little blue messenger icon. This does not mean that you are currently online, just that you are using the messenger. Facebook claims that people who use the app respond around 20 percent faster than “normal” Facebook users. If a contact has a small “f” next to their photo, then they have not yet installed Messenger and will receive an invitation to install the app if you write to him or her.

2. Write with non-friends
You can also use Messenger to write to Facebook users with whom you are not directly friends. You can be found using your telephone number, if you have given it. With this, Facebook wants to trim its app even more towards SMS replacement. In the past it was possible in some countries to use Messenger without a Facebook account, but today this is always a prerequisite.

3. Send stickers
Whether childish or not, some users want to send the little comic pictures to others instead of making emoticons or typing. Depending on the operating system, you can access the Facebook sticker store either via the settings (Windows Phone) or directly when you write a message (shopping cart symbol on iPhone and Android). There are a variety of sticker sets (e.g. Power Rangers, Pusheen, FC Barcelona), all of which can currently be downloaded for free. Once installed, you can send them to contacts. In the future, it is conceivable that sticker sets will be subject to a charge.

4. Stalk your friends' location
This function is currently the most sophisticated in the Android app. If the user allows it (he taps the small location symbol while writing a message), the recipient can see where the digital counterpart is currently. In the Android app, you go into a conversation, tap on the three menu items in the top right corner and then select “Show map” - and Google Maps shows you with a red symbol where the user was last located.

5. Switch off location
If you don't want to be located by the messenger app (see point 4), turn off the “whereabouts” (Android) or “location” (Windows Phone) function in the app's settings. With the iPhone, you can either turn the location up or down individually when writing a message (click on the small arrow) or with the messenger, the location under “Settings” -> “Data protection” -> “Location services” -> “Messenger” -> “Never” forbid completely.

6. Send images from Bing search (Android only)
With the Android app, you can not only send photos you have taken yourself, but also images from Microsoft's search engine Bing. This is useful, for example, when you want to show someone a photo of a celebrity or a place. The function can be found in the chat under the three menu items at the top right, then “Image search”. The fact that Microsoft's Bing search engine is used on Google's operating system is somewhat bizarre, but also plausible: Microsoft is a big investor in Facebook.

7. Find shared photos (Android and iPhone)
In long chats, it may be that a long time ago pictures were sent that you want to look at again. To find them more easily, there is the “Show shared photos” function on Android (in the menu of the respective chat), on the iPhone there is an info area in the chat (small “i” at the top right, then “Photos”).

8. Send a dislike
Messenger offers a function that many Facebook users have been waiting for for years: You can also send a dislike or “don't like” by downloading the “Like” sticker set from Facebook. There is the corresponding symbol with the thumb down.

9. Make phone calls (iPhone and Android)
In the operating systems of Google and Apple, Facebook has already integrated a telephony function into the messenger app. Because the connection is established via VoIP (as with Skype), there are no telephony minutes, but you do pay for the data used when you are online via cellular network. In principle, any Facebook user can be called, but if you don't have the Messenger app installed on your smartphone, you just have to sit in front of the computer and accept the call. Messenger users receive a notification when they are called. The telephony function is particularly useful if you have WLAN access abroad and want to save on mobile phone calls.

10.Bypassing Messenger restrictions
If you are asked to install Messenger in the Facebook app, you will be taken to the App Store, where the app will be loaded. If you interrupt the download or delete the app, you can access your chats in the messenger app again. How long this trick will work cannot be said, however.

11. Log out (Android only)
In contrast to many apps, Facebook has decided not to offer a logout in Messenger. So you want to bind users as closely as possible to the product and ensure that you always receive all the news, which in turn increases the loyalty to the product. At least with Android you can log out with the following trick: Close the app completely in the multitasking view, then in the App Manager in the settings area. There select the messenger from the list and click on “Clear Data”. Then restart the messenger, where you should now be logged out.

12. Send a giant like (Android and iPhone only)
The messenger apps for iPhone and Android offer a funny, hidden function: If you press and hold the Like button while writing a message, the “Like” symbol inflates into a giant like, which the recipient then enters just this size gets to see.

13. Send audio messages
As with WhatsApp, you can now send audio snippets with Messenger. To do this, you open a new message and tap the small microphone symbol on iPhone and Android - then a red-orange “record” button appears, which you press until you have finished recording, then the audio message is automatic shipped. With Windows Phone you get to the audio option by clicking on the three small dots at the bottom right before writing a message and then selecting Send Voicemail - then the orange record button appears. Audio messages can be used, for example, when you want to sing a birthday song to a friend.

14. Deactivate the chat
If you have activated the chat, you can show other messenger users that you are / have been online in the app at the moment or recently. You can then see whether you are active on the mobile phone or on the desktop. If you want to prevent this, turn off the chat in the settings.

15.Use chat symbols (Android only)
Because Google's Android is the most open operating system, Facebook can offer its chat symbols there, which can be activated in the app's settings. Active chats are then displayed as small round symbols with the profile photo of the respective person, even if you are in another app (e.g. browser, e-mail). With a tap on the chat head, as the Americans call it, you get directly into the conversation with the displayed Facebook friend.

16. Share private messages
This function shows that the messenger is not a private event: If you hold your finger longer on a received (or your own) message, you will be presented with the “forward” function. So you can copy the message into another chat. It's funny when you want to distribute funny pictures, links or videos, but less funny when you pass on intimate insights to other users in this way. In this respect, every messenger user should always assume that his message can be copied.

17. Understand what "erase" means
Messenger offers the option of deleting individual messages. To do this, hold your finger longer on the corresponding message and then select the “delete” option. However, preparation is required here, as the messenger simulates the good old SMS here. Because the message is then only deleted on your own device, but not on the person you are talking to, who can still read it on his device.

18. Manage notifications
The fact that Facebook users respond 20 percent faster to the company's messenger has to do with the fact that the app intrudes heavily into the notifications. If you don't want to be annoyed by constantly arriving messages on the lock screen or even by the alarm tone, the notifications can be reduced to an acceptable level. On the iPhone you can only deactivate notifications for one hour or until 8 a.m. the next day directly in the app, but you can generally prohibit the app under “Settings” -> “Messages” -> “Messenger”, notifications on the lock screen , in the message center, as a banner, by sound, etc.

19. Organize group chats
The Messenger gives groups a lot of space. Under the appropriate option, you can either create a new group chat or fix chats that you use often in the view. If you get tired of a group chat, you can unlock it again by clicking on the three little dots on the right.

Updates:

20. Apps for Messenger: Since April you can install your own applications in the messenger app, with which you can then send animated GIFs, short videos or memes. To install one of these apps (e.g. Giphy, Emu, Strobe, JibJab), open a chat and tap on the three little dots below. All available apps are listed on the next screen, the "Install" button forwards to the Apple or Google App Store. The apps are built so that you can easily share content in a messenger chat.