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Messengerfor iOS

301.0

7

Messenger keeps Facebook in your pocket

Facebook’s instant messaging app is an excellent choice for iPhone users. It is particularly useful for group chats and video calling. It ticks the entertainment and functionality boxes, with plenty of fun stickers (Pusheen the cat is a big favorite) and gifs as well as location services. Facebook has also cleaned up its privacy agreements with new “Secret Messages”. Best of all, you don’t even need a Facebook account to use the app!

Messenger allows for instant chatting, live video and free calls in a handy iPhone app.

Messenger takes Facebook from your laptop to your pocket: communicate on the go!

Facebook users will love the Messenger app. Simply pop it onto your iPhone, and you will never have to log out! You can chat with friends on the go, start group conversations (great for organizing events), and take advantage of the location pins to send your live location. The latest version has a stripped down and clean aesthetic, with a minimalist white and blue interface (or the option of putting it in “Dark Mode”). Open the app and you will see three buttons at the bottom: Chats, People, and Discover. The first brings up all your chats, “People” will let you see who is online and use “Discover” as an infotainment center for pleasure or business. “Funnybot” will send you a joke a day! Communication is easy. Swipe left to delete, archive a message or mark it as spam, or mute a thread altogether.

The app is highly interactive. You can see if your message has been read, and when the recipient is writing back. More than just text, you can also order an Uber, send photos, video clips, and take advantage of the fun library of silly stickers! iPhone users who are familiar with the inbuilt messenger app, remember with Facebook Messenger you can’t place the stickers anywhere around the messages. For instant and easy communication Messenger is an excellent app. You will be alerted immediately for any new messages or notifications (although you can mute those busy threads). Are your conversations safe? Facebook and privacy are seldom confused as synonyms. Messenger does however have a “Secret Conversations” mode which protects your messages by end-to-end-encryption. This mode is slightly more basic, but ensures your messages are protected from third parties.

The app is not without its pitfalls. Some people may find the app almost too easy to use. The endless chat on group threads can cause your phone to light up with nonstop push notifications, although these can be switched off. The video calls only allow two people at a time. Also the lack of status features is an annoying flaw, as you cannot indicate that you are away or unavailable. The privacy allowed by the Secret Conversations mode is great, but it is a bit of a palaver to set up. It’s a fairly big app - 275.7 MB - and the location feature does drain the battery. Be warned too, that the world’s most popular social messaging price does come with a privacy price tag. Installing the app will require some pretty aggressive permissions. You will have to let the app record phone calls, change the network, and more.

Where can you run this program?

This review is tackling the Messenger app for iPhone. You will need iOS 9.0 or higher. It will run on iPhone, iPod Touch, and your iPad. Android users do not panic, there are also versions for your smartphones and tablets. You can also download the Messenger app on Windows phone. Being the Facebook messaging service means the majority of users will have an account. You do not have to use Facebook to sign up however, you can get the app just by using your phone number.

Is there a better alternative?

For instant communication via text, video or voice calls, WhatsApp is a more efficient alternative. Other social messaging apps are stripped of the “check who’s online” feature of the Messenger app. Skype is good for group calls, while Webex and Zoom are corporate favorites for conference calls. Alternatives such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and even the inbuilt iPhone messaging app provide all the same communication tools without the distracting (or entertaining) extras and shady privacy options. For ultra private communication, Telegram and Signal ensure that your data is securely encrypted. If it is fun and giddy chat you are after, then Snapchat is the emoji King. Of course if it’s purely sharing images, then Instagram is the go to app for creating beautiful shots with a huge range of filters. Bear in mind that Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram are all owned by Facebook.

Our take

If you use Facebook and you need to communicate on the go, then the Messenger app is an easy choice. In order to read your messages on your phone, you are often requested to download the app first. This may strong arm you into using an app where the web version would do, but in fact the sleek and clean interface of the app is much easier to use on your phone screen. It is packed with features for instant chat: from free voice calls to sending up to 15 seconds of video. For conversations with fellow Facebook users, this app is hard to beat. If privacy is a concern, do be aware of the need for the separate private mode.

Should you download it?

Yes, if you use Facebook frequently and you want fun and instant communication, this app is a neat option.

Highs

  • Easy to use
  • Secret Conversations
  • Useful for group chats
  • Fun stickers
  • Good quality calls

Lows

  • Drains your battery
  • App permissions are invasive
  • Group calls not available

Messengerfor iOS

301.0

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