1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger each month. But are they really making the most of it?
Since Messenger became an app of its own, Facebook has been quietly adding functionality to make it stand out. The app has a ton of neat hidden features, from GIFs to addicting games and ever-innovative ways to write and present text.
Here’s some of the coolest stuff you didn’t know you could do with Facebook Messenger.
1. Use Messenger on the computer
If you want to message your friends on your computer without the distraction of your News Feed, try pulling up Messenger directly onto your computer. Just go to Messenger.com and sign in with your Facebook account. You can also access a conversation directly by going to Messenger.com/ and adding your friend’s Facebook username at the end.
The desktop Messenger looks just like the Messenger page that can be accessed from Facebook, but it lacks the Facebook search bar at the top of the screen.
2. Send and request money
Facebook has been allowing users to send and receive money for the past few years. Much like Venmo, Messenger lets you connect your credit card to the app, and send money to your friends, and request money from them as well.
To use it, link your debit card by going to Profile > Payments > Add New Debit Card. To send and request, enter a chat with the friend hit the plus sign on the bottom left corner, select Payments, and enter the necessary amount.
3. Add friends instantly with your profile code
If you ever meet someone and like them so much that you want to friend them instantly, you can have them scan your unique profile code.
To pull it up, tap your profile’s icon in the top left corner of the app, then tap the large profile picture in the center of your screen. Press My Code to display your own code, and Scan Code to scan someone else’s.
4. Play games
Facebook has a lineup of really addicting games from user favorites Words with Friends and 2048 to classics like Pacman and Snake — all of which can be played right in Messenger.
To challenge a friend or group of friends, start a conversation, press the plus sign, and select Games. If you’re a loner, or you want to get some practice, start a conversation with yourself to play any game alone.
5. Chat with bots
If you’ve had enough of human interaction, never fear: Messenger’s army of bots will keep you company. They’ll send you news, help you place orders, play games, and more.
Tap Discover in the bottom right corner, and start a conversation with the bot that strikes your fancy.
6. Secret Conversations
You can start encrypted conversations in Facebook messenger that nobody outside of them can see — not even the government or Facebook itself. They use end-to-end encryption similar to that of Facebook’s Whatsapp.
Start a conversation, tap Secret in the top right corner, and select the friend you want to message. To make your messages disappear after a certain period of time, tap the clock icon to the left of the text box.
7. Customize your conversations
Facebook has a number of ways to make your conversations with your friends your own. Open a group chat and tap its name to open customization options.
You can change your group’s color, give your friends nicknames, or set a group emoji (to replace the “Thumbs Up” icon).
8. Share news, recipes, restaurants, flights, and more
With Messenger’s lineup of integrated third-party apps, you can send your friends some pretty cool stuff in just one click.
If you’re chatting about travel plans, you can search for and share hotel and flight options with the Kayak extension. You can share recipes from the Food Network, restaurants from OpenTable, songs from Spotify and Apple Music, and news articles from the Wall Street Journal.
To access these extensions, open a conversation and tap the plus sign in the bottom left corner.
9. Scribble Chat
Scribble Chat turns your messages into fun 3D animations. There are currently 42 animation options, and they’re all adorable.
Open a conversation and tap the plus sign in the bottom left corner, then swipe left to select ScribbleChat.
10. Send an audio recording
An audio recording is an easy way to share a song you’re listening to, or send a fun birthday greeting.
To start a recording, open a conversation and press and hold the microphone button to the left of the text box. Drag up to cancel the recording, and let go of the icon to end and send.