Messenger: what it is, features and what’s new in 2019

Messenger is an instant messaging app no longer integrated within Facebook since 2015, although it remains de facto its property, in fact it is managed as a third-party program, to ensure adequate performance even outside the social network and use Messenger even without Facebook.

Among the new features of the platform, introduced over the last few years, Messenger allows for example to make video calls, create group chats and video conferences, share location and even large files, accessing from both mobile devices and PC.

So let's see how Messenger works, what are the most interesting services of the moment and the next news coming in 2019.

Messenger: what is it and how it works

Messenger is a messaging app owned by Facebook. At first, the application was included within the social network, where it offered additional services to users, however in 2014 a separation was made, effectively splitting Messenger from Facebook despite the fact that they remained fairly integrated. This allowed to optimize its performance, making the service even faster and more efficient.

Also, in recent years, numerous features have been added, including video calls, money transfers to their contacts and large file sharing.

The first version of Messenger was launched in 2011, as a chat for Facebook members, who in this way could exchange confidential messages. After the purchase of Whatsapp in February 2014, many thought that Mark Zuckerberg's platform might abandon Messenger, but this was not the case.

While Whatsapp remained an independent reality for the time being, separate from the Facebook universe, Messenger was completely modernized and equipped with the latest technology.

Since the end of 2015, when the first innovations of the app were introduced, until today Messenger has become an extremely advanced application, allowing you to send and receive messages, photos and videos, play online games, delete content and much more.

How to download and install Messenger

Messenger is a completely free app, downloadable at no cost on Google Play Store, App Store and Windows Store, compatible with any Android, iOS and Windows Phone mobile device.

The latest version of Messenger was released on March 7, 2019, with over 1 billion downloads already done worldwide.

To download the app, all you need to do is go to the Google, Apple and Windows online stores, download and install the app on your mobile device.

Once done, you need to sign in, using your Facebook credentials or creating a new profile. To change a username you'll be asked for some personal information, including your phone number and an email address, but all you have to do is follow the wizard and finally log in to the platform.

The whole process takes just a few moments, so in a few minutes you can already start a conservation with a friend.

Conversations on Messenger

The main feature of Messenger is conversations, i.e. chats that you can initiate with a person from your contact list, or by sending a message to a person on Facebook.

In this case, you just need to send a request to the other person and, if he/she replies, you can directly start a conversation within the application. To make it easier to find your friends, Messenger allows you to import your personal contact list, either from Facebook or from your smartphone's address book.

It doesn't matter if some people are not registered as "friends" on the platform, in fact, you can still send messages, which in case of no response remain pending. After configuring the app, the main Messenger screen will appear, where you can see your contacts on the left side, through a list that you can scroll with the mouse, while in the central one you can see the messages you have sent. In the right column, instead, there are immediately some features related to conversations.

Selecting a friend from the list, for example, you can view the contact through a side gear with drop-down menu. Various services are available here, including disabling notifications only for messages from that person, archiving sent messages and deleting conversations made.

You can also mark the message as already read, choose to ignore conversations with that specific contact, block them or send feedback to Messenger, via the "There's a problem" item.

Clicking on this feature allows you to send an official report, such as because the person has expressed suicidal intentions, sharing inappropriate material, unauthorized sales transactions or engaging in behavior deemed intimidating.

Just below are other related services, such as searching for keywords in conversations, triggering notifications for that contact, changing the nicknames of both, customizing the background of that specific chat and setting some emoji from the list.

Finally, in the last part of the right menu you can view the shared photos and videos, to open them in a separate window by simply clicking on them with the mouse.

In the central area of the Messenger screen is the chat that is active at that moment. In addition to writing a message, through the character insertion bar, there are a series of icons that allow you to insert emoji, GIFs, stickers, but also add a file to share, activate the microphone to send a voice message, take a photo in real time and put a "like".

One of the latest innovations in Messenger concerns the additional icon, which allows you to activate one of the games available in the application. In addition to playing on Messenger alone you can share the activity with your friends, or make the results public by posting them directly on your Facebook profile. Games include Uno, Pop Stone 2, Halloween Monster, Quiz Planet and 8 Ball Pool.

Clicking on "More Games" will take you to the full list on Facebook Instant Games.

How to access Messenger without Facebook

Since 2015, Messenger has been a separate app from Facebook, although it is still strongly integrated into the social network, so you can use it even if you are not a Facebook subscriber.

In addition to the app for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone, you can therefore also use the desktop version of Messenger, through the official portal at Here you can register by creating a new account, without logging in from Facebook.

To do so, at the time of registration, you must select the option "you're not on Facebook", entering for the registration your phone number.

This way, the contacts in the social network will not be visible on Messenger, leaving you free to import the contact list of your address book and start conversations with your friends. The service remains free, making it a viable alternative to Whatsapp, also owned by Facebook.

How to create a group and multiple conversations

In Messenger, among other features, there is the ability to create a group and make a multiple conversation, with multiple people at the same time. To activate the chat, just open the application and select the appropriate icon, usually inserted in the top menu, with a figure that represents three silhouettes of people.

The app at this point allows you to customize the group, for example by choosing a name and a photo, you just need to click on "New Group" and enter the text and image.

Then you can invite your friends by ticking the empty box next to each contact, and finalize the operation by pressing "Create group".

By opening the multiple conversation you can talk in real time with all the people in your circle, or share photos, emoticons and voice messages. Whenever something is posted, all participants in the group will receive notifications, however, you can turn them off at any time if needed.

How to make a video call on Messenger

One of the most interesting features of Messenger is video calling. The application allows you to video call your contacts by selecting the relevant icon from the menu in the top right corner.

Also in this case you need to choose a person from the address book, click on the camera symbol and wait for the other user to answer, similar to what happens with Skype.

During the conversation there are connection icons, to activate or deactivate the microphone, turn the camera on or off, return to the chat and invert the frame.

To end the service just click on the red icon, inserted in the central part of the screen. Similarly, you can make video calls on Messenger from your PC, by entering the desktop version of the application, logging in with Facebook or Messenger-specific credentials, selecting the contact and activating the visual call.

To start group video calls you need to enter the calls section, set up the group chat, invite the participants and start a real video conference in Messenger.

How to delete and archive messages from Messenger

It often happens that you want to delete messages from Messenger, because they are no longer relevant or deemed inappropriate.

From mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones, you have to select the chat and delete the conversation, in case you want to delete all the messages, otherwise you can just select individual texts and delete some parts of them.

From PC it works in a similar way, in fact through the gear icon you can delete both specific messages and entire conversations and chats, individual or group.

Once upon a time, it was also possible to delete several messages at once, but today the function has been deactivated, so officially you can't remove all texts in a single operation.

However, there are applications and browser extensions that allow you to remedy this. One of them is Message Cleaner, which you can download for free from the Chrome Web Store.

After installing it, you just need to open Messenger chat messages, activate the extension and use the "Delete All Messages" button to delete all messages at once.

We need to specify an important detail, though.

Unlike Whatsapp, where it has been possible to delete messages and make them no longer visible to anyone, this is not the case on Messenger, in fact, even after deletion chat users can continue to view the messages, which are only removed from their profile.

Or alternatively you can archive the messages, by doing some cleaning among the oldest chats, always through the gear icon, where you just have to choose the messages and click on "Archive".

These texts can be viewed at any time, through the Messenger settings. From the gear washer, which is usually located at the top left of the main screen, you have to select the "Archived conversations" item and open the files placed inside. By doing so, you can check your archived messages, and later decide to delete some of them and leave others more important.

How to recover deleted messages from Messenger

Although it is possible to delete messages on Messenger, in some occasions it may be necessary to do the opposite, i.e. recover deleted or accidentally lost messages. To do this from your PC, first of all you need to check if they are in the archive, in fact in this case you only need to open the settings, select the item "Archived conversations" and view the messages that originally disappeared from the chat.

For more security you can download the archive from the Facebook homepage.

You only need to enter the general settings and activate the option "Download a copy", choosing which archive to save on your PC to safeguard it against any inconvenience, downloading it in zipper format.

To retrieve messages from mobile devices you have to open the app, access the settings and view the archives, otherwise you can enter the cache copy of your device, inside the internal memory, located in the folders Android, data, com.facebook.orca, cache, fb_temp.

Messenger: how to know if the message has been read?

Frequently, when you send a message on Messenger there is a doubt whether it has been read or not, however performing such a check is quite easy, both from Android and iOS devices.

To observe whether a message has been viewed you have to select the text in question, or the GIF or voice note, to check in a few moments the status of the forwarding. If the message has been sent, a blue check mark with a white background will appear next to it, while if the operation is still in progress, a white and blue dot will appear.

On the contrary, if the message has reached the recipient, a white check mark with a blue background will appear, a sign that the other user's smartphone is on and active.

Finally, when the message is read, you will see a thumbnail of the contact's profile, proof that the person has both received and read the message. In this way it is easy to evaluate the behavior of the other user, who for example may not feel like answering at that moment.

How to delete recent searches on Messenger

Sometimes it is not enough to delete messages, as it may be necessary to delete recent searches made on Messenger, for example to not let someone who has access to their smartphone know the last people searched.

From mobile devices, Android and iOS, you need to open the general settings of the phone, as there is no service integrated within Messenger yet, so the only solution is to delete the data from the smartphone.

To do this on Android you need to enter the settings, open the list of applications, select Messenger, "Storage" and click on "Delete data". So it's a quick and easy operation, but as it's obvious you can't select only the specific data of a particular search, as all the data in bulk will be deleted.

From iOS the procedure is quite similar. You first need to log into Facebook, go to settings, press on the "protection and access" item, choose "More", select Messenger, "Menu" and finally exit.

This way, when you next log in, your recent Messenger searches will have been removed from the list and will no longer be visible. To delete recent Messenger searches from desktop, you need to enter Facebook again, open the search bar and opt for "edit", choosing the "delete searches" option and confirming. Here, unlike on mobile devices, you can delete individual searches, removing only the ones you want and leaving all the others.

How to deactivate Messenger

To unsubscribe from Messenger it is not enough to uninstall the application, as your data would still remain inside, visible to all your friends and other users.

To delete your profile you must therefore deactivate Messenger, but to do this you must first deactivate your Facebook account. After that you have to open Messenger, enter the profile settings, through the menu in the upper left corner, select the item "Legal and regulatory information" and click on "Disable Messenger", confirming the operation by entering your personal password, pressing "Continue" and "Disable".

Or you can simply disable some features, such as notifications, or make yourself not visible to other users.

To get rid of notifications, so that the message alerts don't disturb you all the time, just open the settings by clicking on your profile picture, select the item "Notifications and sounds" and decide how long to keep the notifications turned off, from 15 minutes to 24 hours.

To be inactive on Messenger, even when you are using your smartphone, you need to open the application menu, select the "Active" function and set the mode to off, using the appropriate switch. To check, just see if you still see the green dot, the absence of which confirms that your phone is turned off.

This allows you not to be disturbed, as others will see that your phone is turned off, but in the same way you won't be able to see other Messenger users, unless you turn the activity status switch back on.

How to pay with Messenger to send and receive money

One of the most innovative features of Messenger, introduced about two years ago, is the ability to send and receive money electronically. This is a liquidity transfer service, active for the moment only in the United States, the United Kingdom and France, but it could be launched in Italy as early as 2019.

In a nutshell, applications authorized to payments allow you to send up to €50, sending them to any person included among your contacts.

To do this you need to connect a debit or credit card to your Messenger profile, activate the transfer from the card to the account and use the payments to settle small transactions. Everything is done completely online, so the system is quick and immediate, however it raises quite a few questions about the security and privacy of your bank data, especially after the recent Cambridge Analytica scandals.

Messenger news for 2019

Messenger is continuously updated by the developers, with the introduction of new features, additional functionality and improvements in security protocols, to make the application more reliable, modern and secure.

In 2019, the fourth version of Messenger has just been released, with completely revised and more appealing graphics, as well as an even higher level of customization than the current version, namely Messenger Lite.

This makes it easier to manage both group chats and contacts, set up carousels for stories, and access many more games than there are at the moment.

The only step backwards concerns the long-awaited dark background, which will probably be implemented later, while the features for polls, payments, and location sharing have been improved. The new colors are much more nuanced, to establish different graphic combinations for each chat and contact.

For messages, the available colors have increased to 5, adjustable from settings, including pink and light blue, purple and red, green and yellow, light blue and green, yellow and orange.

There are three new reconfigured tabs, one for active conversations, similar to the one found in the third version of Messenger, one for contacts, to quickly open the stories and another for the "Explore" feature, to finally quickly manage all the options of the main menu of Messenger.

Between the news coming there should be the possible merger of Messenger with Instagram and the disposable messages, a feature taken directly from Snapchat, on which engineers have been working for some time, which allows you to send time-based messages that self-delete after 24 hours.

The same goes for the secret chats, which could increase the privacy of conversations on Messenger, meeting the needs of users, increasingly looking for a confidential web and less exposed to the public domain.