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How to check your Facebook messages—without Messenger on your phone

Illustration by Julia Tim/Shutterstock

There’s a somewhat annoying but simple solution.

Facebook messages are a great way to keep in touch with your friends, except for one thing. A few years ago, Facebook separated messages from the main Facebook app on mobile. So if you’re on your phone and want to check a new Facebook message, you can’t—unless you also have Facebook Messenger installed.

For most folks, that’s not an issue. They’ve downloaded Messenger and love it. However, for those of us steadfastly determined not to use or download Messenger, that means missing out on timely Facebook messages.

Or does it? Turns out, there are a few ways you can check your Facebook messages without having Messenger installed. You just have to use your phone’s browser.

How to check Facebook messages without Messenger

The easiest way is to head to Messenger.com. On the desktop, this site acts as a messages-only portal. If you open it on your mobile browser, though, the site will redirect you to downloading the Messenger app. The workaround: In your browser settings, tap “Request desktop site.” On iOS, you can find this setting by tapping the share button in Safari. On Android, tap the three dot menu icon in the upper right-hand corner.

Facebook messages without messenger Screengrab via Facebook

Similarly, you can go to Facebook.com/messenger to shoot a message to friends.


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Alternatively, you can log into the full Facebook website on your mobile browser to check your Facebook messages. On your phone, you’ll have to do a fair amount of pinching and zooming to navigate the full Facebook website with your fingers, though. The above site (Messenger.com) makes things easier to navigate.

So as long as you can switch from a mobile site to a desktop site on your phone, you can access the desktop version of Messenger. It’s a little clunky, but at least you didn’t have to install the app.

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.