Facebook's Messenger app for Android and iOS is about to receive an extensive reworking, and will drop SMS support in the process. According to a Facebook product manager, the SMS feature "just didn't take off" in the way the company had originally expected, and as such, the feature is being given the axe.


The Messenger app, though, is about to look a whole lot different. Here a couple shots of the Android version, which I must say is impressively clean.

4 (1)4 (2) 4

While it obviously chooses not to live and die by Android's design conventions (in fact, it's more iOS 7 than Android in appearance if we're honest here), it looks a heck of a lot better than the existing app, which has an aesthetic to match the standard (read: ugly) Facebook app. The company is also promising significant performance improvements in the new app, and easier ways to find friends to message. You no longer need to be Facebook friends with someone to find them on Messenger - the app can scan your contacts for phone numbers, and if that phone number is associated with a Messenger user, you can send them a message. This should open up Messenger to a substantially wider audience, and make the barrier to entry a whole lot lower for those to lazy to friend everyone in their phone book. Oh, and there are now status indicators to show whether you friends are on Messenger actively, if they're not (or they're on the Facebook web interface), the Messenger icon won't be present next to their name.

The new app should begin rolling out to a very limited number of users today, with a wider release in the coming weeks.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • AtomicGadget

    Here's the APK ;) http://d-h.st/SF2

    • Francisco RC

      not working

      • AtomicGadget

        Uninstall the old version before you install it.

        • Francisco RC

          cool, trying it now, thank you!

        • natabbotts

          That means you've tampered with the signatures.

          • AtomicGadget

            Yes, i've tampered with a brand new app, and i did it all in 2 minutes! Get your head out of your ass.

            When you install it, you'll quickly notice there's an update to the app in the Play Store. If you choose to update, it'll overwrite this one and you're back to the old one (since this one hasn't been released on the Play Store yet). If i had tampered with it, then the Play Store wouldn't have recoginised it as a genuine Facebook app.

          • natabbotts

            I'm not accusing you of anything, apologies. My head is certainly nowhere near my ass, no need to be rude. I'm saying that if the app were really from facebook you wouldn't need to uninstall the old one to get the new one.
            So either it's tampered with or the people who can't install it have already got a tampered with app, or they're doing something badly wrong.

    • RockAndRock

      Don't work on my Nexus 4...

      • Michael Ta

        works fine on mine, uninstall the old one, use ES explorer to install it.

        • D. S.

          Why would you uninstall the trusted app and install an apk from the internet, that the device refuses to install?

          • Michael Ta

            Because I have trust in this guy, he's the only one of the very few who has the new update.

          • AtomicGadget

            It doesn't refuse to install it. If you're paranoid, i feel sorry for you. You must have a lonely life.

            You'll quickly notice after the installation that there's an update to the Messenger app in the Play Store. Would a messed up app do that? If i did that, then the signature would've been wrong, and the Play Store wouldn't have recognised it as a genuine FB Messenger app.

            I don't know why i care. You're already using your tinfoil hat.

        • Bartek Górkowy

          that means certificates are messed up if it wont update, so somebody messed around with apk.

          • Michael Ta

            i didn't use the old one so i can't tell if it updates properly, I just installed this new one through ES

    • http://mobers.org/ psydex

      Works great! Thank you

    • Matt

      Awesome. Now to see whether wakelocks have finally improved (for an app that uses Google Cloud Messaging, it sure wakes the phone a lot for some unknown reason).

      • Michael Ta


        • Matt

          But then I don't get notifications. I even used the donation version of Greenify, which is supposed to let GCM through, but I still wound up missing Facebook messages. The whole point of GCM is to allow notifications to come through without constantly using waking up the device to check. Push *should* work fine without any wakelocks (does in Google+, in Hangouts, etc.), but for some reason Messenger just can't help itself.

          • Michael Ta

            weird.. works for me, except it's like 2-10 min delayed on first message, after that it's fine until the app greenified again.

          • Matt

            Hmmm I'll give it another shot then. 2-10 minutes I can deal with. Not sure what the problem was, but I definitely had Xposed installed and experimental features turned on last weekend and never got a message from Saturday until I opened the app Sunday night.

          • Michael Ta

            either your Greenify is working properly and facebook doesn't actually use GMC, or my greenify is bad..

            @bartekgrkowy:disqus on a side note there's a GMC icon next to fb messenger in Greenify app tho..

          • Bartek Górkowy

            because Messenger doesn't use GCM, it is an XMPP communicator, it needs to be connected to receive messages.

    • Stephen Fronda

      This DOES work, you need to uninstall the Messanger App first in order to install the new one. AP should include this in the post.

      • natabbotts

        If I need to uninstall then it won't do signature verification. That means that APK must have been tampered with or corrupted.

        • MidnightNinja

          True...or signed with test keys.

          Either way, don't recommend installing it.

          • Stephen Fronda

            Either way, it's been working just fine for me :-)

          • Sean McLaughlin

            Yeah, looking good here too. MMS wasn't working on sms/mms for facebook anyway, so no big loss there.

    • Guillaume

      I actually really like this update

    • LeDerp

      You sir are a scholar. I have always dreamed of using iOS7 on my android phone, now FB let me do so. THANK YOU

  • Fadakar

    They just had to drop SMS support the same day Hangouts announces theirs, yet Hangouts with SMS isn't coming for a few days. Guess I'm sticking with the crappy interface for now. :(

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

    Maybe it's just me, but I seriously used Facebook Messenger for SMS constantly. I hate to see it go.

    • evcon

      The only reason why I used FB Messenger (albeit a very good reason) was Chat Heads. If Hangouts somehow got that feature, I'd be in heaven.

      • Francis Lavoie

        Check out Sliding Messenger. It has that feature.

        • XellossMetallium

          Not for facebook, not for hangouts.. only sms!

          • Francis Lavoie

            I thought this conversation was about SMS.

          • evcon

            You're right, but I'd still like for non-SMS Hangouts themselves to have it anyway

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        I love chat heads, it was insanely convenient. I'm almost certain this won't happen, but I'd love to see Hangouts become open enough for somebody to reimplement a chat heads-like messenger app to handle it.

    • john

      I did too. I loved the emoji, plus when I opened Messenger, it told my Facebook friends I was online and made me more welcoming :p

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        Really? Ever since I installed it, no matter what settings I changed or even if every device was turned off or disconnected it always showed me as online and available. That confused some of my friends, but I never really thought of that as a problem ;)

    • UCLAKoolman

      It's just strange that a Facebook spokesperson stated that "We made a big deal about the SMS feature and it just didn't take off."

      I have a ton of friends who switched to it as their default SMS app. This is really disappointing news. SMS in hangouts will be nice, but the chathead popups for quick replying will be sorely missed. I'm going to hold off on updating Messenger for now...

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        Ditto, I won't be updating for a couple of weeks on my main phone (HTC One). I'll probably update it on the Nexus 4 since I rarely put the SIM card in there anymore.

        I hate to even tiptoe into the tin foil hat territory, but the way Facebook explains it sounds a little strange. It's almost like somebody anticipated the questions and complaints and they wanted to get ahead of it with an excuse. It reminds me of Google Reader (damn it, I almost made it through October without mentioning it), which clearly had a non-trivial number of users.

        • Jonnyw2k

          The only thing I can think is maybe the changes to the SMS API affected their thinking:


          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            I don't believe that. It would certainly be an annoyance to Facebook to adjust the app to account for that, and it wouldn't be a completely ideal experience for users, but I think it would be a way for Facebook to further direct users towards using Messenger as the exclusive texting app.

            I sooner think this is about reducing user complaints (as a lot of people get confused if they are sending through SMS vs. FB) or it's an effort to herd people completely off of SMS so more goes through FB's network. Think of it in the same way that game consoles initially launch with backwards compatibility for the previous generation, then later remove it to drive people towards the newer content (eg. PS3 used to play PS2 games).

      • ardosi

        Yeah, I hate Facebook but it was a great SMS client... it got me, someone who doesn't even normally install Facebook on his phones at all, posting status messages AND actually answering my Facebook messages within minutes vs days. I've spent more time on Facebook in the past month since I discovered the SMS client than I have in the past 2 years combined, but hey... if they want to ditch the feature, I can ditch their apps again. I'll use another third party SMS client instead. Bummer tho, I really really liked this app. Will keep using it till it breaks.

  • Jan

    DAT UI

  • salmanj1

    Found this on verge, been using it for the last few hours, it's a working apk.
    Make sure you turn off auto updates because google play ended up downgrading me automatically.


    • Shaques

      Mine says. App not installed. :(

      • http://revanmj.pl/ Michał Jakubowski

        You must unistall old version first. I got the same problem and it did help.

    • Doctor Awesome PHD

      Thanks dude!

  • Bluewall

    Wow. Facebook going #HOLO ! itshappening.gif

    Seriously that's so fucking nice. I hope they'll do the same for the main app.

    • Trent Callahan

      That isn't holo. -.-

  • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

    Here is a question did they remove sms cause of kitkat and hangouts would be the default on that?
    I mean assuming Hangouts would be default no matter what OEM

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

    That is 100% an iOS7-inspired design. I cannot be the only one who thinks this.

    Edit: http://i1-news.softpedia-static.com/images/news-700/iOS-7-App-Store-Comes-with-Purchased-Apps-Tab.png?1371043692 I'm just sayin' is all.

    • Muhammad Zohaib Rizwani

      You're not alone, but NO MORE LEGACY MENU KEY!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yeah, it really does.

    • spacekobra

      It definitely is, just a tad too bright IMO. I'm quite torn. I don't know if I like the colour scheme but I'm grateful for the update in functionality.

    • AtomicGadget

      Indeed, but it looks much better than the older version, IMO.

    • Matt Alexander

      I actually thought it looked a lot like the Skype mobile app upon first glance

    • Glenn

      And some of the font sizes are HUGE, on my Galaxy Nexus at least. It's like... I have to hold my arm out at full extension. The app is fast and all, and it seems optimised for Android, but there's way too much iOS influence. I'm fine with the white, but the bright blue, the text labels and the persistent new message and legacy menu bar at the bottom could all definitely be improved.

      • Glenn

        And why does Facebook insist on turning notifications off for 8 hours at a time? It should just be on or off. Luckily Android has the 'Disable notifications' option now, but Facebook's option is just ridiculous.

        • Mike

          Where is the "Disable notifications" option to over ride the facebook option of only 8 hours?

  • jake044

    Maybe a hint of what the Facebook app is going to look like?

  • KarimMunir

    It looks more like iOS 7 than HOLO or even some Android standards.

    • Bluewall

      It's kind of hybrid imo.

      But it looks WAY better than it used to do

      • KarimMunir

        It does look better, especially the new contacts screen. But my god, that chat screen is a blant iOS 7 copy. Still better than the old bubble!

  • http://www.westagemusic.com/ Marc

    Is it me or are the rendering images from that phone ugly and inaccurate as hell?

  • Ivan

    LOVE IT! :-) This is one good looking app! I'm so happy they finally are making apps looking as good as in iOS, so I can enjoy more my Note 3 perfect screen :-))) Hope more developers to do this. :-))

  • atonee

    IMO it looks so much like Skype for Android

  • WantingGV

    Looks like it wont send confirmation code to Google Voice #, anyone else had luck?

  • orangesoder

    it "didn't take off" because after the whole "steal your address book" fiasco, no one trusts facebook with their sms messages.

  • Eric Jones

    So Hangouts gets SMS, and Facebook takes it away on basically the same day?

    • spacekobra

      It's called comedic timing.

    • Matt

      The best part is that the new app still requests the permission to read/write SMS...for no apparent reason.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        Probably for verification features, actually.

  • Ricardo Steve

    Hey I got the update just a few moments ago. I did sign for the Facebook Beta program, that's probably why I'm one of the "limited number of users" (?)

    • Régis Knechtel

      me too

  • Chris Banks

    Mines updated from store. Can't say I'm a fan of the garish blue and iOS look, or how the icons differ. Hopefully the full app updates soon to match.

    • spacekobra

      I don't like the shade of blue, it makes it stand out from all the other apps on my device.
      Which come to think of it... that was probably intentional.

      • Chris Banks

        Makes sense. I just feel it doesn't go well with the older blue of the facebook app icon.
        The shape is interesting though, matching the roundness of the upcoming Kitkat icons.

  • Chris

    Via the verge? How about via google play. I downloaded this update a couple hours ago...

  • Frank Lopez

    I dont see the option to make messenger the text messaging app as well.

  • Unknown182

    Can't you just merge this into the FB app already? It does practically the same thing

    • Brad

      I wish, but they split it when G+ came out... they realized they could double their exposure by being idiots.

    • Lupe Fiasco

      Personally, I think there are some people (Including Me) who use FB Messenger and that's it. I could care less about my feed and what's new, I mainly just use FB to message those that I can't message anywhere else. I like having the option to just have the messaging app available.

    • Ricardo Neves

      Or they could just remove messenger functionality from the main app

  • Brad

    I've got the update, too. I'll post mine in case that one IS tampered with.

    Edit: mine doesn't look like the one in the screenshots... I'm gonna force close it and see if it changes.

    Edit: no dice... looks old. I know I didn't have an update earlier today.

  • Cory Wilson

    SMS was worthless on Facebook messenger because it was just SMS. no group messaging, no MMS support, no syncing amongst devices... Way to give up instead of actually trying to improve it! And how long do we have to wait before we're going to get contact syncing, and holo ui with a tablet mode? Facebook has no clue what people actually want on android

    • john

      It has MMS. had.

      • Cory Wilson

        through facebooks messenger service, not the phones. so if you friend didn't have messenger installed,MMS and group messaging didn't work

  • David Wormley

    I'm really going to miss the SMS feature - I still text a lot and I don't want to have to go back to not using chat heads. It really is a habit-forming feature. Major bummer.

  • Crispin Swickard

    I would say it looks like an amalgam of Android,iOS, Windows and BB. Probably so they can be lazy, and not have to make entirely native looking apps for each, and still slightly look like it belongs on all of them.

  • http://www.geordienorman.com/ George Byers

    pfft, more like they did this to take the press off all the new Google + announcements.....

  • WHO?

    This is okkkkkk. First i dont like white theme. Prefer being able to switch to a dark theme. Second you cant even change your notification sound in the new version. Guess they forgot to add that.

  • The_Chlero

    I love the dialogs in the PR images of popular messasing apps:

    Dude 1: Hey lets go party
    Dude 2: Sounds great. I'll be there.
    Dude 1: We are going to have so much fun
    Dude 3: You guys are amazing. This going to be perfect.

    Who the hell talks like that? Its like the script of some very bad B-Movie in the 80's.

    • Crispin Swickard

      Maybe it is a script from a B movie.. If I ever learn to code, and make a messaging app of some sort I will do that specifically.

  • Blake Main

    RIP Facebook.

    • Ivan

      Are you stupid? They will never "RIP" this is biggest social network.. They really need to stop allowing idiots to use internet.. It's so anoying.. And the most important.. Apps are getting better and better... So shut the fyk up :-)

      • Nuno Guerreiro

        Beside, they have a beta program and also a alpha program (every two days with a new update) of FB main app

  • Fabio Monteneri

    ahahah what's that shit

  • https://www.twitter.com/Darkaeluz Darkaeluz

    is it me or it looks a lot like skype?

  • alamarco

    Absolutely terrible design. This is designed for iOS 7. This isn't an Android app. The current app looks 100x better than this iOS 7 design. I thought it was a joke when I seen the images and they weren't iPhone's.

    This all white and bright blue looks terrible. I own an Android, I don't want iOS 7. If I did I'd own an iPhone.

    I hope people realize that Facebook is just sticking a big middle finger out at Android. They are basically complying with iOS 7's new design and tossing out Androids design.

  • Alan Fortte

    Thank you so much Facebook team I was waiting this app. It is really great user friendly and smooth.

  • boeder

    I'm downgrading, let's hope the SMS feature still works on 2.7.1


    • Matthew Bladen

      Could you not share the apk before downgrading ? - Hope you get sms back but it's not something I use.

  • tintin.92

    Well that sucks! The ONLY reason I used Facebook Messenger at all was cuz of charge ads with text messaging. Is there any serious alternative?

    And no, Floating Notifications and Halo don't count.

  • Christian Tolentino

    APK works but it seems there is no log out option?

  • Joey

    That icon tho

  • bL4Ck

    Nice iOS layout Facebook, instead of complying with Android Guidelines they just take the whole iOS experience and slap it on Android, good way to do double the work.

  • Sebastian Nuñez Del Prado

    I guess I am part of the minority that enjoyed and used sms integration with messenger. I love chat heads so I guess this means I wont be updating fb messenger ever again. with the aid of titanium backup that wont be a problem.
    I never had an issue sending picture messages via text using the fb messenger app on either my previous phone which was the Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket or my current phone galaxy note 2 both running stock 4.1.2.

  • Christian Tolentino

    Looks good and works fine. But it drains my battery too much.

  • Christian’ Lee Nettleingham

    Where does the picture look really alike ios7

  • Tamadrummer94

    Please tell me Chat Heads is still included. I'm very disappointed to see SMS integration go; that and Chat Heads made it the slickest messaging service in my mind.

  • deltatux

    Doesn't seem to want to send the confirmation code to my phone number, pretty broken if you ask me...

  • Gavin

    Too bad you can't SKIP the entry of a phone number. I do NOT want to use this feature and I do NOT want FB to have my phone number, so basically I am forced to stop using the new messenger app completely. Great job FB! -_-

  • not impressed

    Don't like it at all. Looks dated. Can't tell if the other person is typing and I only ever used it for FB friends. I prefer text for non FB contacts. How do I revert?

  • kevin_gee

    The only reason i would use this app was to utilize the sms feature, because i liked the chat heads but now that this feature is not a feature anymore. Im off to uninstall it.

  • Preety Kaur


    Facebook Messenger
    notifications not work