30
Oct
Facebook-Thumb

Yesterday Facebook announced that it was revamping its Messenger app, stripping it of SMS functionality and creating a more attractive, streamlined experience that the company hopes will draw more users to the app. The new version is currently rolling out to a limited number of users, with a wider release planned for the coming weeks. So when it arrives, what should you expect?

What's New?

To get started you're going to hand over the keys to everything, including your car, before using the app. The list of permissions requested is long enough to print out onto a belt and wrap around your waist twice. I noticed that some of the features seem to be holdouts from the previous release: Facebook said they're removing SMS support, but the app currently still wants the ability to read and send text messages. Though, there is a chance this could have something to do with two-factor authentication. You can see the full list for yourself below, just keep in mind that these permissions could change before the wide release.

Facebook1 Facebook2 Facebook3

The introductory splash screens also leave the impression that Messenger maintains support for SMS. It prompts for your phone number, but this is there just so you can use it to verify your account if you lose your password. A separate screen invites you to text friends, but it really wants you to invite all of your contacts into Facebook and use the service as your new way to send texts between phones. This version allows people to message contacts that they aren't Facebook friends with, scanning their list of phone numbers for those with Facebook accounts associated with them and letting users communicate without having to send out a request.

Facebook4 Facebook5 Facebook6

The new interface looks more iOS 7 than holo, but it's smooth and zippy. It still feels like an Android app, even if it doesn't look all that much like a Facebook one anymore. This new version of Messenger reminds me of third-party Facebook clients I've tried in the past. It doesn't match the general app, nor does it blend in with Facebook Home, but it's pretty, it's fast, and hopefully the company's other products follow suit. Though Facebook should tread carefully if it doesn't want its apps to end up looking too much like Skype.

Facebook7 Facebook8

Sending messages is quick, and while the new look is far airier, it still manages to feel familiar. The location tracking toggle is still present, and massive smileys are tucked away where you remeber, just waiting to scar unexpecting Facebook friends.

Facebook9 Facebook10 Facebook11

Messenger now has a tab that makes it obvious who is currently active on Facebook and shows whether they're using a web browser or a mobile device. A blue badge also shows who has the Messenger app installed. I would call this page one of the more delightful additions to the app.

Facebook12

Update: The new version also has a tablet UI that slightly differs from what you see above, a first for Facebook Messenger.

Download

Before downloading the new version from either of the two mirrors provide below, there are a few things you must do. First, you need to uninstall the previous app. Then you have to go to the Play Store and disable auto-update. For whatever reason, Messenger internally carries a lower version number than the app currently offered on Google Play, so your phone will want to "update" back to the previous release.

There you go. Have at it.

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. He now lives in the City of Bridges, adjusting to the presence of actual snow. His phone of choice is the HTC One.

  • moelsen8

    why'd they remove sms support?

  • http://www.thepixelpuse.com/ Aj Meadows

    Gotta hand it to Facebook. This is the best looking app they've ever made.

    • Mick Collingwood

      Too much like ios7 for my liking

      • Hans Pedersen

        Are we really critising apps looking simple and flat to be too much iOS now, even though that's what Google has been doing for years? Really?

        • Brian Koppe

          The design is clearly inspired by iOS. It's beautiful, but it looks like an iOS app on Android.

          • Roh_Mish

            Or you should say ios looks like android.

          • IamTheFij

            How so?

            The bars on the top and bottom look almost identical to what we see in the stock Android People app.

          • Robbie Ward

            The color scheme (bright blue on white, bubbles for the chat) looks identical to the iOS Texting application's interface, and comes too long after iOS 7 to not look like it. Even still, an iOS 7 port looks nicer on Android than an iOS6 port, so I'll take it.

          • IamTheFij

            And this? Before iOS7 even. Also of note, Facebooks colors happen to be Blue and White.

          • Robbie Ward

            I'm talking about the chat interface, not the contact list. The chat interface looks exactly like the text messaging on iOS 7 (bubbles included.)

            The blue (#0084FF) is more iOS 7 (#1088FF) than it is Facebook (#47639E) or Holo Light Blue (#33b5e5)

      • Michael Ta

        well then stick with your old crappy outdated clutter. No one is telling you to update or anything :)

        • Mick Collingwood

          I have on my main device. I'm running the new build on a galaxy Nexus as part of the test group. There's nothing cluttered about the old version. It works well and doesn't have annoying sound effects that can't be turned off.

    • nebula

      I agree, but the big blue bar at the bottom doesn't fit in there. An action bar at the top would be better.

  • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

    Says "App not installed." when I try to install on my Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus.

    • deexcy

      Uninstall the old version first, should work.

      • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

        That's got it, thanks!

    • oimeunomethom

      uninstall the old version before installing.

    • haimn

      You have to uninstall the previous version beafore you install the new version

    • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

      It's refusing to accept my GB phone number saying "Please enter a valid mobile phone number." Doesn't seem quite ready to me!

    • Brad

      Uninstall the old one first

  • besthiroeu

    Notifications are not working for me.

  • b_freeman

    Now if they could just update Facebook itself into a decent looking app.

    • Nasko Hristov

      If they keep pairing these two themes, maybe we are going in that direction.

      • Fadakar

        We are, Home got a revamp a week or so ago. No one made a big deal because no one uses it anymore. But this follows the style of Home quite closely. Maybe Facebook as a whole is going... bluer?

    • George Av

      I'm willing to bet 100% that they will bring out a re designed Facebook app in the next few months..

      • Morten Ulveseth

        Please let that include a tablet app. Oh, and the new newsfeed for the web ^^

        • Robbie Ward

          I signed up for that day 1 and still don't have it :I

          • http://www.thetrueperspective.com/ Hamza

            Me neither. It's been how long now? 6 months? A year? I lost track of time.

          • Robbie Ward

            just under 8 months

      • DerMeister

        The should also redesign the whole website!

        • kathemv088

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      • Tomáš Petrík

        Bummer

  • Nasko Hristov

    I must admit that it looks nice, a little iOS7-ish, but THAT SPEED, jee that is the app they are needing. Only one think I don't find cool is the icon, I like it, but it screems iOS.

  • oimeunomethom

    The visual IOS7, but still MUCH better than the old version. :)

  • andy_o

    Does this have synced notifications for different devices? I'm gonna guess no cause I'm a pessimist.

    Also another thing that is annoying and makes me not use this on my N10, the Enter key on an external keyboard can't be set to send, it just makes a line break.

  • Mick Collingwood

    What version is this? I'm already running 3.0.1

    • Nasko Hristov

      Facebook released to "small circle" of people to test it, that is where it leaked from.

      • Mick Collingwood

        I know, I've been running it before the leak. Just wondered if this is the same version I'm officially running

  • Taylor

    Do some apks open up pocketcasts instead of installing for anybody else?

    • Brad

      sometimes mine try opening with quickoffice... gotta open it from an explorer...

  • Emanuele Ricci

    My eyes hurt so much :(

    • Michael Ta

      close it. uninstall it. throw your phone away.

  • Jovie Brett Bardoles

    This is the greatest achievement done by Facebook for their app Messenger. Im really in love with the new UI :D I hope they can make the app bugless -.-

  • MrJamesBrown

    Anyone else seen there is a tablet mode too??

    • Mick Collingwood

      Looks the same on my phone and tablet

    • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

      Yes it's different on my N7 and Galaxy Nexus. All the buttons at the top on the tablet.

      • Mick Collingwood

        Depends on rom.

        • MrJamesBrown

          It isn't ROM dependant

          • Mick Collingwood

            Strange that. I tried it on a CM nightly and a PAC nightly and they displayed differently.

      • Sabin Bajracharya

        Its because the bottom action bar adjusts automatically according to the screen size!

        • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

          Exactly!

  • Eli Friedman

    I'm going to be screening app permissions more thoroughly for myself more often. Crap like this is starting to piss me off. I don't care if you want to add some stupid social feature into a free app. I refuse to give you access to my phonebook and sms logs.

    • Mick Collingwood

      If your using a custom rom it's easily solved

    • Mick Collingwood

      Plus I can't see how you can complain about adding a social feature when it's an app From Facebook, the biggest social site going. Plus as you've stated the app is free. Don't like, uninstall.

      • Eli Friedman

        I don't mean for this particular app. I mean when games like Temple Run or Angry Birds request things that they have no business requesting.

        • Mick Collingwood

          Ah right, sorry I misunderstood your comment.

    • Andrés

      Check "Manage Permissions" and "Secure Settings" you can manage which permissions you actually give an app. The only problem is that each time you update an app you have to go in again and remove permissions.

      There is an app that each time you install or update an app it prompts you to check the permissions you actually want to give but I forgot the name and can't find it in the list of installed apps. I'm sure some one here knows.

      • Andrés

        The APP is LBE Privacy Guard :)

        • akshay7394

          Doesn't work on jellybean though, unless you're willing to use a chinese-translated version which might not be secure.

    • xnifex

      If you're on 4.3 you can use any app to create a shortcut, I use Quick Shortcut Maker, & then make a shortcut for AppOps listed under settings. It'll allow you to view which apps are using what permissions & when they last used them. You can disable anything you don't wish for them to use.

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sika524.android.quickshortcut

  • Brad

    We'll never know when it's safe to update the app!!! Plus I'm OCD about keeping things up to date :(

    • Mick Collingwood

      Just check version number on the play store. Am update isn't necessarily a good thing as well

      • Brad

        But we don't know the internal version number... this claims it's 3.something and the play store says 2.7.1

        • Mick Collingwood

          Use something like solid explorer or maybe es which should tell you internal app version

  • Pieter-Jan Voskamp

    I'm thinking the Permission to access SMS is for the verification once you start the app for the first time. It automatically fills in the verification code that you'll receive by SMS in the process.

  • Alberto Blasi

    Bah, this looks like iOS 7. Will they ever pay attention to the Google Holo guidelines?

    • Mick Collingwood

      It was one of the first things I mentioned but when does Facebook ever take notice! even of their Alpha and Beta testers.

      • Michael Ta

        oh please stop moaning. Seriously, this is a step forward but still you people keep complaining. You think it'll change?! You think they'll follow AndroidPolice and look up a criticism about their UI and change it?! Why don't you ever take notice?!

        • Mick Collingwood

          Why you replying to all of these? Your like the troll's on twitter. If you had of read it properly I said they took no notice of their alpha and beta testers of which I am both. This is an area for making comments. If you don't like it don't read it.

    • WalkinOnBottles

      The top half of the app definitely looks Holo, actually this looks like a mix between Holo and iOS7. So best of both worlds, no complaints here so far.

      • Grahaman27

        One complaint- that icon.

    • Roh_Mish

      Its holo. A bit different. It adhers to holo usablity guidelines, just the visual is a bit differenr. Now if iOS copies android and you say that android app looks like iOS app, people get a wrong feeling that Apple did it first. It would be completely holo in current design if apple had not released iOS7.

    • IamTheFij

      Looks a lot like the stock Android app for contacts... How is following Google's lead emulating a new iOS look?

  • Lance

    The only iOS 7-like here are the color, circled profile photos and the message bubbles. Other than that, the UI is pure Android

    • Alberto Blasi

      add the settings on/off buttons. Is there anything left?

  • Mick Collingwood

    So now people have had a chance to use it for a bit, what is the biggest annoyance? Sounds (with no option to disable), theme or something else?

    • akshay7394

      More like sounds with no option to configure. I don't mind the sounds being there so much as i mind the sounds themselves, they sound really annoying compared to every other notification sound I've got on my phone

  • NerdyITGuy

    Doesn't seem to work on my 2.3.5 Photon 4G, but works great on my Nexus 7.

    • Mick Collingwood

      Think you need ICS and above

  • http://www.alainalemany.com/ Alain Alemany Arana

    Well, in my case I never get the confirmation code. Still waiting.

  • Zack Whitfield

    What are they doing? Trying to merge Holo and iOS7?

  • Edward Smith

    Doesn't work for me even if I force it into a system app. It just force closes.

  • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel Minário

    iOS6 Apps in Android is ok but mimic the entire iOS 7 design? Seriously, Facebook?

  • Frank Lopez

    removing sms instead of improving on it. - renders this app useless again for me.

  • Suhas

    Regardless of whether it look like iOS app or not just enjoy the app. It's for me the best looking/functioning Facebook mobile product-to-date.

    I was so surprised when I updated this last night. And then there was another update early morning which reverted back to the old interface (I was dumbstruck). Thanks to AP I'm using it back again.

  • The_Chlero

    The upside about this release is that if FM happens to be successful, the next trend in app UI will follow the style of this new FM, which is very good because this app is very beautiful and clear.

  • Tyrone Thomas

    The app won't install for me for some reason. It just keeps saying "app not installed"

    • http://jack.ev.tl/ Jack Clarke

      Uninstall the old one first. :)

  • aritra

    This is so much better. . I'm gonna keep it. . If it doesn't affect my battery badly

  • remister

    MediaFire mirror for all APK downloads, please!

  • Rob Johnson

    Why would you want it? It's looks ugly and half finished

  • Andrew

    Holy iOS7 Batman... Bright green text on a white background. No thank you.

  • aritra

    its not stable..hanged my note3 2 times..:( however its better looking and ui is great..

  • anmolm97

    I feel a little KitKat icon here!!, Google what are you up to?

    • Brad

      Google's not up to anything with facebook's apps.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I just wanted to clarify about the need to uninstall. It's not due to a different signature.

    You need to uninstall the existing version to install this, otherwise it will fail. You also need to uncheck auto-updates in the Play Store. The reason is that for some fuck knows what reason, this APK internally carries a lower version number than the one in the Play Store, even though the public version number is 3.0.1 vs 2.X.whatever. Because of this, Android thinks it's actually older and refuses to install. Also because of this, the Play Store will attempt to auto-update it unless you turn it off.

  • Brian Koppe

    I really like the new design language of iOS7. iOS was starting to look stale and I honestly thought Holo was more attractive for awhile. Now they're on par with each other. That said, I don't want to see iOS7 design - no matter how attractive it is - on my Android device. I won't be using Facebook Messenger for now out of principle. I don't want an app made by developers who are too lazy to use the design language of the device they're coding for.

    • IamTheFij

      Blame Google for emulating iOS7 years before it was released then! ;)

  • votdfak

    Thanks AP!

  • blahmoomoo

    I'm assuming this version still has Chat Heads, right? I'm guessing yes, but there's no screenshot of it.

    • Daniel Smith

      Yep.

  • Joel

    Facebook should revamp their FB app and make it look highly similar to the FB Messenger's UI. However, I shouldn't be very excited about this apk leak because I have attempted to side-load Facebook Messenger into my phone a couple of times. After successfully installing the app, it will automatically down-date to its original version.

    • Daniel Smith

      Disable auto-update in Google Play.

  • Pratik Holla

    One saving grace of the iOS6 to iOS 7 transition is that when app developers copy the iOS7 design over to android, it will look better than the iOS 6 garbage they had before. But, HOLOYOLO with cards is still the way to go

  • Karan O

    I'm using these for a day and i must say that it's what we were waiting for FAST , CLEAN , and Super Duper Beautiful ! and Quit talking about saying that it looks like IOS7 Cause it is And IOS7 looks cool and that's good for APP developers !

  • Jean Viegas

    Great

  • Guest

    Does anyone have this apk for Gingerbread? This one is only ICS up.
    I known, GB is old, you should upgrade your phone, bla bla bla, but until someone makes a decent QWERTY slider I'm keeping mine ;-)

    • guest

      +1. I got the update from the play store on my 2.3 phone, and within 5 minutes, it said there was another update available, and it reverted back to the old version. If anyone has the gingerbread apk, please post it.

  • Sachin Bahal

    Is anyone else getting a Parse Error when trying to install this version of the app? I uninstalled the old version of Messenger and then loaded this new version's apk file and it is giving me that error. Any suggestions?

    • Mick Collingwood

      Maybe a bad download

  • torxt

    does it work with 2.3 ?

    • torxt

      with android 2.3

  • Mert ÇELEN

    New design is bullshit,
    hey facebook we dont have ios 7 design!

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

    ugh it has the ios 7 colour palette ._.

  • mavericksid

    Why do you people still use facebook? Just curious.

    • Gary Wilkinson

      Because they have friends.

  • Yves Schleich

    What about that color? That's not the FB corporate color.

  • ngyikp

    Some extra stuff I found:

    1. You can't change the notification ringtone anymore

    2. It forces you to type your phone number. No way to skip it. Entering your phone number will allow other people to type your phone number into Facebook search to find you. This wouldn't be a big deal, I don't mind my real friends know my phone number, but...

    3. The privacy setting for "Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?" is forced PUBLIC. If you attempt to change it to Friends Only, it would force log out and reset it back to Public when you log back in.

    So yeah, I'm dumping this version and use the old version until FB starts forcing.

    • ngyikp

      An update, after Facebook finally offered me this new version at Google Play a few days ago, I noticed a few changes.

      1. You can change the notification ringtone!

      2. You can skip the "add your phone number" screen now.

      3. Since you can skip the screen, it won't jump back to Public.

      Good guy Zuckerberg? ;p

      Oh, as others have mentioned, there's no Log Out button for some reason, but it's not a real concern for me though.

  • Evan Relf

    What keyboard is used in that one screenshot? It looks like a modified version of the Google Keyboard...?

  • Andrew

    One thing that's not at all clear from this review is that it forces you to type your phone number at the start and will not proceed into the app without that phone number being verified. This has never been the case with FB Messenger before, and basically renders it inoperable on my phone.

  • EeZeEpEe

    There was an update yesterday November 5. Any word on the APK and what's changed?

  • rikku

    but hoe to switch or logout

  • anino

    how the hell do you log out of this thing? Seems they removed any log out or the old switch user option.

    • Vargen

      I'm wondering the same thing! I don't want any unneccessary apps running while I don't use my phone. WHERE IS THE LOGOUT OPTION, FACEBOOK?!

  • chow

    Hi
    May i ask. Where can i find the log out in new version of messenger? i am using Samsung galaxy tab. Sorry, i'm a newbie..Thanks so much :)

  • ajmal hamza

    hey...how to logout from facebook messenger new version....any idea..pls answer any one

  • Nada Sameh

    In the messenger tab i have People who are neither in my contacts nor in my facebook friendlist !!!

    How the hell did they appear in my List then ?!!!

  • https://www.odesk.com/o/profiles/users/_~~6822e5762fbbd55e/ Filip Galetic

    This is a shit of an update, I was forced to download it so I can continue reading and sending messages within my existing Facebook app. What are they smoking??

  • Miki

    Can i use new facebook messenger without facebook account, only with phone number ?

  • J Jones

    There is no LOG OUT provision in the newest Messenger.
    Where can I find the older version to reinstall.

  • Unknown

    How Do You Delete Messenger Off Of Your Phone?

  • memeka

    This is crap app. why would I need an app to text people already in my phone. I could just text them.

  • Colin Olsen

    Why would I let my app read my messages?!? I don't want a website to read what I'm sending to other people.

    Anyways, I got rid of my iPhone because iOS 7 looked too dreadful. What happened to the sharpness and the color? This is 2014 now and we're reverting back to bubbles and neon colors with white backgrounds. It's so childish looking. I want modern looking things, not sugarcoated things.