Viewing Facebook Messages Without Installing The Messenger App

The new Facebook Messenger app has been called it?Over the last few weeks, there has been a lot of stink over the fact that Facebook is splitting its messaging functionality out into a new Facebook Messenger app. Some fear-mongers have been spreading rumors that Facebook plans to use your camera and microphone to listen in on your private conversations, while Facebook has sent pretty clear messages that it has no intent to do so. The result, however, has been quite a few conversations where friends and family have asked me whether they should avoid installing the Messenger app.

My response has been pretty simple. Even if it were true, and Facebook were spying…is your life really that interesting? If you’re concerned with Facebook listening in on your conversations, maybe you should rethink what activities you’re engaged in. No…Facebook is not really interested in your rants during your kids soccer game. Surprise…they don’t want to hear you use the terms “ping”, “strategize” and “leverage” in your corporate meetings. It’s true…Facebook is not interested in any of your embarrassing bathroom noises while you play Candy Crush Saga on the toilet.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but installing the Messenger app isn’t going to place your privacy in any more risk than the already embarrassing photos and “woe is me” posts that you’re putting on Facebook yourself. So calm down, don’t believe the fear-mongers….just relax.

Installing Facebook Messenger is not the end of your privacy. You can still use the phone to call people. You can still text. You can still email. If you choose not to use Facebook Messenger, great! It’s one less communication channel that you need to check while you’re sitting at the stoplight holding everyone else up in line when the light turns green and you’re fixated on your phone.


But if you don’t believe me and you NEED your Facebook messages, yet are terrified that adding it to your phone will require you to wear a foil hat for the rest of your life so Facebook doesn’t steal your thoughts, then here are the instructions on how to get them. No…it’s not optimal. Yes, it’s kind of cludgy…but if you want the best experience, simply install the app and get over it.

Using Chrome, you can request the desktop version of FacebookViewing Facebook Messages On Your Mobile Device Or Tablet Without Using The Facebook App

  1. Install Chrome on your device. If you are an Android user, it’s already on your phone.
  2. Open Chrome and navigate to (don’t log in yet)
  3. Open the context menu within Chrome and check the box next to “Request Desktop Site”
  4. Reload the page and you should see the desktop site.
  5. Log in.
  6. Click the Messages link in the left nav under your profile photo to see your messages and respond to them.

Again, not the best user experience, but it gets you to your messages without ever having to bow to the privacy will of Facebook. Except for the fact that you basically gave away all privacy expectations when you “Agreed” to the Facebook terms of use by creating your account. Oh yeah…that small detail.

I hope this helps. I also hope this post gets zero traffic because people aren’t sill enough to Google “how can I view my Facebook messages on my phone without installing the Messenger app”. We’ll see….



  • Great post Sean! I actually finally gave in last week and installed the messenger app as it was so cludgy doing it via chrome like you say (great word btw). It was more about having an extra app to think about than privacy concerns but glad I have it now.

    • jessica

      can you answer my question

      • FranchiseSIX5 .

        Umm….goto and type in your login info?

        Is it really that hard to figure out?

  • That is really super cool post and mind it very good information shared over here really it is very useful information you have shared. thanks for the post. Visit text loans uk

  • jessica

    how can log on facebook with this website

  • FranchiseSIX5 .

    You are exactly the person that gives away all your private information. You are an irresponsible tech writer to propose people install it, giving away more than your stupid examples.

    It’s the living “inside the box” kind of people like you who don’t understand the long term affects of “not caring” who gets your info. It’s way too much to write here, and you wouldn’t care anyways.


  • Jeff G.

    I wouldn’t mind it if messenger wasn’t a resource hog…streamline it first

    • kadster

      Exactly. This has nothing whatsoever to do with privacy or ads. That’s gone the moment you get on the internet. It has everything to do with the fact that Facebook Messenger is a crap program that renders my phone dysfunctional. I just love it when some presumptuous know-it-all jerk tries to insult us into compliance.

  • Lexi Atel

    Well, aren’t you just a little lamb. It’s not just about the privacy crap, you know. It’s the way they are forcing you to download it just to access the chat system. WHY are they doing this? Well, for the ads, of course! They want to shove them down our throats even more, and the fact that it takes up unnecessary space/battery life, when we can just access it using the browser. Another thing these ads in this applications do is suck our bandwidth. But never mind an actual LOGICAL argument to the whole “I don’t want to download this pos you’re forcing on me.”

    Dare you ask anyone to think out side of the mind of a typical conspiracy theorist.

  • Havana Brown

    You are soooo wrong! Facebook uses your data FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES without compensation or permission. There is a major lawsuit goingnon about that at the moment. If you allow them to download your emails dnd reroute your calls WITHOUT YOUR KNOWLEDGE, as the Messenger app clearly states, you are a moron.

  • Wierzbicki

    I don’t like being forced to use it!

  • Danielle Hoveland

    I don’t want to get around using messenger because I’m afraid of privacy. I resent having to switch between three different apps that eat the memory/battery on my phone when I can do it all in ONE browser window on my computer.

  • ebc1973

    I don’t want the stupid app. It’s not about privacy issues. I HATE, LOATHE, DESPISE, real-time chat. I like private messaging in the old-school email format. Facebook messaging of the past served my needs to a tee. As usual, the wheel worked just fine. Why re-invent it?

  • rocketjjpj

    The message app that has been rig to be the only way to receive the messages used up my battery in no time and that sucks the app need so much power the phone heats up and this phone is a very good working LG phone with out the app the battery last two days with the app the battery last for a few hours. I rebooted my phone to default. No more messaged app for me pulse the app to over the phone calls and the text of the phone. This messaged app SUCKS!!!!

  • Chris Cruz

    Lol #seriouslythough #nailedit

  • cg

    Pretty presumptuous piece here…Maybe people don’t want more apps running on our phone clogging data and space. Ever think about that?

  • plasticm

    This is such a lame work-around to have to use. That’s not the author’s fault – it’s helpful of him to share it – but he didn’t have to act like a dick about it.

    Do you know what? I don’t have a tin hat. But I do have a smartphone with a relatively low internal storage capacity and a web browser which works perfectly well. Why force users to install apps they neither want nor need? It’s not for the users’ benefit. facebook don’t insist on making desktop users install new software just to message friends. The only reason the mobile facebook site doesn’t have a messaging interface I’m perfectly happy with is because facebook have broken their mobile site on purpose.

    • Laura Barling

      I agree with this.. I don’t have Facebook or messenger on my phone,nor do I have music,or Snapchat or instagram or twitter..
      My space is limited.. but using the facebook and inbox messages on the web is very convenient,it still teaches my kids that you DON’T need an app for everything,and if your child isn’t home and runs out of minutes for calling or texting,all they need is a wifi and can still get on the web to message their parents or use someone’s computer or phone. Not everyone has a cell phone either.Alot of elder people still use the web to contact people
      Not everyone is ABLE to download messenger..
      and why is it you can download messenger without or instead of One another but can still use it but yet you can’t get on the WEB online in Facebook to message someone?
      and with our libraries appearently shutting down,everyone is forced to get a phone of some sort to do school work assignments that involves the web “Google it”
      When I was a teen,I was always at the library.. getting books for world history or googled it on their computers and printed papers off that was needed,same with documents..
      so taking away inbox messaging from online Facebook is ridiculous.. please keep inbox messaging on facebook.. IT’S NEEDED!!!

  • Eli Edgecomb

    Watch Snowden and tell me we don’t need to worry. Willful ignorance is not an attractive quality. Neither is rudeness.

  • Neto Yo

    I’m ok with requesting the messenger app when you are using the facebook app, but when you are using the mobile WEBSITE I expect to access all of the functionallity through it i hate that it opens the play store when i want to see a message. As for your suggestion, i was already using it, the website looks like cancer but at least it does not ask for the app.

  • Michael K. Jensen

    Exactly. There can be many reasons for each person. Mine was I do not want to install apps other than those I decide to. The messengers app was is very bad,with battery power. Like up to a factor 4 in drainage speed. And off course if I choose to access facebook or another website/ website app. Via a browser I do not expect nor want an app to be installed by clicking on an abitrary menu entry on the website. There 3 different reasons.

  • Perri M. Devi

    Wouldn’t mind using the Messenger app if it actually WORKED [the whole point here].

    I’ve uninstalled / reinstalled over 3 times, with weeks / months inbetween; and still the same story (clicking on any past conversations, messages or search results gets stuck on ‘loading’)

    Ever since someone either blocked me or deactivated their account DURING a conversation.

  • Esteban Lopez

    The privacy thing is not really an issue, what I hate about the app is that it literally kills the battery(even is the app is closed). I noticed that after I uninstalled it, my phone battery life lasts 3 times as much as before. I find it funny that a 3d game doesn’t consume as much battery as the messenger app.

  • Fraya

    Yeah i know im not important enough that fb wants to knew every detail of my life. But… Do the people who call me not have a right to privacy?!? One of the permissions is to record all calls and listen. When my homegirl calls to tell me about the embarrassing mistake she made in bed with her husband, doesn’t she have the right to assume its a privet conversation that’s not being recorded? I don’t like how fb is being so damn pushy with messager and they make profit on data…. why can’t I make $ off my data? It’s not about my privetcy…. it’s more so about the privetcy of the people who contact me. In my state it is illegal to record a conversation when one or both party doesn’t know it’s being recorded. So for me to stay an upstanding citizen I can’t download messager. Js.

    • S K

      I’ve been asking a simple question for more than two years (with no answers)… Does FB Messenger have the ability/rights to ALL DATA contained in my Contacts? (I use standard Android Contacts with Google) This concerns me because I use the notes section for private information about the people in my contacts, such as: notes about a first date or woman of interest, i.e., She Gives Good…. um, advice, or – had the best/worst sex ever, or – Bad Breath. I also use the notes in my own contact to store combinations to my safes, hints for passwords to certain accounts, etc. The point being… just because I have given my consent for Facebook Messenger to access my contacts – doesn’t mean that my contacts would like their information being shared; specifically without their knowledge!
      Until somebody shows me where Facebook only stores my contacts’ names, addresses, phone numbers etc. I am assuming that Facebook has access to each and every character of information stored in each and every contact record. Which means they will know which one of my dates; Gives Good _______ (advice), has perfectly shaped _______s (opinions) and _______ me on the first date! (Oh, that last one is “slapped”!)

      Am I making the correct assumption?

      • Fraya

        If you look at at permissions when downloading fb messager it tells you whathat kinda access they have. In short yes, the have full access even when ur not using messages. They follow everything you do on that device, on every website and every picture you take. The even have control over your external and internal mic. They sat the mic is used for advertising, but is no data is gathered. They have your mic listen in on a conversation (or if u r watching TV it will figure out what program.) And if you and a friend are in a restaurant talking about a safi vacation, next time you open fb you will see adds for a safari. How could they do this without collecting data? If my conversation has to be recognized it’s a program that’s doing the recognition, meaning something is sent to that program.

        I feel like my friends have a right to assume our conversation isn’t being monitored, not to mention my kid and her friends. What if fb is collecting data on my conversations when my kid calls with a issue she or her friend are struggling with? And 20 years down the road that conversation services when the girls are president? Ithe doesn’t seem worth the risk.

        So I won’t download fb messager, I Google fb and log in through Google than I hit the 3 dots in the upper right corner and select “open in chrome” than I hit the three dots again and hit “request desktop site”. I only do that if I want to see or send privet messa

  • Christian Rapp

    First off, your rant was offputting and unbearably long. You are arrogant and niave, to not care about privacy. I don’t want to download it because I don’t have enough space on my phone and it’s much faster when you are already in the Facebook app to navigate your messages and back to all the other Facebook functions.

  • On both my iPhone and my iPad, I simply pulled up the Share button at the bottom of the Safari window (box with up-arrow), and chose Request Desktop Site icon. This appears to resolve the issue – for now. The concern, of course, for this workaround is that when you “request” the desktop site, it may choose to either not offer it, or offer a different “mobile desktop” site rather than offering the true desktop site. Luckily, there are other browsers, too, for iOS, that allow you to set the user agent field so that it won’t attempt to dish up the mobile site in the first place. Of course, if your Facebook cached or bookmarked URL starts with an “m.” make sure you try “www.” instead as well. Also, I hate the terrible and separate Facebook Messenger app. I will never use it again, and dislike Facebook because they are corralling people into it.

    • stickist

      Indeed, I’ve noticed in the last week that this desktop-site behavior appears to be changing on mobile (Android/chrome, anyway). Several times switching to desktop showed NO messages, even though there were some that showed (as a number of messages) in the mobile site. On several occasions, the number of messages shown was different in desktop and mobile sites, both on the mobile platform.

      And then it went back to normal, after a couple days. I suspect they are trying to prevent any message viewing other than through messenger, and are testing various means to do so.

  • To make it short…You sir are an IDIOT!!
    Even if FB had no plans to screw you over with these permissions (now or who knows about years from now??), who’s to say the hacker that breaks them WONT?
    I see people use their cameras every day to UPDATE or enter a NEW credit card to some account! You JUST snap a pic and it’s done. Anyone that has access to your camera has the same information. Information is the most valuable thing on the planet folks…always has been! So, I may be dull..but then, so is almost EVERY reality show on TV..that does not stop millions of people from watching them!

  • Mossy

    It’s because there isn’t space to download another app on an old iPhone which I can’t afford to replace. Nothing tinfoil hat about that. Anyway even using the web browser for messages on the ‘phone now doesn’t work. So people just won’t get replies until I go onto the laptop.

  • Mousiemouse

    You people don’t get it. I have had my phones hacked by people and they accessed my phone using Facebook Facebook messenger me email addresses and my phone number and and many other such apps. I’ve had 5 phones and everyone has been hacked and I’m not going to explain how I know because you would have to a genius to understand and I am a genius for which I have a very high IQ over 180. So please don’t tell me to get over it when you should get over yourself and go fuck yourself because you suck.

  • Jenn

    Wow. That is some seriously bad advice.

    “If you don’t do anything wrong/if you have nothing to hid, you shouldn’t have a problem being spied upon or surveilled”? Really?

    Who needs civil rights or a Constitution when we can just TRUST our governments to be honest in their use of technology. … Oh, wait …

    • hillian P

      Exactly my thoughts. I’m sure they reserve the right to work with law enforcement in any capacity too. All the info you laid out would come in easy.

  • William Rodriguez

    Dude you are a fucking jerk. Thanks for the info but your obviously a dipshit when it comes to other peoples thoughts and wishes. Poorly raised and young unless an older ass.

  • Braden Dodge

    My concern is not privacy. Its that the messenger app is a stinking pile of garbage. It has been show time and time again that after installing and setting up Messenger, that Android becomes significantly slower and sluggish at times. Plus there are constant crashes and other bugs from both Messenger as well as the base Facebook app. But there is a way around both. Install UC Browser and enable the Facebook shortcut bar. It will alert you to any FB notifications you get, messages included.

    • hillian P

      Not just what you’ve mentioned, but the fact they’ve almost got you over a barrel so to speak. It pisses me off. If someone just reads the reviews there in Google Play, the bugs and freezing of phone, lost chat bubbles, camera opening up randomly, access to all contacts in cell phone regardless if they’re on Facebook, or not. Screw em.

  • Bonbonely

    Why all the bs name calling. Geez I appreciate the info not because I’m worried about my privacy, I used to be a stripper, not too many privacy issues here, but I am an app freak and at any given time I have 6 or 7 different apps for the same purpose just to see which I like better. But I have learned that 90% of the stuff that we use apps for can be done online usually just as easily and without using precious phone space up. And messenger uses a boatload of space so thank you.

  • again i dont want my Mobile Facebook i want mobile Facebook Account in Desktop

  • Martial le Mec

    Quote: “Even if it were true, and Facebook were spying…is your life really that interesting?”

    counter question:
    Was the life of the jewish and gypsies really that interesting around 1938?

  • vike

    Thanks for the quick tip, no thanks to your BS attitude. Messenger is a stinking pile of garbage that eats batteries and consumes processing cycles – maybe that’s because of all the monitoring and spying it’s doing (per your theory of the case) or maybe they just can’t write a decent android app. It’s a terrible app even for regular fb users, but for people that just want to get a message to a fb friend that they don’t have other contact info for from time to time, it’s an unacceptable chunk of overhead, and you are an idiot for picking on people who don’t want to half-break their mid-range phone just to have access to this low-function overly intrusive gobbet of muckware. Fb are a$$holes for trying to force people into using it, you’re just as bad for misleading people as to the app’s serious problems.

  • Susie Lindsey

    well if I didn’t want the messenger app on my phone before this rant, I’m positive I don’t want it now. What a load of crap.

  • Sara Yoada

    Shut the hell up my life is so interesting that you wuold like to know about it aswell but thats not thing, I just don’t want messengers cuz my phone is full as hell

  • Candor.Is.Strength

    Well this helped… tho it was some i knew but just forgot about completely. …thnx for the refresher.

  • Dani McDade

    It’s definitely the size and inconvenience, but by all means, carry on being a toolbag.

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