It’s been awhile since Facebook separated out its Message service from the main app. Not everybody is thrilled with the need to use two apps, and the recent move for Messenger to become the default SMS app on smartphones, sometimes against the will of Android users, has led many to consider removing the app altogether. In this feature we’ll show you how to live without the Messenger app and still use the service.

See also: 18 Best Facebook Messenger Tips & Tricks & Facebook Messenger app isn't evil and it's not about to spy on you       

How to send a Facebook message without Facebook messenger: Is it worth the hassle?

In a word, no. Facebook seems utterly determined to force users onto its Messenger app, and its achieving this by making it very difficult to access the service any other way. While you can circumvent the system at the moment, this could be a thing of the past if current rumours are to be believed. In all honesty if you want to use the Facebook Message service then it’s best to use the app. Sad, but true.

For those who object to the clumsy and controlling nature of Messenger then we suggest using another service entirely. There are several available including Google Hangouts, Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp (although this is actually owned by Facebook), Skype, Telegram, Viber, and a surprising amount of others all of which will do the job just as well as Facebook. Best of all, they’re free, so you can try them without risk and get your friends to sign up while you’re at it.

For those who must remain with Facebook Messenger, here’s how you can use the service without the app.

How to send a Facebook message without Facebook messenger: Use the web browser

While it tries very hard not to be helpful, the web version of Facebook is still a possible route for those who want to use the Facebook Messenger service without actually having the app installed. In truth though it’s far from a seamless experience as it does its level best to be disruptive enough to force you onto the app. If you’re determined to use it though you should open a browser on your phone and navigate to the Facebook website.

On the main page you’ll see the standard options across the top for your Timeline, Friends, Conversations, Notifications, and Search. Obviously the one we’re after is Conversations. Tapping this will immediately inform you that Messenger has moved and then open the Google Play Store at the Facebook Messenger page.

Send a Facebook message without Facebook Messenger

It might look like you have to install the app but if you hit the Recent Apps button on Android (the square usually to the right of the Home button) or double click the Home button on iOS you can select your browser window again. In the browser you might find the warning about Messenger moving is still filling the page, but at the top should be an X that you can tap to close this down and return to the Conversations list. Now you can tap on a person or existing conversation to talk to them. 

Send a facebook message without facebook messenger

But wait! Now you’ve been taken back to the Google Play Store page again. Yes, this is the way that Facebook thinks life should be, but by repeating the steps above you can get a message sent, although it’s far longer and more convoluted than it should be. We have heard rumours that Facebook actually intends to shut this loophole in the coming months, so be aware of that possibility, but for the moment this is one of the preffered methods for many people.

How to send a Facebook message without Facebook messenger: Use a PC

Yes, we know. It sounds daft to resort to a full blown PC when all you want to do is check out whether someone fancies seeing the new Star Trek movie tonight, but this is definitely the easiest way to use Messenger without the app. Simply go to the Facebook website, log in, and you can use the Conversations section just like you always could. No app, no annoying redirect, just a simple straightforward messaging service. You know, just like it was until Facebook decided to bugger everything up on mobile.

How to send a Facebook message without Facebook messenger: Use a third party app

To some this might appear something of a cop out. After all if you’re going to use a separate app then why not just say hang it all and install Messenger itself? But for those who don’t want to do that then there are a few third-party apps that can access the Messenger features. On iOS one of the most popular is Friendly, which is a fully fledged Facebook app that had the incredible idea of keeping the messaging section within its digital walls. Android users can try the Friendly beta or find similarly miraculous functionality in Lite Messenger.

send facebook message without facebook messenger app

How to send a Facebook message without Facebook messenger: Don’t use it at all

With so many excellent messaging alternatives available that work cross-platform and without the need to dictate stupid conditions to their users, we suggest at least trying a few of them out. While Facebook may have the weight of numbers, it only does so because we all continue using the service. If it keeps on imposing annoying hoops for us to jump through, maybe we should consider the options out there. It’s a big internet after all.