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5 things you should know about Facebook's redesigned Messenger app

New look, new Messenger in 2019 for Facebook.

Messenger logo is seen on an Android mobile device
KRAKOW, POLAND - 2018/09/01: Messenger logo is seen on an Android mobile device. (Photo by Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SOPA Images

Facebook first announced the redesigned Messenger 4 in October, with the update briefly appearing in early December before quickly vanishing from users' devices. Then Facebook finally released the new Messenger design in January.

There's a lot of white space, fewer icons and buttons. It's kind of confusing to use.

Three tabs


From left to right: Chats, People, Discover tabs.


Less is more, or so Facebook says. Instead of a bunch of tabs along the bottom of the app, there are now three: Chats, People and Discover.

Chats is where you can view contacts' Stories and access recent conversations. The People tab shows you who is active and provides a more prominent preview of their latest Facebook Stories. The Discovery tab is where you can find local businesses to message, play games and interact with other Facebook pages.

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Color gradients


You've been able to customize the color of your Facebook Messenger chats for a while now, but in Messenger 4, there are now gradient color options.

With one of the gradient colors selected, messages you send in a chat will go from the assigned color to a completely different color as you scroll up through the chat.

To change the assigned color of a chat, tap on the person's name or group chat's name at the top of the screen and then select Color on the settings page.

Conversation controls

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Swipe either direction across a conversation when in the Chats tab to access quick actions. For example, a swipe to the left will give you a menu button, a mute button and a delete button. A swipe in the opposite direction provides the option to launch the camera and start a voice or video call.

Chat features have moved

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Prior to the updated interface, buttons to share an animated image or using one of the many apps that integrate into Messenger were readily visible. After the update, the app icons have been moved behind the four-dot icon next to the text field.

Dark mode is coming...


According to Facebook's announcement in October, the company knew the redesign would take some getting used to, so in the future it will add more features, such as a dark mode. When those features are released, we'll update this post.