Facebook is in the midst of forcing its mobile users to download a second app to chat in real time with their friends. Messenger, a stand-alone texting app, is replacing the Messages tab within Facebook for iPhone and Android users. Users aren’t happy about it — Messenger currently has a 1-star rating in the App Store — but there may be a work-around to avoid the new app, at least for now.
iPhone users will soon see a screen that compels them to download Messenger when they click the Messages tab. There’s no getting around this — you have to at least start downloading Messenger to send private missives to your friends. However, if you pause the download in the App Store, then return to Facebook, the old messaging interface will return. You can even give Messenger a test drive and delete it if you don’t like it. After that, Facebook won’t pester you to download the new app again.
Our tests showed that the test only worked with iPhones (sorry, Android owners). And since the shift to Messenger is part of Facebook’s broader strategy to both dominate the messaging space and unbundle the company’s different offerings into discrete apps, it’s likely it'll close this loophole sooner rather than later.
But for now, you can show off your rebellious side by refusing to download a small social app — and you’ll save 35 megabytes of space to boot.