Facebook Messenger Location

Keeping your location a secret in Facebook Messenger is easy to do, but you still have to do it

We've explained how Facebook Messenger isn't anywhere near as evil as a recent spate of ill-informed stories would have you believe, but that doesn't mean there aren't features you can't take control of.

And one of the things we've been asked most is "How do I keep Facebook Messenger from sharing my location?"

It's pretty easy, actually, requiring no hacking at all. Here's how to handle it.

Facebook Messenger locationsBy default, Facebook Messenger includes your location in new messages. You can see where you are. (Of course, you should probably already know where you are, since you are there. You're in the now.) And you can see where your friend is. And if you zoom in, you can really see where your friend is. Understandably, you might not want that to happen. And while perhaps it might be better if Facebook Messenger's location service was opt-in instead of opt-out, at least it does give you a warning when you start a new conversation with someone.

There are a couple options for turning off location in Facebook Messenger.

Turn off location sharing altogether

Facebook Messenger location settings

To turn off location sharing in Facebook Messenger wholesale, all you need to do is go into the Facebook Messenger settings — hit the little gear image — and uncheck the box under "Location." (Note how it mentions that "new messages include your location by default when it's turned on.") Once you do that, location won't be shared by default when you start a new conversation with someone.

Control location sharing per conversation

Facebook Messenger conversation location settings

If you've turned off location sharing in the settings and would still like to share where you are, you can choose to do so from within the conversation itself: Just start typing and look for the bullseye image on the right-hand side. Tap it, and you'll share your location in that conversation. Tap it again to turn it back off. (By the same token, you can leave location sharing on all the time and choose to disable it in specific conversations.)

Our recommendation: Turn off location sharing by default and enable it per conversation. (And that's something Facebook should do in an update, but we doubt it'll happen.) That'll keep you from broadcasting your location unless you really mean to.


Reader comments

How to keep Facebook Messenger from sharing your location


Good to know, wasn't aware it was default on.

Now if you could still message without this messenger app, I'd be a happy camper. XDA where are you!

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Nope, refuse to install the messenger app. I already kill Facebook with greenify, and only open the Facebook app when someone tells me about some pictures they posted.

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Have Facebook stopped supporting XMPP (the open messaging protocol)?

You should be able to connect to Facebook chat with any messaging app that supports XMPP, although it may be worth noting that Facebook merely provides an XMPP interface for clients to connect to and doesn't use the protocol natively, as such it may not work as well as the official app.

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One big feature they purposely left out... The ability to sign out. You can log out of Facebook but you'll still be logged into messenger. A workaround is to go to application manager and clear cache. Sorry situation to have to go this route to shutdown a piece of software.

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I don't get why people refuse to install it, can you explain? It's a solid app

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That's a reason? Using that logic, you already have a browser on your phone, why have Facebook installed?

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Not really, you don't lose functionality by refusing to sign in to or install the Facebook app... Its not forced on us to have functionality that was removed with the sole purpose of forcing another app on us

I already have embedded msg apps I don't use on my devices (Hangouts, I'm looking at you), so why would I consider yet another one - especially, as balthuzar points out above, it was a feature of an app I already had and has now been calved off?

I just barely tolerate Facebook now - this sort of nonsense only encourages nails in coffins.

The previous article about why the app requires the permissions sounds great, because it explains the features that require them. The problem it's once you give them access to the new, less clearly defined permissions, Facebook can use those permissions to do whatever they want with your data and contacts. It's almost as bad as giving a stranger the password to your phone so they can make a phone call and hoping they don't do anything else with it when you aren't looking.

I don't need a company like Facebook that I do not trust to have that level of access to my phone.

These articles are great. I just wish they went as viral as the "Facebook Messenger app is EVIL!" articles. To many friends on facebook are posting about how the app will take over your phone, despite my efforts to share your articles about how that's not the case.

but facebook is the devil! they're going to steal all your informations!!!!!11111!!!1!

i love how people cry bloody murder and then do nothing about it. like if people hate facebook so much, maybe delete your account and move on.

are people really this dense? it's a huge icon that looks like a location icon and it freaking TELLS you how to do it the first time you run the app

i feel like a lot of people need to go back to feature/dumb phones because all this technology is clearly too complex for them.


Hi Phil, one clarification that doesn't come across in the article. In my Messenger at least, if I change the default to not sharing location and enable it in a conversation it changes the default back to sharing. So you need to disable again at the end of the conversation.