Facebook Messenger is breaking up with SMS

Facebook Messenger app's splash screen on a mobile device
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Meta has announced that Facebook Messenger will no longer provide SMS support.
  • The change will happen when users update the app after September 28.
  • At that point, the app will redirect users to their phone’s default SMS app.  

 Android users who depend on Facebook Messenger as their SMS app of choice are in for some disappointing news. Meta has announced plans to ditch SMS support for Facebook’s messaging platform next month. 

An official support document from Facebook has confirmed that users “will no longer be able to use Messenger to send and receive SMS messages sent by your cellular network when you update your app after September 28, 2023.” This means that if you currently use Messenger as your SMS app, you’ll have to download a new texting app or use a built-in messaging platform such as Google or Samsung Messages. 

Meanwhile, the company explains that it’s redirecting users to their phone’s default SMS app. To switch your default messaging app, users can head to Settings > Apps > Choose default apps > SMS app.

Android’s operating system is known for allowing users to set a default texting app for sending SMS and MMS messages through their carrier, although in recent years, carriers and OEMs have opted for Google Messages as the default. Many apps, including Facebook, added support for this feature to entice users onto their messaging platforms.

Facebook Messenger first introduced SMS support to users in 2012 and then dropped it in 2013. But then, the company tried again in 2016 with a standalone version for SMS communication. 

In the official support document, the messaging platform explains that users can still access their SMS message history from their phone’s new default messaging app.

It’s unclear at this point why Meta decided to drop Messenger’s SMS support. Curiously though, Signal made a similar move last year when it, too, ditched SMS support for Android users as a means to increase security and prevent high messaging fees for users.

But Messenger is a popular platform, so it stands to reason that a significant amount of users are using its SMS/MMS integration. However, SMS may not be a priority for the company anymore since WhatsApp is the other major messaging service that Meta maintains. 

Either way, since Messenger doesn’t have access to RCS, Meta’s decision is ultimately good news for first-party texting platforms such as Google or Samsung Messages.