How to use the secret chat feature in Messenger

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  • You can have a “secret conversation” in Messenger by starting a new conversation and tapping the icon in the upper right corner.
  • Messenger’s secret conversations are encrypted, which means your messages are incredibly private – not even Facebook can read them.
  • Secret conversations are only available in the Messenger mobile app, not on the website.
  • Visit Insider’s Technical Reference Library for more stories.

In recent years, encrypted messaging apps have become increasingly popular. Signal, Telegram – and now Messenger.

Although run by a company that is not known for its data security, Messenger’s “secret chat” feature is a legitimately safe way to chat with friends and colleagues. Secret conversations are protected with end-to-end encryption, which means that no one outside of the chat can read what’s inside.

It’s similar to Vanish Mode, another Messenger feature that prioritizes secret and secure conversations.

If you care about privacy and want to use Messenger, Secret Conversations should be your go-to tool. Here’s how to start a secret conversation and customize its settings.

How to have a secret conversation in Messenger

Secret conversations are exclusive to the iPhone, iPad and Android Messenger apps. You won’t find them in the desktop app or the Messenger website.

1. Open the Messenger app and tap the compose message icon in the top right corner.

2. A list of all your contacts will appear. Here tap the button in the top right corner – on an iPhone or iPad it will say Secret, while on an Android it will be a switch with a padlock icon.

Screenshots of iPhone and Android messaging apps, showing how to activate a secret conversation.

Activate the secret conversation mode by pressing the button at the top right.

Facebook; William Antonelli / Insider


3. Tap the person you want to have a secret conversation with. It must be a one-on-one chat – you cannot have a secret group chat.

4. You will be brought into a secret conversation with the person you have chosen. Once you send a message, it will appear on their device.

A secret conversation in the iPhone Messenger app.

Your secret conversations are “end-to-end encrypted” which means they are secure at all times.

Facebook; William Antonelli / Insider


If you’re friends on Facebook with the person on the other end of the chat, you can also turn on disappearing messages. These allow you to put a timer on every message sent, so that they delete themselves after a short period of time.

1. At the top of the secret chat, tap the other chat’s name (iPhone or iPad) or the “i” icon (Android) to open the options menu.

2. Faucet Messages that disappear, then choose how long to keep messages.

The Messages menu that disappears in the iPhone Messenger application.

If you turn on disappearing messages, your messages can last up to a day.

Facebook; William Antonelli / Insider


Additionally, you can flag the person you are chatting with, block them, or just delete the chat. To do this, open the options menu again and press Something is wrong, To block, Where Delete chat respectively.

The options menu for a secret conversation in the iPhone Messenger application.  The "To block," "Something is wrong," and "Delete chat" the options are highlighted.

Secret conversations can be flagged, even if message disappearing is turned on.

Facebook; William Antonelli / Insider



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