Messenger Not Working? Here’s The Fix

default image

Have you ever found yourself frustrated when Facebook Messenger suddenly stops working on your phone? I‘ve been there too. As a longtime Messenger user and social media expert, I regularly rely on Messenger to stay in touch with friends and family across the globe. But even the most robust apps can unexpectedly crash or freeze up.

Not to worry – in this comprehensive troubleshooting guide, I‘ll walk you through the top reasons Messenger can fail and show you how to get it working again in no time. I‘ll provide plenty of insider tips and detailed step-by-step instructions to solve any Messenger problems you may encounter on either Android or iOS.

By the end, you‘ll have the confidence to quickly troubleshoot and repair Messenger whenever it‘s acting up. Let‘s get started bringing one of the world‘s most popular messaging apps back to life on your smartphone!

Why Does Messenger Stop Working?

Before we fix the issue, it helps to understand the most common culprits behind Messenger misbehaving:

Outdated App – If you don‘t keep Messenger updated, you miss out on the latest bug fixes and features. Using an outdated version can lead to freezing, crashing, and message failures.

Connection Problems – Messenger relies on access to Facebook‘s servers to operate. Without an internet connection, the app can‘t send or receive your messages.

Storage Limitations – Messenger needs sufficient storage space for its temporary data and caches. A full memory can severely impact performance.

Background App Refresh – On iPhone, limiting background refresh can block Messenger from loading new messages unless the app is open.

OS Compatibility – Updates to iOS or Android sometimes introduce bugs that break Messenger features, requiring an app update.

Corrupted App Data – Over time, damaged Messenger files may accumulate, leading to crashes and glitches. Clearing this data can help.

Facebook Outages – Since Messenger relies on Facebook‘s infrastructure, any widespread outages can knock the messaging functions offline.

Now that we‘ve covered the usual suspects, let‘s drill down on proven techniques to revive Messenger when it‘s misbehaving. I‘ll provide separate troubleshooting guidance for iOS and Android users below.

Step-By-Step Guide to Fixing Messenger on iPhone and iPad

Has Messenger been freezing, crashing, or failing to send or load messages on your iPhone or iPad? Don‘t panic – we‘ll walk through some effective troubleshooting steps:

1. Update Messenger to the Latest Version

Using an outdated app version is one of the top reasons Messenger can start glitching out. Developers are constantly releasing updates to fix bugs, patch security flaws, and add handy new features.

To ensure you‘re running the most recent stable Messenger release on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Open the App Store from your home screen
  • Tap your profile icon in the top-right corner
  • Scroll down and pull-to-refresh the list of updates
  • If an Messenger update is available, tap the "Update" button

I recommend enabling automatic updates for all apps in your App Store settings. This allows updates to download and install quietly in the background without any effort on your part.

Staying current with the latest Messenger updates is by far the easiest way to prevent annoying technical issues from popping up in the first place.

2. Force Close and Restart the App

Sometimes Messenger just needs a quick reboot to sort itself out. The app can pick up minor glitches or get "stuck" after prolonged use.

Give Messenger a fresh start by force closing it completely, then relaunching:

  • Double-press the Home button to open the multitasking view
  • Swipe up on the Messenger preview window to fully close it
  • Open Messenger again from your home screen icon

Hopefully this quick reset clears up any temporary gremlins. If not, we‘ll move on to some deeper troubleshooting next.

3. Verify Your Internet Connection

Messenger relies on an internet connection to convey messages between your phone and Facebook‘s servers. Without access to cellular data or Wi-Fi, the app will fail to send or receive your chats properly.

To make sure a faulty connection isn‘t to blame:

  • Try loading any website in Safari to confirm you have general internet access
  • Open Control Center and check that Wi-Fi is enabled, or cellular data shows a strong LTE/4G connection
  • Restart your phone to refresh the network – this often resolves temporary hiccups
  • Move closer to your Wi-Fi router if the signal is weak in your location
  • Turn off Low Data Mode on iPhone which can block background refreshes

Once you‘ve confirmed your connection is solid, open Messenger again to see if your issues are resolved.

4. Reinstall Messenger from Scratch

If Force Quitting and checking connections doesn‘t get Messenger back on track, a more powerful solution is to completely uninstall and reinstall the app from the App Store.

Reinstalling gives you a 100% fresh start, wiping away any corrupt data or outdated configurations that may be plaguing the current install.

Follow these steps to cleanly reinstall Messenger on your iPhone or iPad:

  • Hold your finger down on the Messenger icon until it starts jiggling
  • Tap the X icon to delete it
  • Open the App Store and search for "Messenger"
  • Tap Get to freshly download the latest Messenger version

Once installed, sign into Messenger using your Facebook credentials. Your prior conversations and messages will automatically sync from the cloud after logging in.

5. Free Up Storage Space

Is your iPhone‘s or iPad‘s storage nearly full? Having insufficient free space can bog Messenger down, making the app unresponsive or prone to freezing and crashing.

To clear storage and give Messenger some breathing room:

  • Open Settings > General > [Device Name] Storage
  • Review the recommendations for freeing up space
  • Offload unused apps you haven‘t opened in a while
  • Delete old photos and videos – especially space-hogging 4K videos
  • Tap through the list of apps and wipe any cached data

Aim for at least 500MB or ideally 1GB+ of free space for smooth Messenger performance. The app depends on available local storage to cache message data and run efficiently.

6. Update Your iOS Software

While not always the culprit, having an outdated iOS version can introduce general bugs and compatibility issues affecting third-party apps like Messenger.

Apple is constantly refining iOS with monthly updates that polish performance, squash bugs, and improve security. Staying current ensures maximum compatibility with the latest app releases.

Updating is easy:

  • Open Settings > General > Software Update
  • Install any available iOS updates that appear

Once your iPhone or iPad is updated to the newest iOS, give Messenger another try.

7. Reset Network Settings

As a last resort, resetting your iPhone‘s network settings may resolve any glitchy connectivity problems hindering Messenger.

Note: Back up important info first, as this will wipe any saved Wi-Fi passwords, VPN connections, and other network settings.

To reset:

  • Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
  • You‘ll be prompted to confirm – tap Reset Network Settings again
  • Your device will apply the reset then reboot

Hopefully with your network freshly configured, Messenger should be able to reliably access Facebook‘s servers. Re-enter any Wi-Fi passwords and you should be good to go.

Following this comprehensive troubleshooting guide for iOS should solve the majority of common Messenger issues. But if problems continue to persist, contact Facebook support for personalized assistance getting Messenger working smoothly again.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Troubleshooting Messenger for Android

Now let‘s explore proven techniques for troubleshooting Messenger problems on Android phones and tablets.

If the app is freezing, crashing on launch, or unable to send messages, try these top solutions:

1. Update to the Latest Messenger Version

As with iOS, using an outdated Messenger version is a leading cause of frustration on Android. Bugs and glitches that are long fixed in newer versions will continue plaguing your older install.

Updating is fast and easy:

  • Open the Google Play Store app
  • Tap your profile icon in the top-right
  • Select Manage Apps & Device > Updates
  • Check for any available Messenger update, and tap Update

I highly recommend enabling auto-updates in the Play Store‘s settings. This lets your apps update quietly in the background so you always have the latest bug and security fixes.

Regularly updating Messenger can help avoid many technical headaches down the line.

2. Force Stop the App

Sometimes Messenger just needs a quick reboot to sort itself out, especially after long uptimes or heavy usage.

Force stopping the app completely shuts it down, allowing you to restart it fresh:

  • Open Settings > Apps & Notifications > Messenger
  • Tap Force stop
  • Launch Messenger again from your home screen

Hopefully this restart clears up any temporary glitches. If not, we‘ll dig deeper.

3. Check Your Internet Connectivity

Without an internet connection, Messenger can‘t contact Facebook‘s servers to send or receive your messages.

To rule out a connection issue:

  • Make sure Wi-Fi is actually connected to your router
  • Try manually cycling Airplane mode on and off to re-establish connectivity
  • Ensure mobile data is enabled by opening Quick Settings and checking for the LTE/4G icon
  • Try loading a website like to confirm you have general internet access
  • Move closer to your Wi-Fi router if the signal seems weak
  • Restart your Android device to refresh the network connections

Once you‘ve confirmed your Wi-Fi or mobile data is working, open Messenger again to see if it‘s back up and running.

4. Wipe Cache and Data

Over time, corrupted or outdated cached data can accumulate and destabilize apps like Messenger. Clearing this data forces Messenger to start fresh.

To wipe Messenger‘s local data:

  • Go to Settings > Apps & Notifications > Messenger > Storage
  • Tap Clear Cache followed by Clear Storage buttons
  • Restart Messenger – your conversations will sync again from the cloud

This erases any damaged files that may be crashing the app. Like a hard reset for your software.

5. Uninstall App Updates

If Messenger worked fine until a recent update, rolling back to the previous version can resolve update-related issues.

To revert to a working earlier version:

  • Open Settings > Apps & Notifications > Messenger
  • Tap the three-dot menu icon in the corner
  • Choose Uninstall Updates

This will revert Messenger to the original pre-installed version that came with your particular Android OS.

6. Check for Widespread Facebook Outages

Since Messenger relies entirely on Facebook‘s infrastructure, any outages and downtime at Facebook‘s server level can knock out Messenger globally.

Before you spend time troubleshooting your device, check Downdetector or IsItDownRightNow to confirm there are no active outages currently impacting Facebook‘s services.

If Facebook itself is experiencing downtime, try waiting a bit and retry Messenger later once connectivity is restored on Facebook‘s end.

7. Restart Your Android Device

If all else fails, a simple device restart can work wonders. Rebooting your phone or tablet flushes out bad memory states, refreshes network connections, and clears up misbehaving apps.

To restart an unresponsive Android:

  • Hold down the Power button until the Power off slider appears
  • Drag the slider to turn off your device
  • Wait 30 seconds, then press Power again to restart your phone or tablet

Give apps like Messenger another shot once your device finishes rebooting.

8. Update Your Android OS

While not as common, bugs introduced in outdated OS versions can sometimes break app functionality.

Updating to the newest Android software ensures compatibility with the latest Messenger releases:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap System > System Update
  • Download and install any available Android OS updates

Keep your system updated for maximum stability across all your apps.

In most cases, following this Android troubleshooting guide should successfully revive a glitchy Messenger app. But if you continue experiencing issues, reach out to Facebook‘s Messenger support for individualized troubleshooting advice.

How to Avoid Messenger Problems in the First Place

They say prevention is the best medicine. Let‘s quickly cover some best practices to avoid Messenger mishaps before they happen:

  • Update Messenger Early – Don‘t delay app updates. Update as soon as notified to get the latest bug and performance enhancements.

  • Close Unused Background Apps – Too many apps running simultaneously can destabilize Messenger. Use your device‘s task manager to close apps you‘re not actively using.

  • Limit Background Data – Disable background data for Messenger if you don‘t need instant notifications. This prevents needless refreshes from bogging down your phone.

  • Free Up Storage Space – Routinely remove unneeded photos, videos, and app caches to keep at least 500MB free for optimal Messenger performance.

  • Restart Your Phone Weekly – Make restarting a weekly habit. This prevents gradual memory glitches from accumulating over time.

  • Verify Connections – Double check Wi-Fi and mobile data connections before assuming message failures are app issues.

Follow these tips and you‘ll avoid most common pitfalls that can bring Messenger down. Share them with friends who may be experiencing Messenger problems of their own down the road.

When Should You Contact Facebook Support?

After exhausting all troubleshooting steps in this guide, contact Facebook support if Messenger remains unusable.

Facebook‘s support team has additional tools to diagnose problems specific to your account, and can provide personalized fixes tailored to your issue:

  • Open Messenger and tap your profile icon
  • Scroll down and tap Help & Support
  • Choose Contact Us and select the issue you‘re encountering
  • Elect to either message support or have them call you directly

Have details ready on when the problem started, what troubleshooting you‘ve already tried, and exactly how Messenger is malfunctioning. With this info, their specialists can quickly zone in on what‘s failing and restore full messaging functionality.

Messenger Stopped Working? Now You Can Fix It

Hopefully this detailed troubleshooting guide gives you confidence to tackle any Messenger problems head-on. While even the most robust apps hiccup occasionally, you now have proven techniques to quickly triage and restore normal messaging operations.

The next time your friends complain "My Messenger stopped working!" feel free to pass along these handy fixes. You now have the tools and knowledge to keep one of the world‘s most popular chat apps running smoothly day in and day out.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.