New Facebook Messenger app is a great alternative to Zoom for Windows and Mac

Facebook Messenger
(Image credit: Facebook)

Facebook Messenger has been around for nearly a decade, but it's only just become available as both a desktop app for both Windows and mac OS.

The release comes at a very fitting time, with more and more people currently working from home and relying on video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Skype.

You may well have already seen a Facebook Messenger app for Windows – you may even have it installed already – and you might well be confused (we were!), but this is a new unified app for Microsoft and Apple desktop platforms and it has a batch of new features. And there is, of course, a dark mode option.

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Facebook says that over the past month it has noted as 100% increase in audio and video calling from desktop web browsers. While using Messenger on the Facebook website is fine, a dedicated desktop app makes things a whole lot easier; it's much easier to switch between apps and websites while you are chatting, for instance.

There is, of course, the great benefit of being able to chat on a larger screen – which is important if you're conducting a video chat with several people. Chats are synchronized between your computer and your mobile, and you can managed notifications so you are alerted to as much or as little as you want. The desktop app works in very much the same way as the mobile versions, and includes dark mode, support for GIFs, audio clip recording, and more.

Get connected

While Facebook Messenger offers something of an alternative to the likes of Zoom, it's not going to be suitable for everyone. There are no time limits on video calls unlike the free version of Zoom, but the limit of eight participants will mean the app is not going to be suitable for many businesses to use for conference calls.

For get-togethers with friends and family, however, it's perfect.

You can download Facebook Messenger for macOS from the Mac App Store, and for Windows from the Microsoft Store.

Sofia Elizabella Wyciślik-Wilson
Freelance writer

Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.

Having written for websites and magazines since 2000, producing a wide range of reviews, guides, tutorials, brochures, newsletters and more, she continues to write for diverse audiences, from computing newbies to advanced users and business clients. Always willing to try something new, she loves sharing new discoveries with others.

Sofia lives and breathes Windows, Android, iOS, macOS and just about anything with a power button, but her particular areas of interest include security, tweaking and privacy. Her other loves include walking, music, her two Malamutes and, of course, her wife and daughter.

You can find her on Twitter and Mastodon.