Facebook's new Messenger app now lets you sign up with only a phone number, sidestepping the need for a full Facebook account. The docs are a bit sparse for those who want to be informed before signing up, so...

If I sign up for a messenger-only account with a phone number:

  1. How am I discoverable by users with full Facebook accounts? (I.e. will they need my phone number to find me, or can they look me up by name in the global graph search and see my picture?)
  2. And how can I discover other contacts on the Messenger app to start chatting with them? (I.e. will the contact search bar search only contacts whose phone numbers I know, or will it search the global Facebook graph too - including Facebook users without phone numbers?)

This seems an obvious enough thing to be in the messenger.com docs, but astonishingly this does not yet seem to be there

  • You have several distinct questions here. Things work best if you limit yourself to one question per question post.
    – ale
    Jul 24, 2015 at 17:56
  • Okay, will see about refactoring the question (although I was wondering if I really wanted to post three discrete questions at once about a similar topic) Jul 24, 2015 at 20:51

2 Answers 2


After giving it a go myself, I'm doing an 'answer my own question' for the benefit of anyone else wondering the same.

1. Other people finding you

Still working this out. Will update the answer as I go.

2. You finding other people

  • Add phone number method: The primary mechanism to add a new contact is to enter the phone number associated with a full Facebook user's account.
  • Graph search method: as a phone-number-only user I can search by name for people whose numbers I don't have yet. Other extended attributes such as stated home town can be used to search for full Facebook users - "Joe Bloggs Someplace" seems to filter the suggestions more than "Joe Bloggs" does, but not always reliably.

Side note: Continuous phone book sync would (I presume) automatically do the lookup for people I already have numbers for, but I didn't enable it.

Source: Messenger for iOS (UK)


I download Messenger from Google Play and it's an app by Facebook so presumably we're talking about the same app. (White lightning bolt on blue background)

There is NO way for anyone to change or delete their phone number once it's registered. Fyi, I registered using my phone number because the ONLY other option was using a Facebook account, which I do not have. So I hope this helps everyone out there who did not have a Facebook account and registered trying their phone numbers. If anyone does not want their phone numbers to be seen, you should not even install Messenger. It doesn't matter if there are hundreds of articles out there that says you can set your privacy settings, you can change your number or that you can hide your phone number after registration. No options exist. The articles are outdated or they have simply been copied from other sources without being verified. 8 October 2018 Messenger Version image description hereenter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

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