Facebook Messenger app for macOS is finally native to Apple Silicon, including the M1 and M2 chips. The company took its sweet time, a little under two years, to update its app. Amongst the most popular apps for Mac, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp have been the slowest ones to be updated. WhatsApp’s native Apple Silicon version of the app is currently in beta testing, while the public version of the app is still x86 and requires Rosetta to run.
Native Facebook Messenger app for Apple Silicon
The new native Apple Silicon version of Facebook Messenger is available in the Mac App Store. However, in our experience, installing the app downloaded two copies: one was the Intel version, while another was a universal binary. We are not sure why this happened, but if it happens to you, you can check the Intel version by opening “Get Info” by right-clicking on the Messenger icon in the Applications folder on your Mac and deleting it.
The updated version of Facebook Messenger for Mac also brings in a new bubbles feature that puts your recent contacts in the bottom right corner of your Mac. Clicking on any of these contacts instantly opens a chat window, similar to how it works on the Facebook website. You can also start chats with new contacts from an icon in this UI. The bubbles show only when Messenger is minimized, and can be automatically collapsed.
If you don’t like this feature, it can be disabled from the settings.
As usual, Facebook has made no effort to mention any of these changes in the release notes. Version 158.0 still mentions that Messenger has a new look and more ways to connect with friends, just like the previous 50 or so updates.
Now that Facebook has updated Messenger, all eyes are on the WhatsApp update. We have been using the beta WhatsApp version that is Apple Silicon native, and have been unimpressed by how it looks. The user experience has taken a few steps back, even though the company is making an effort to make it look native on Mac. The current public version of WhatsApp, Apple’s own iMessage, and even the new WhatsApp app on Windows, all look and work much better as messaging apps. We are not sure that Facebook would make any improvements to the WhatsApp beta before release, but it does not have any benefits for users, apart from being native.