Facebook and Messenger: how to open links in external browser

Facebook and Messenger: how to open links in external browser
For a while now, both the Facebook and Messenger app have been opening links in their own, internal browser — a simple webview window, which doesn't support multiple tabs and is there to allow you to quickly interact with something on the web, and even allow said item to communicate back to your Facebook app instantly.

Needless to say, many users out there would prefer it if their links simply open in a default app of choice — if it's a YouTube link, just have it open the video in the YouTube app; if it's a web link, just launch it in Chrome or Safari.

The good news is that you can very easily do that on both iPhone and Android. In fact, the Android version of the app even allows you to open links in your default browser automatically. While, on iOS, you need to do it manually every time. Oh well, c'est la vie. Here's how to do it:

iPhone guide: open Facebook links in external browser

Tapping any link will open it up in the Facebook or Messenger webview window, sorry, that's unavoidable. But there are a couple of ways to quickly switch away from it.

The surefire method is to open up the link, then tap on the triple-dot menu either at the top right (Facebook) or bottom right (Messenger) and choose "Open in Safari".

There are also a couple ways to do it faster, but there's a couple of prerequisites. In Messenger, you need to be lucky enough to be able to see the link you've been sent (sometimes, Messenger converts links into preview banners and deletes them from the text message for a cleaner appearance). For the Facebook app, you will need an iPhone with 3D Touch (meaning, older than iPhone 11). Here's the shortcut guide for both:

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When you are looking at a YouTube video through the webview, you can — again — go to the triple-dot menu and press "Open in Safari". The iPhone will actually open it in the YouTube app.

Android guide: how to disable the Facebook internal web browser

As we mentioned, Android users can completely do away with the Facebook or Messenger webview window. Here's how to do this:

Facebook app

Tap on the triple-line (sandwich) menu, scroll down to Settings & Privacy, and choose Settings. Again, scroll all the way down to Media & Contacts. Here, you will see a "Links open externally" toggle. This needs to be on.

Messenger app

Inside Messenger, tap on your profile picture in the top left. Scroll down to Photos & Media and enter that sub-menu. The toggle for "Open Links in Default Browser" should be set to on.

And there you go — Android users get the quick and easy solution to this issue. We are unsure why iOS people were punished here, but hey — Facebook does Facebook things.

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