Facebook can be quite controlling about what you can and can’t do with it. It won’t let you save Messenger chats to your computer. It frowns on third-party apps. And there are other unnecessary restrictions. But with the right tools, you can do whatever you want.
This isn’t about how Facebook constantly tracks you or other such issues. It’s about using the social network or its other apps on a daily basis and dealing with its annoying restrictions.
1. Chat Saver (Chrome, Firefox): Save Messenger Chats to Your Computer
In the past, instant messaging apps like Google Talk or MSN Messenger would save all chats to your hard drive. That’s no longer an option in modern messenger apps. Reclaim your privacy with Chat Saver, a simple extension to save or download your chats to your computer.
The extension works on Firefox and Chrome, but you might need to install the Chrome extension manually. Once it’s set up according to the instructions in the above video, you can download your chat history with any friend.
Some chats might be too big to download properly. Others might not save pictures. Remember, this is a third-party app that Facebook doesn’t actually allow. But you’ll find solutions to the errors on the Chat Saver FAQ. The only things it can’t download are off-the-record chats on Messenger.
2. Caprine (Windows, Linux, Mac): A Better Messenger for Desktop
Speaking of Messenger, Facebook doesn’t have any official client for it on Windows, Mac, or Linux. The best you can get is a web-based app, which gets the job done. If you want a standalone app, look no further than Caprine.
We have tested plenty of Messenger apps for desktop and mobile, and Caprine holds its own against them. It’s as full-featured as an app can get, and includes a few tricks too. For example, you get built-in features to block others from viewing your “last seen” or “typing” statuses.
There’s also a neat-looking Dark Mode, as well as support for notifications, stickers, and emojis. With its privacy features enabled, this is perhaps the best app for those who want to use Messenger without Facebook.
Download: Caprine for Windows, Mac, Linux (Free)
3. Facebook Backup (Chrome): Download Photos and Videos Easily
Boy, it’s almost like Facebook purposely tries to make things difficult for its users. Have you ever tried downloading photos or videos from a Facebook Group or event? It’s hell. Thankfully, the Facebook Backup extension exists to make our lives easier.
Install the extension on Chrome and go to a Group or a page. Click the extension’s logo to see options to backup photos or videos. Choose the action, and which images you’d like. There are only file names displayed, so it might be easier to download them all and then sort through them later. Facebook Backup will also remember how many photos you have backed up, so you don’t keep redownloading the same ones.
The app is so quick and simple that it’s frustrating Facebook doesn’t allow this already. If you want previews of what you are saving, you might want to check out some other ways to download photos and videos from Facebook.
Download: Facebook Backup for Chrome (Free)
4. Friendly (Android, iOS): The All-in-One Facebook App
Facebook has split its social networking app and the Messenger app into two on mobile. You can’t even access Messenger through a browser on phones, you need the app. If you preferred the old “all in one” Facebook app, get Friendly.
This customizable, simple app has the old-school Facebook look and combines both the News Feed and Messenger again. It is also light on storage, data, and battery, much like Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite.
Friendly also adds several options that Facebook doesn’t have. For example, you can filter the news feed by keywords, and organize it to always show the most recent posts first, disabling the algorithmic feed. It’s a much better way to control your news feed.
5. YT2FB (Web): Share YouTube Videos Like Native Facebook Videos
Facebook is at war with YouTube to become the biggest video platform. In that battle, it has become a bit petty. When you share a YouTube video on Facebook, the news feed shows it tinier, won’t auto-play it, and often requires your friends to open it in a new tab. YT2FB is a better way to share such videos.
The app turns a YouTube link into a proper Facebook video you can embed. Don’t worry, each view on Facebook also counts as a view in YouTube, so the original uploader is not losing out on YouTube views. The app’s developers answered several similar questions on their Product Hunt page.
What Annoys You About Facebook?
Even if you can’t live without it, admit it, Facebook has some annoying things. From unwanted notifications to privacy violations, the social network does a bad job sometimes.
What annoys you about Facebook? How is it stifling your freedoms, or restricting simple things you expect it should let you do?