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Facebook is now actively seeking an option to make its Messenger app the default app for messages on iPhones, reports The Information.

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Emboldened by changes in iOS 14 that allow users to set a default email and browser app of their choice, Facebook believes it now has a more persuasive case to argue for a similar change for messaging apps. Last year, Apple also allowed Siri to send messages through other apps.

"We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone," said Facebook's vice president Stan Chudnovsky, who is in charge of its Messenger app. "Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway."

Chudnovksy revealed that Facebook has repeatedly asked Apple to consider adding an option for users to select a messaging app of their choice.

"For any other developer in the [messaging] space, it isn't really a level playing field" on Apple’s platform, Chudnovsky stated. If Apple mirrored Android's approach, he said, it would "allow us to compete more fairly where iOS is dominant."

When asked why Apple is unwilling to cede the ability to set a different default messaging app, Chudnovsky said his "main guess is that messaging drives hardware sales."

If Apple did consider such a change, it would require additional changes to allow SMS texts to be received via third-party apps, which is not currently possible on iOS, and more invasive alterations for setting up third-party apps with SMS verification codes. The move would require more substantial and invasive changes to the way iOS functions than the ability to change default browser, for example.

Facebook is intending to merge Instagram and Messenger chats, and the platform is increasingly central to Facebook's business.

Facebook appears to be joining other companies such as Epic Games in a willingness to risk provoking Apple for the chance of potential reward. Yesterday, a range of companies, including Epic Games, Spotify, and Tile, have formed a new organization called the "Coalition for App Fairness," in an effort to highlight developer issues with Apple.

"Users deserve freedom of choice and option to decide the music, mail, chat, or any other necessary app that suits them best," said a spokeswoman for the organization, mirroring Facebook's sentiments.

Facebook has recently heavily criticized Apple for restrictions on gaming apps, ad targeting, and in-app purchases. Last month, Facebook warned advertisers that Apple's upcoming anti-tracking tools could cause a more than 50 percent drop in Audience Network publisher revenue due to the removal of personalization from ads within apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also referred to Apple's App Store as monopolistic and harmful to customers. Apple "blocks innovation, blocks competition," and uses the ‌App Store‌ to "charge monopoly rents," he said.

This new development represents yet another front upon which Apple is facing pressure regarding antitrust and monopoly issues.

Article Link: Facebook Lobbying for Option to Make Messenger Default on iOS
 

McKodiak

macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2014
332
1,001
I'm not entirely opposed to this as long as the desire is there from the consumer. Devs shouldn't be able to demand this. Let the consumers ask for it. But the further Apple goes in allowing default apps to be changed, the more important it will be for the App store to remain the gatekeeper to the OS. Security first.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors G3
May 31, 2007
8,115
17,324
Florida, USA
iMessage is more of an extension to text messaging rather than its own "messaging app" and it makes total sense for the text messaging app to be the default app for that on a phone.

Also, unlike E-mail clients and web browsers, you don't generally click on a "messaging link" (like a URL or an E-mail address) to message someone, so there's no real benefit to being the "default" messaging app on a device. I use Telegram, Microsoft Teams and iMessage and none of them feel more "default" than any other.
 

magicMac

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2010
977
407
UK
i don't think their argument stands in the same as as other default apps simply because I am facebook messenger user and I do not see what would be gained by making it the "default" as they put it. I mean one can just switch off iMessage and use the default messages app for SMS/MMS only.

I believe they also have an overwhelming large market in messaging with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp combined so they can't use anticompetitive argument, apple is almost competing for space themselves on their on platform! (I know many who have an iPhone but actually don't bother with iMessage and use WhatsApp instead).

It looks like what they are asking for is similar to what Apple provided to VoIP apps (for which WhatsApp and facebook messenger utilise) where all calls appear in the main phone dialler. This would be palatable in the default messages app but a lot of functionality would be lost. I do miss the days of iChat on mac where you just added plugins for each service, Android sort of does that.
 

connormw

macrumors member
Mar 24, 2018
53
396
New York
Many of the same people saying this is a ridiculous idea/should never be allowed were probably the same that wanted a different default Mail app.

You can not use Facebook. You can think it's a privacy threat to you. All of these are choices. And for some people, they use Facebook Messenger more than SMS/iMessage. That's a choice, too.

I don't know why people are so happy to want their devices to be less customizable, especially as it relates to another company they don't like. Don't use Messenger? Great! But when you want more customizations for your iOS device, just remember that other people want similar things too.

Granted, I'm not arguing that this choice is good - for starters, I don't even know how it'd functionally replace Messages due to the different protocols used. I am however arguing this from a larger perspective - that customizations to the device that don't globally impact users shouldn't be shunned.
 
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