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You may consider yourself an avid Facebook user with close to a decade of social media experience under your belt. But the platform has evolved quite a bit over the years thanks to thousands upon thousands of man-hours spent by engineers hell-bent on improving it and making it your go-to destination. It’s now home to a host of nifty and helpful features that even self-styled Facebook pros might not be aware of.
To get you started down a path toward smarter and more enjoyable social networking, we’ve compiled a short list of useful Facebook app features you ought to know.
5. Turn Off Autoplay for Facebook Videos
The average News Feed is home to a dizzying array of videos. It’s become much more dynamic since the spread of live-streaming and video content, and even more so because Facebook has decided to autoplay videos as you scroll by default.
However, if you browse Facebook on your smartphone, as many of us are inclined to do, the constant video activity can take a toll on your monthly data allotment. To play only the videos you want to watch on your smartphone, open your Facebook app and adjust your settings as follows:
- Tap Settings.
- Account Settings.
- Videos and Photos.
- From there, you can choose to only play videos when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi, or to never autoplay them at all.
4. Block Birthday Notifications
Facebook has evolved into many things, including a social calendar and the best way to stay on top of your friends’ birthdays. Given that the average user has hundreds of Facebook friends, however, the daily barrage of birthday reminders can get to be a bit much, especially if they comprise the bulk of your notifications.
To switch off birthday alerts, open your Facebook app and go to:
- Uncheck the box next to ‘Get Notifications’ and do away with the pesky reminders entirely.
3. Log Off Facebook Remotely
Sometimes we log into Facebook on a friend’s computer or smartphone and realize that we forgot to log off afterward, filling us with dread. To help us avoid unnecessary pranks and stress, Facebook allows users to see where they’re logged in and end any sessions remotely.
To use this feature, simply open the Facebook app and go to:
- Tap ‘Where You’re Logged In To’ find a list of your active Facebook sessions and end the ones you want to.
2. Mute Facebook’s Autoplaying Video Feature
Facebook recently decided to start automatically playing the sound to accompany the autoplaying videos, in a bid to become even more of a video content hub.
If you don’t like the idea of being greeted by a cacophony of noise as you scroll through your News Feed, you can mute the videos on your mobile app by doing the following (desktop users will have to mute their computers or turn off autoplay entirely). Note: This function is not yet available to all users.
Fire up your Facebook iOS app and:
- Tap Settings.
- Account Settings.
- Disable ‘Videos in News Feed Start With Sound’.
1. Access Your Secret Message Inbox on the Facebook Messenger App
You might be surprised to learn that there’s a second, lesser-known inbox of messages on the Facebook Messenger app. Facebook filters out all the messages sent to you by strangers or people who aren’t in your friend group. Instead of entering your regular inbox, they are sent to a secondary one, which is sort of analogous to the spam inbox on your email account.
To browse the unread messages that you’ve accumulated over the years, open your Facebook Messenger app, and:
- Tap the People tab.
- Message Requests.
- Tap the Show All option under the Filtered Requests heading. You might be surprised at what you’ve missed.