It’s a surprisingly little-known fact that over a year ago, Facebook split the Messages inbox in two. There’s your inbox, where all your messages from friends pop up, and your ‘Other’ inbox, where people you’re not connected to will appear. This means there’s a whole extra inbox that a lot of people aren’t even aware of, where interesting and potentially important messages go to die.
You can only access your ‘other’ inbox on the web version of Facebook, which is another reason a lot of people never realised it existed, leading to problems like these:
Bloody HELL I hate the facebook ‘other’ inbox. Just found out I had won tickets to the QI screening on campus. Which was 2 weeks ago. Nooooo
— Llama-jun (@UHOHaamina) February 22, 2015
Is there any way to make Facebook “Other” inbox more prominent? Several people had important messages for me that I missed for MONTHS. — Jason Thibeault (@lousycanuck) September 28, 2014
Wow. My Facebook “Other” inbox was FULLLLLL OF STUFF, some of which I wish I’d replied to. CHECK YOUR OTHER INBOX
— Leigh Alexander (@leighalexander) April 17, 2014
Here’s how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.
How to find your Facebook Other inbox on a computer
Open your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome, for instance), go to Facebook.com and open Messages on the left:
On the left of the messages screen, above all your conversation threads, click on the grey ‘Other’ (marked in red):
Hello, long-lost messages!
From here, you can move messages into your main inbox, but sadly you can’t get rid of the Other inbox altogether or stop messages coming to there instead of your main inbox. Sigh, Facebook. Sigh.
You can also reach your Facebook Other inbox directly by clicking here.
How to find your Facebook Other inbox on a phone
Again, you should be able to go straight to your Other inbox on a phone by tapping here, but it’s also good to know how to reach it manually.
First, open your phone’s internet browser, NOT the Facebook app. Usually this will be called ‘Internet’, or it might be Chrome or Safari or something else. Just whatever you’d normally use to get to a website by typing in the address.
Go to Facebook.com. Your phone will automatically take you to the mobile version of Facebook (you might have to log in first):
We don’t want mobile Facebook, though. We want desktop Facebook. So open the Menu (in my version, this is on the right hand side, but it might be on the left). Scroll all the way down to the bottom until you see the words ‘Desktop site’. They’re very well hidden!
Tap on ‘Desktop site’. Suddenly Facebook looks all tiny and terrible. This is what we want.
Scroll up to Messages on the top left (you’ll probably need to zoom in) and then follow the instructions above for ‘finding the Facebook Other inbox on a computer’. Or, again, just tap the direct link.
Joy! Messages! Yes, they’re probably all from strange people trying to chat you up, but at least you know about it now.
What goes into the Facebook Other inbox?
Basically, it’s messages from any person or page that you’re not connected to. If someone you don’t know messages you, it’ll go to Other. If someone you used to be friends messages you, it might go to Other, or it might go to your main inbox. If you reply to someone in your Other inbox, Facebook will move the conversation to your main one.
Why is the Facebook Other inbox annoying?
Because it means that if someone finds your wallet on the street and tries to tell you about it, you won’t see the message. If your long-lost cousin is trying to trace you, you won’t see the message. Or – as actually happened to me – if you try to tell a girl her boyfriend is cheating on her, she won’t see the message. It’s a terrible, terrible system.
Now that you know about the Facebook Other inbox, remember to check yours regularly. Who knows what could be lurking in there?