Messenger can’t open attachment or link? Here’s what to do

There are multiple reasons why an attachment can’t be opened in a variety of messaging apps, including Messenger. Namely, the majority of files one would send as attachments require other apps and services. An obvious example is the PDF file format that can’t be accessed with Messenger and you need to open it externally.

However, users that have a hard time with this are probably aware of that. The nature of the problem is quite different as it seems. They receive the “…sent a link” or “…sent an attachment” message instead of actual attachments and links. So it’s not about opening received files but actually getting them in the first place. If you’re among affected users, check the steps we provided below.

Table of contents:

  1. Clear data and cache from Messenger
  2. Check Background data usage
  3. Grant all permissions to Messenger
  4. Reinstall Facebook Messenger

Why can’t I open an attachment in Messenger?

You might not be able to open attachments in Messenger because:

  • You have connection issues.
  • Messenger is unable to open that file extension.
  • Background data usage is not allowed so Messenger stops loading incoming link previews and attachments while using mobile data.
  • The local data is corrupt so the app misbehaves.

1. Clear data and cache from Messenger

The first thing to do is clear cache and data from Facebook Messenger. That will reset the app so you’ll need to sign in again but, hopefully, the problem won’t reappear later.

Here’s how to clear data and cache from Facebook Messenger:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Select Messenger from the list of available apps.
  4. Tap Storage.
  5. Clear cache and check for improvements.
  6. If that doesn’t help, clear data and restart your device.
  7. Sign in to Facebook Messenger.

2. Check Background data usage

This one is the most recommended solution we found online. It seems that enabling system-wide Data Saver will result in issues with larger files received in Facebook Messenger. In addition to that, if Messenger doesn’t have permission to use data in the background, the result might be the same. So, you can either disable Data Saver or change app settings for Facebook Messenger. This, obviously, applies if you use Mobile data to chat on Messenger.

Here’s how to tweak Background data usage permission for Facebook Messenger on Android:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Select Messenger.
  4. Tap Mobile data and Allow background usage. You can also allow background usage with the Data Saver enabled on some Android devices.
  5. Now, open Battery optimization and disable optimization for Facebook Messenger.messenger can't open attachment

This should fix the problem but, if you still get incomplete attachments and links without previews, you can check more permission settings.

3. Grant all permissions to Messenger

Some suggest granting all permissions to Messenger fixed the problem, although we can’t replicate the problem and thus can’t say whether this is true or not. You can give it a try and revoke some permissions later, in case you don’t want Facebook Messenger to access your Location or Contacts.

Here’s how to grant all permissions to Facebook Messenger:

  1. Once again, open Settings > Apps > All apps > Messenger.
  2. In the App Info screen, tap Permissions.
  3. Grant all listed permissions to Facebook Messenger and test for improvements.messenger can't open attachment

4. Reinstall Facebook Messenger

Finally, the only remaining troubleshooting step that comes to mind is to reinstall Facebook Messenger. Just don’t forget to inspect the aforementioned settings concerning background data usage after you install the app and sign in again.

To reinstall Facebook Messenger, navigate to Play Store and search for it. Tap Uninstall, restart your device and get back to Play Store again. Install Facebook Messenger and check if the issue persists.

If Messenger still can’t open an attachment or a link on your Android, report the problem to Facebook in the app’s Help Center. Hopefully, it’s just a temporary bug that will be sorted out with the next update.

Thank you for reading and don’t forget to tell us if this article helped you or not. You can share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below. Or reach us on Twitter and Facebook.

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