We exchange so many text messages and media files these days that one can spend hours looking for something that was talked about mere weeks ago. Luckily, most instant messaging apps offer an option to search through conversations with keywords. Facebook Messenger covers this with the Search in conversation feature but it seems that the feature is missing or not working for some users. If Search in conversation is not working on Messenger or you can’t find it all, check the instructions we provided below.
Table of contents:
- Force close Messenger and restart your device
- Clear cache from Facebook Messenger
- Reinstall Facebook Messenger or sideload an older version
- On the desktop, use the desktop app instead of Messenger in the browser
Why can’t I search old messages on Facebook Messenger
If Facebook Messenger Search in Conversation is not working, make sure that Facebook services are not down. You can do that on DownDetector. If that doesn’t help, restart your Android, clear the cache from Facebook Messenger, or reinstall the app.
For PC users that prefer to access Facebook on the web, we have sad news. For more than 2 years, search in conversation is only available for the Messenger desktop app.
1. Force close Messenger and restart your device
The first thing you should do is force close the app and try again. If you still can’t see the Search in conversation option in Messenger, restart your Android and give it another go.
If those steps didn’t work for you, try clearing the local data from Facebook Messenger and try again.
2. Clear cache from Facebook Messenger
The next thing you can try is clearing the local data from Facebook Messenger. Unlike the Facebook app, Messenger doesn’t pile up a lot of data and the fact that all your conversations and exchanged media files are stored on servers definitely helps. Regardless, this data can cause problems with the app performance and it’s definitely recommended to clear the app data from time to time.
Here’s how to clear data from Facebook Messenger:
- Open Settings.
- Tap Apps.
- Select Messenger.
- Tap Storage.
- Clear all data.
- Open Messenger and sign in.
3. Reinstall Facebook Messenger or sideload an older version
Facebook allegedly made some server-side updates that removed the Search in conversation feature for some time but that didn’t last long. After reinstalling the app, most users got back the option to search in Messenger chats. So, the next step we can recommend is reinstalling Facebook Messenger. The usual way to go about it is through the Play Store.
Here’s how to reinstall Facebook Messenger on Android:
- Open Play Store.
- Search for Messenger and expand the app.
- Tap Uninstall and then restart your device.
- Open Play Store again and install Facebook Messenger.
On the other hand, if that didn’t work for you, there’s always the option to sideload Facebook Messenger with an APK. Just don’t forget to uninstall the current version you got from Play Store. In most cases, we suggest going for older versions of the app but, in this case, and based on my experience, the Facebook Messenger Alpha version works remarkably well.
Here’s how to sideload Facebook Messenger from a third-party source on your Android:
- Navigate to APK Mirror.
- Download the alpha version of Facebook Messenger.
- Run the APK and allow installation from unknown sources.
- Sign in and check if the Search in conversation is still not working on Facebook Messenger.
4. On the desktop, use the desktop app instead of Messenger in the browser
Now, reports about missing searches in chats predominately talk about the web experience. And, yes, truth be told, there’s no way to get back this feature on the web. For that, you’ll need to download and install the desktop client.
We are perplexed about why Facebook decided to cut some features from the web client in order to promote the desktop Messenger app. But, that’s the reality, and, if you lack this functionality then download and install Messenger for Desktop.
And, with that said, we can call it a wrap. Thank you for reading what is, hopefully, a helpful article. Feel free to share your thoughts, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in April 2022. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.