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Facebook Messenger as a default option on iPhone? No thanks

When it comes to Apple, Facebook is mighty testy lately. First the company hit out at the iPhone maker for a change in iOS 14 that dents its advertisers’ ability to track users across the internet and now it’s upset about Messenger not being a default messaging option on iOS.

The social network says it wants Apple to give users the opportunity to replace the beloved iMessage as the go-to messaging app on the iOS platform. In iOS 14, Apple enables users to set default email and web browser apps instead of the stock Mail and Safari apps, but that’s it. One would sense the stock Messages app won’t be on the table moving forward.

However, speaking to The Information, Facebook’s Messenger app VP, Stan Chudnovsky, complained about the lack of a level playing field when it comes to messaging on the platform.

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He says: “We feel people should be able to choose different messaging apps and the default on their phone. Generally, everything is moving this direction anyway.

“For any other developer in the [messaging] space, it isn’t really a level playing field,” Chudnovsky said of Apple’s strategy. If Apple followed Android’s lead, it would “allow us to compete more fairly where iOS is dominant.”

Later in the report, Alex Heath of The Information writes:

Chudnovksy said Facebook has asked Apple over the years to consider opening up default messaging. Apple has never agreed. Apple’s Messages app is a core feature of its mobile software that encourages people to keep buying its devices, and the app’s encryption of messages is also a cornerstone of the company’s privacy pitch to consumers.

While some might welcome Facebook Messenger as the default texting and IM app, there’d be a large section of the iPhone community who’d strongly resist such a move.

The iMessage platform is a staple of the iOS platform and largely beloved by users due to the clean interface, water tight encryption and close integration with the rest of the iOS ecosystem. In iOS 14, the company refreshed the app and brought in many features made popular by rival apps like WhatsApp.

You can now now pin chats to the top of the app and access more expressions and customisations for Memoji. Group chats have been updated with in-line replies and mentions, as well as customised group images. The images change based on who chats the most.

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