How to disable Facebook Messenger Chat Head bubbles to prevent accidental back swipe in Android 10

Messenger Chat Heads messing with your Android 10 fully gestural navigation? Find out how to temporarily solve that problem.

How to disable Facebook Messenger Chat Head bubbles to prevent accidental back swipe in Android 10

If you've been using Android 10 (previously codenamed Android Q), you've probably enabled the fully gestural navigation. Chances are, you're really loving that new means of navigating the platform UI. However, if you are a frequent user of Facebook Messenger, you've probably come into contact with a slight hiccup in the Android gesture navigation system.

Dismissing those Chat Head bubbles can be problematic. Why? Because typically you tap and drag those bubbles away from the edge of the screen, and then down to the bottom to dismiss them. Anyone that has used the fully gestural navigation system can see the problem with that. 

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When you drag the bubble to the left or right, it has the effect of tapping the back button, which translates into you exiting the app you're using. That's not an effective or efficient way of working on your mobile device--especially when you're in the middle of an important remote conference meeting or trying to give support to an end user.

So what do you do? Until the Android developers realize this is a problem, there are two actions you can take:

  1. Retrain your mind that the best way of dismissing those bubbles is to drag them up, over, and then down.
  2. Disable Chat Heads.

If you're okay retraining yourself on a new gesture for dismissing the bubbles, that's your best route, especially if you prefer using that particular interface to Messenger. On the other hand, if your mind has made itself up that there is only one gesture for dismissing those bubbles, your choice is clear.

How to disable Facebook Messenger Chat Heads

For those that cannot retrain their brain, it's time to disable Chat Heads in Facebook Messenger. Fortunately, the process for making this happen is simple. 

Here's how to disable Chat Heads:

  1. Open Facebook Messenger.
  2. From the main window, tap on your profile image in the top left corner.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom and, just above Account, tap to disable Chat Heads (Figure A).

Figure A


Tap the slider until it is grayed out.

Back out of the Settings window and enjoy your new, Chat Heads-free Messenger experience.

With the official release of Android 10, hopefully this will no longer be an issue, and those who disabled it can re-enable Chat Heads. If you find yourself constantly closing out the app you're working on because of dismissing the Messenger Chat Head, you can disable the feature and no longer worry about backing out of your working app.

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Image: Jack Wallen

By Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic, The New Stack, and Linux New Media. He's covered a variety of topics for over twenty years and is an avid promoter of open source. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen....