Why Can I Not See Chat on Facebook on My iPad?

By David Nield

Facebook offers official apps for mobile phones and tablets.
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Chat functionality is built into both the official Facebook app for iPad, though it doesn't appear on the mobile version of the site you'll see when viewing it through Safari or another Web browser on your tablet. To find the chat tool in the iPad app, turn the device into its landscape orientation and a list of your favorite friends and colleagues appears on the right-hand side.

The Facebook iPad App

The Facebook iPad app changes its layout depending on whether you're holding the device horizontally (landscape mode) or vertically (portrait mode). Your list of contacts won't appear unless the app is running in its landscape orientation. If the chat window still doesn't appear, uninstall the app by pressing and holding its icon on the home screen and tapping the "X" button. Reinstall the app from the App Store to ensure you're running the latest version of Facebook for iPad and to reset the app's configuration settings.

Turning Chat On and Off

At the top of the chat list on the Facebook app is a search box and a gray cog icon. Tapping this icon enables you to turn chat on or off. If the contacts you see are grayed out, you need to turn chat back on to make them visible again. Turning chat off means you won't be interrupted by any instant messaging conversations, and any messages sent to you are directed to your inbox instead. You can make use of the search box to look for contacts who aren't immediately visible.

Using Chat in the Facebook App

Tap on the name of any friend or colleague in the chat list to bring up a pop-up window showing your recent conversations. This includes conversations sent and received from the desktop site and other mobile apps. Use the input box at the bottom to add to the conversation, or the white messages icon to return to your inbox and open up another conversation. Active conversations are represented by circular thumbnails on the right of the screen. Chat windows can be opened when the iPad app is running in its vertical portrait mode, but you'll need to visit individual Timelines and tap "Message" to launch them.

Chat on the Mobile Website

As of April 2013, the mobile version of the Facebook website (accessible through Safari and other Web browsers on the iPad) doesn't support instant messaging functionality. You can access your inbox and conversation history through the Messages screen or by tapping the "Message" link on another user's Timeline. You can still hold conversations with other users in this way, though they don't have the real-time nature of messages sent through Facebook Chat.