Every time one of Facebook's apps races up the App Store charts, there's usually a reason for it. For Messenger, it was because Facebook disabled the ability to respond to messages within the company's primary app, meaning anyone who wanted to keep in touch with friends and family that way needed the dedicated Messenger app.
The Moments app has experienced a recent surge in popularity in its own right, but due to a slightly different cause. In short, anyone who uses Facebook heavily for photo-sharing and uses the social network on both desktop and mobile is going to want to download Moments before the end of the first week of July.
The option to sync photos from your phone has been available for four years, though not every Facebook user likely took advantage of it since it was an opt-in service. As CNN Money explains, it sent automatically sent photos from a phone to a private foldercalled 'Synced' or 'Synced Photos' so that people could easily share them later online.
Alas, as with Messenger, Facebook is trying to guide user behavior in this case, meaning that if people want to save those photos, they have two choices. The first is to download the photos from Facebook to a computer. The other is install Moments and choose to have the photos moved to that app. Either action needs to be done prior to 7 July or the photos will be deleted, and thus gone forever unless they are still stored on the user's phone.
What is Moments?
Obviously, this has caused a rush of new installs of Moments, which accounts for its sudden App Store rock star status. But what exactly does the app do?
Put simply, Moments allows for private photo-sharing under the idea that people would like to organize photos around certain events and then share them with friends or family who were also involved in the vacation, celebration, or what have you. It's designed to make it easy to share photos or video clips with exactly the right recipients with just a few taps, and it even has a search function that allows users to find photos on the phones of other Moments users who tagged them.
When it first launched last year, Moments was in the news mostly for its dodgy facial recognition algorithms that didn't always work correctly. Even now it's still easy to find reviews that ping it for not always working as intended, and some folks would prefer there would be more storage options that didn't involve sending photos to others.
Maybe Facebook will create a separate Albums app for that someday. Until then, Moments is where it's at, and plenty of other people will likely be hopping on-board before the end of June.