If you feel like you spend too much time checking the latest status updates on Facebook but regularly use its Messenger app to keep in contact with friends and family, there is a way to wean yourself off one while remaining active on the other.

Instead of deleting your Facebook account altogether, you can also deactivate your account so you can temporarily remove yourself from the site. You won’t appear in search results and your Timeline will disappear, but your information isn’t deleted so you can log back in at any point to resume using it.

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[Read more: 18 things you didn't know about Facebook]

Deactivating your account doesn't mean waving goodbye to Messenger, the instant messaging platform that lets you share text messages and make video calls with friends and family individually or in groups.

Here’s how to keep Messenger up and running while giving yourself a well-earned break from Facebook.

Step 1: Download your Facebook data

Start by downloading a copy of your Facebook data. You don’t need to do this, but in the event you decide not to reactivate, you’ve got a permanent copy of all your posts and photos.

Launch Facebook on your PC browser, click the drop-down arrow at the top right and select Settings.

[Read more: Why you should think before clicking ‘Like’ on Facebook]

Facebook Download a copy of  your history

Under General, click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data.’

Follow the instructions and Facebook will send you an email with a link allowing you to download a copy of your personal archive.

Step 2: Deactivate your Facebook account Facebook deactivate

 

Remaining within the General menu, click Manage account. Look for ‘Deactivate your account’ at the bottom and click Deactivate your account.

You may have to enter your password again for security at this point.

Facebook reason for leaving

To try and make you stay Facebook will offer a solution to each reason. When you are happy click ‘Deactivate’

[Read more: Facebook privacy – how much information are you giving away?]

Facebook deactivated account

To check you've been deactivated properly, ask a friend to search their account for you. If you aren't there you've been successfully  deactivated.

3: Using Messenger

Launch Messenger on your phone and you’ll need to log in again using your Facebook email and password. 

A screen will appear letting you know you've deactivated.

Facebook Messenger deactivate phone screenshot

This means you can keep using Messenger to chat to your Facebook friends, but you don’t have to use Facebook.

[Read more: 12 ways to protect your Facebook privacy]