Facebook issued a massive update to its iOS app Thursday, with app version 5.0.
Facebook describes the app as being “rebuilt so it’s faster and easier to use.”
Once a template for how to design a great mobile app, Facebook for iOS has faced criticisms in the past 18 months for being slow and unresponsive.
Part of the reason behind the slowness was the old app’s reliance on HTML5. While HTML5 is a great way to build cross-platform, mobile-friendly apps and web pages, it’s not as fast for certain types of applications.
In June, two Facebook developers told The New York Times that they were working on rebuilding the iOS app in Objective-C and that the resulting app could be 2.5 times faster.
For iPad users, Timeline is finally supported on the device. We have to say, it looks great on the retina screen!
You can download Facebook for iOS [iTunes link] from the App Store. We’ll have a full hands-on look at the update for iPhone and iPad soon.
Facebook also issued a smaller update to Facebook for Android [Google Play link]. While not as far-reaching as the iOS update, the Android app now supports faster photo uploads and emoji in messages.
What do you think of the new Facebook for iOS? Let us know in the comments.
Facebook Timeline is finally on the iPad. The feature looks and acts exactly as you would expect. We’re not sure why the team waited for the new app to unveil the feature, but we’re sure it benefits from the performance enhancements.
These are the new features in Facebook for iOS 5.0. Note that the app has been rebuilt. That means than rather than being largely a wrapper around a set of HTML5 pages, the app is now natively coded and has better performance.
The look of Facebook for iOS is largely unchanged. That’s a good thing. What is different is the performance. Everything in the app is snappier. Posting is more instant, getting updates and messages feels faster and that terrible lag of the old iOS app is all but gone.
Facebook’s Timeline looks great on the new iPad’s retina display.
In portrait, as with landscape, Timeline shines on the iPad.
On the iPhone, the newsfeed has not changed at all. On the iPad, it has a few slight adjustments — mostly with making the Timeline view consistent across all apps.
As with the first version of Facebook for iPad, swiping to the right from the left side of the screen opens up the general Facebook menu.
Facebook has baked the interface and features from its Facebook Camera for iPhone app directly into the main Facebook app.
One of the advantages of the native code is that photo uploads are much faster and take place in the background.
Facebook’s Messenger app for iPhone has also largely become integrated int Facebook for iOS. This includes more granular location settings for messages.
The app interface is now a spitting image for the stand-alone Messenger app.
On the iPad, Messages have their own drop-down modal window.
Notifications are now much faster in the new version of Facebook for iOS. It’s easy to see them all with just a tap.
On the iPad, the Notifications are displayed the same way as Messages — in a drop-down modal window.
The Events page loads faster than ever.
The newsfeed is now more real-time. You can see when new stories have been published and tapping opens up those new stories. The style is similar to the way many third-party Twitter clients work.
Prompts are a little better integrated in the new version of Facebook for iPhone, perhaps because the pop-ups are now native.
Like the iPhone, the iPad now has the native photo upload features too.
Viewing a photo uploaded with Facebook for iOS opens it up in full screen with an easy way to access comments.
Tapping on the comments area shows clearly on the iPhone version of the app.