Has Apple improved upon social network integration with iOS 6?

Facebook integration in iOS6

Last month, I wrote about the challenges of truly integrating your social networks, especially Facebook, into your iPhone or iPad.  During the keynote at yesterday’s kick off to WWDC, Facebook was once again brought to center stage.

So, its time to revisit the issue and see if Apple has truly addressed some of the concerns we raised just about a month ago.


Current integration of Facebook

Up to this point, Facebook integration has been sort of “hit or miss” with iOS. Yes, as we looked at in last month’s article, you can go into your Facebook app and ask it nicely to sync your contacts.  Judging from comments and forum posts, it is clear that this sometimes works fine and other times results in duplicate contacts or only partial syncing of data.

Essentially, Facebook was its own app with its own data. If you needed to look at a Facebook event – you needed to start up the Facebook app and look at your events – they were not integrated into your iOS calendar.


Facebook and Contacts in iOS6

Facebook integration in iOS 6

Apple has certainly “baked in” full Facebook integration – for the first time – into iOS6. As covered yesterday, now you can:

  1. Share a photo right to Facebook from your Photos app or the Camera app.
  2. Post your location right from the Maps app.
  3. Tell all about your new high score in a game – right from Game Center.
  4. Ask Siri to post for you – which will be very helpful if your hands are tied up with things like driving.

The real additions, however, are in the area of Contacts and Calendar integration – these are both sorely missing in the current incarnation of iOS.  With iOS 6.0:

  1. Your Facebook events are integrated right into the Calendar app – so you won’t miss any more important birthdays, family events or whatever you have listed in your Facebook events.
  2. Your Facebook friends profile info – all of it – is seamlessly integrated into the Contacts app of iOS 6.

Now, this might be a good or a bad thing. For many of us, we like to keep things separate.  If you have, say, 400 Facebook friends, you might not want them to be integrated into your Contacts.


facebook can be accessed from many apps

What seems very useful to me is having birthdays automatically put into my calendar and events just scheduled – even if I don’t go – I can see that they are there.

One advantage is that when someone updates their Facebook profile and adds a new email address or phone number (yes, some people do list their phone number in their Facebook profile) it will automatically update on your iOS device.

All this integration might not be what you are looking for.  There are always concerns about privacy and that the more Facebook is integrated into the OS, the more the likelihood that information you don’t want shared with Facebook will be shared. That responsibility is on us, however, and I’m sure we will detail any new privacy settings that need to be adjusted in the weeks to come right here on iMore.

For now, the good news is that for those who were looking for better Facebook integration into their iOS experience – it seems like you will not be disappointed in iOS 6.


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Reader comments

Has Apple improved upon social network integration with iOS 6?


I don't think all of your facebook friends will be integrated into your contacts; just the ones that you have a contact card for.

It integrates all of your contacts but you can show which ones you want by selecting the group. It doesn't give you peoples numbers that do not have them posted on facebook. The calendar integration works well. I like it. Except now I have repeats. FB contact integration has also produced a few dups for me. They will get ironed out.

"If you have, say, 400 Facebook friends, you might not want them to be integrated into your Contacts." But the way Gary thinks it works, isn't the way it works.

Facebook-Events can already be integrated into iOS with an iCal subscription. You get the link on any event on the facebook page, which is valid for all events.
A rather hidden feature, but I use it and it works like a charm!
Didn't check on wether this is possible for birthdays too.

I think they played catch-up mostly but it definitely rounds out some missing needs.
One issue though is they are picking and choosing networks. I'd much prefer an intent approach where I can share with whatever network I want.

This lacks granularity, but does bring the functionality more inline with other mobile operating systems. I think it's something they had to do to prevent falling behind.

Facebook is getting Long in the tooth. Who really wants everything your iPhone does to be posted on Facebook. Histrionic people maybe?

It would be nice if the iPhone had a Palm Synergy-style live updating address book, complete with recent status updates, etc. This remains a big weak point for iOS, you have to jump through a handfull of apps to track down your friends.

Re: "...the more Facebook is integrated into the OS, the more the likelihood that information you don’t want shared with Facebook will be shared."
You betcha. Mark Zuckerberg thinks Facebook users are idiots and he treats them appropriately. Here's a transcript of a chat room conversation he had, years ago:
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb f_cks.
The underscore "_" should, of course, be replace by a "u" for the full effect.

I hope they're gonna fix the train wreck that is the Facebook app at the moment. It is ridiculously slow on my iPhone 4 at the moment, not the kind of thing I would expect Apple to be directly linking themselves to.

It amazes me that Apple can bully and push around anyone they want, but dead companies like HPs webOS still has the best facebook app and the best social interconnectivity to date. Nothing can beat how webOS intergates into facebook and twitter and any other service you want via patches.
Its a shame it didn't catch on. But yeah 3 years later when is apple gonna be able to do what my terd plaster pre did?

I hope there is a way to sync Facebook information only to contacts I already have on my phone. I'm friends with many people on Facebook, but I don't want their number in my phone because I'd never contact them that way.

Can we avoid contact intergration? I don't want all my Facebook friends on my ipoje - I hardly know half of them.

This facebook integration was merely playing catch up. Though it still pales compared to webos synergy and windows phones' people hub. Though it is still a good step forward for apple.

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