Daily Tip: How to ditch the Facebook for iPhone app (and still get notifications)

Not a fan of the official Facebook for iPhone app, desperate for an alternative, but still need to get notifications? Join the club. I've never been a fan. Their cryptic "bug fix" updates never seem to improve anything and notifications are always so finicky. More often than not, I open my Facebook app to find several notifications that were never pushed to my iPhone. On top of that, the timeline can be choppy or jump randomly. And the whole "liking comments" just seems to decide on its own whether or not it's going to work that specific day.

If you feel the same way, hit the jump for some workarounds and alternative solutions to using the Facebook for iPhone application.

There's a few ways you can ditch the Facebook for iPhone application (and still receive notifications). Unfortunately, unlike Twitter there aren't any real alternative apps. However, these are the two solutions I found to be the best alternatives to using the default iOS app.

Facebook web app + Boxcar

This is one thing I use as a fall back method when Facebook for iPhone app decides it doesn't want to push notifications to my device anymore. It works rather well. You can even route the Boxcar notifications to open the mobile site for Facebook. I actually prefer the layout and functionality of the mobile site. I'm not quite sure why Facebook has not just implemented a lot of this into the native app. They recently integrated liking comments but it hardly ever works or shows up. It always works in the mobile web version.

Simply download Boxcar from the app store, create a login and customize your Facebook notifications how you'd like them. And you can have a different sound other than tri-tone which may be a plus for those of you like me that have tons of friends that use tri-tone. I like my sounds to be unique so I know whether or not my iPhone is going off.

Facebook web app + Facebook native app

Another route is to keep the Facebook native app installed but use the web app. If notifications aren't a huge issue to you and you just want a more steady user experience, simply keep notifications active but use the mobile site instead. I simply turned off badges and hid the app in a folder. That way, I still get notifications for Facebook but I can choose to use the mobile web version instead.

The only downside to this method is if you open a Facebook notification, it will still bring it up in the native Facebook for iPhone app. I simply tap close and then launch the mobile web version. All the notifications will be right at the top of the web version. Not the best workaround but it's definitely a more stable user experience than the native app in my opinion.

Do any of you have a better way to use Facebook on your iPhone? Let us know in the comments!

Boxcar - Free

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Daily Tip: How to ditch the Facebook for iPhone app (and still get notifications)


I have had my Badge for Facebook turned off for months now and it still freaking constantly has AND UPDATES the count it. It drives me mad. I wish that would be one of their "bug fixes"!

I've used that before but don't really like it because it reminds me of Facebook's web app and it has no notifications....

I just checked and it does have notifications. You can access the settings from the Settings app.

Oh? Ya, I remember now, they do but I never got any even with notifications turned on for it. It made me miss an important message. :(

Actually...she CLOSES THE PIECE with a Q asking if anyone knows of alternatives. People who can't bother to read, then "attack"...especially men who attack women...are MORONS. Get it? Got it? Good.

what about facely? can't upload video to fb. and the notifications seem to be a bit better.(a bit)

There IS another alternative, an iphone4/ipad2 app called F.A.C.E.L.Y (FACELY HD), it works GREAT, uploads photos faster, and has all the functions of FB (minus games of course). I use it and highly recommend it!

I take it back, still a crappy work around!! Really emailing photos to your acct?? This is easier?? I think not, screw notifications. I prefer simplicity in adding photos, etc. Will stick w/ FB app.

Facely seems like a good app. Trying it out. This post needs to be re-written. Work around a joke. Thx to those for recommending Facely!! Much nicer!

Ok I give. Facely doesn't work. Freezes up. I wouldn't doubt if FB is behind the poor performance of this app. Loading is a nightmare. Guess we are stuck w/ whatever FB gives us. Oh well...

I use the native app to upload photos and videos. Not email. Facely is not all that great which is why I didnt include it. My timeline was always missing tons of posts, load times were terrible. Etc.

I think that's a cop out. When have you actually used FACELY last? I've been using it on and off for three months (so I can have one app for each of my two Facebook accounts), and Facely works pretty darn well. It has hiccups from time to time with the "most recent/top news" setting, but that's been caused by Facebook's own servers. I'm using an iPhone 4, and it does a good job... good enough NOT to be dismissed without even a mention.
I've also found that using an alternative browser like ATOMIC BROWSER allows me to access the full web version of Facebook. Better option that some of the others mentioned.

just to clear up the like comments thing... you can only click on like comment for statuses that you click on directly from your newsfeed

Email notifications from Facebook also work fairly well. I had a Droid X before the iPhone 4 and used to get notifications that way cause if you guys think iOS' Facebook app sucks well you just don't really know how worse it could get. Granted they did make the android app a bit better as of recent but it was still buggy.

I'm constantly seeing more notifications in the Facebook app than are ever emailed to me, and I have every email notification option turned on.

Just downloaded the free version of Facely. It launches, and shows a black screen with a white-ish circle... then shuts down... Hmmm.. I just want to be able to use something that allows posting links... :(

I think the phrase your mileage may vary was made for Facebook notifications cause it really is a crap shoot on the different methods of getting notifications.

I use the Facebook app and I have set up notifications on Facebook.com to email me or text me my notification. As someone already said the faceebook app is great for uploading pics and I recently learned how to put my pics into folders from the app.
So, I turn off notifications for the Facebook app and customize which notifications ate emailed or text to my phone.

Been working w/ Facely since this post came out today. I like the UI but the app is still too glitchy. Makes me wonder if FB has bugged the load speeds, etc to force us to use web version or official FB app. Wouldn't surprise me in the least. Thanks tho to all for your advice, etc. I've had Beejive for a while but hardly ever use it.

All you have to do is sign up for text message notifications. Every time you get a notification on Facebook, they can send you a text. Open up in mobile browser, problem solved.

Or you can bookmark the HTML5 web app (it blows my mind how good it is), and set up the text alerts if you have an unlimited plan.

My biggest problem with BoxCar is that it downloaded the Premier Inn app when I set BoxCar to open the FaceBook app for notifications. Now each notification I get, the Premier Inn app opens. Deleting the Premier Inn app only forces BoxCar to re-download it :S

Hi i added boxcar and followed instruction and added my two fb accounts. It will not display messages and keeps saying boxcar can not display your message and to contact the support team. I put a message on the support site but got no reply back as of yet. Can you please help? Regards David