App Preview: Facebook 3.0 for iPhone

home-screen

I love Facebook and this is a preview of the hotly anticipated  Facebook for iPhone 3.0, coming soon to the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPod touch.

Where to begin? When I first installed the app, I was frozen with anticipation. I have seen some sneak peeks on Facebook's app page, but that was it. Now with it in my hands... Let's begin by looking at the basics.

Home Screen

Facebook 3.0 has a brand-new redesigned home screen (see above). From here, you have access your fundamental Facebook actions such as your News Feed, Profile, Friends, Inbox, Chat, Requests, Events, Photos, Notes and Search. Notifications have been relocated to a very accessible location on the bottom of the screen that tells you the last notification you have received and the total number of new notifications. Tapping this bar brings up a notification list that is practically identical to the notifications list you have on the Web Browser. You can also tap the title bar at the top of the page to return home any time. For example, if you are commenting on a post and you are done, you can tap the word "Comments" at the top of the page and it will return you to the home screen. Tap again, and it takes you back to your comment. Nice.

New Feed

The News Feed has several new features. For starters you can now "like" posts! Yes, you now have the ability to comment and like a post on Facebook for iPhone (you can also unlike too). You can also add a video (with a 3GS) and record and upload directly to Facebook from your iPhone. If a post has a Web link in it, the link will now open within Facebook to view the Web Page. You no longer have to leave the app to go to Safari, through this is an option if you want.

If you separate your friends and paged into different lists, these have also carried over into Facebook 3.0. You can easily and quick access your News Feed, Links, Pages and more from one spot.

Profile

news-feed-with-notificationYour Facebook Profile is now here in it's entirety! Profile pages are divided into three sections : Wall, Info and Photos. Wall remains relativity unchanged, however, Info gives you a lot of information now. For instance,  when viewing another persons profile, you can see how many friends you have in common, their number of total friends and what Pages they are a fan of. Clicking on any of these choices will take you to that list. From their profile you can also send them a message, Poke them and add as a favorite on your home screen! That is right, the home screen can also be customized with your favorite friends or pages!

Friends

This section contains your typical listing of friends, but now if they have their phone number in Facebook, you are given an icon to tap next to their name. When tapped, it will display quick links for their numbers. Example: Land, Mobile, SMS. Very nice if you don't have every single friend in your address book, this is an excellent replacement! You also have your Pages here too. This is a great, quick way to access the pages you are a fan of.

Inbox

The Inbox remains relatively unchanged except for the added option of Updates for your pages. If a Page uses this feature and you have it activated, you will see your favorite Page updates in the Inbox too under its own section.

Chat

Chat is another section that has not altered too much from Facebook 2.0. One of the new feature is the Online/Idle icons next to your friends so you know their status.

Requests

Not much here, any pending friend requests you have will appear on this button of the home screen with the red badge number of pending requests.

Events

event-optionsNew to Facebook 3.0, events have a simple scrolling list of upcoming and past events. When you tap on an event, you enter your RSVP and see a guest list broken down into Confirmed, Maybe, Declined and Awaiting. Very nice. Do you also enjoy the Birthday feature of Facebook on your desktop that shows you when your friends have a Birthday? Well, Birthdays have been added to Events as well! Click on the Events tab and you have a whole list of your friends Birthdays divided by month.

Photos

Photos in Facebook 3.0 have had a big change. First, when you tap an album, you get a page of thumbnails like the Photos app on the iPhone. This makes it a lot easier to find photos or get an overview of an album. You can now very easily show or hide tags. Previously, it seemed that tags would appear randomly, now it is much easier. You can Like and make a photo a profile picture right from Photos!

Notes

New to the mix of Facebook 3.0 apps is Notes. When you tap on Notes, you get a listing of all of your notes on Facebook. You can edit notes and create new ones. I was curious about the note creation process on the iPhone and decided to enter some basic HTML to format my note, just like on the desktop. Know what? IT WORKED! That is right, you can add basic HTML tags to your notes and it will format the note accordingly. The only thing missing is the ability to attach a photo to your note. This new feature has me debating whether I should bother with my own traditional personal blogging and just blog from within Facebook... we are almost there...

Search

Searching from the home screen gives you a few filters. You can search for Friends, Everyone or Pages. Typing in a name for Friends and Everyone behaves as you would expect, but the new ability to add pages is really awesome. I am using Facebook more and more for product, news and general "fan" updates. This new feature is really convenient.

Posting

Posting has one of my biggest grips addressed from the previous version of Facebook; the "Send" button (renamed to Share) has been moved to the TOP of the screen so I no longer post accidentally while typing!

Add a Favorite

Lastly, from the home screen you can add your favorite friends and pages to the home screen. You can flick to the left just like the iPhone home screen and have quick access to you the people you care about the most.

Issues and Conclusion

no-video-playbackThis is one phenomenal update to Facebook for iPhone, however, it is not without its shortcomings. To name a few, you receive an error message when you try to play a video that has been uploaded to Facebook. The error reads "Facebook Video cannot yet be played on this device". Not sure what that means, but it tells me that it will be coming in s future update. If you have posted a YouTube video to Facebook though, it will open YouTube's site in the Facebook app and you can watch the video.

I have also encountered the infamous "Error, Your comment could not be posted at this time" message. I had thought this was resolved in the last version of Facebook. I have not seen this error for quite some time.

Overall, I could not be happier. This version of Facebook is leaps and bounds better then version 2.0. The developer, Joe Hewitt, deserves kudos for his work her. Joe has also promised push notifications and other enhancements for 3.1 to be released later this year.

The promise of the iPhone is to have a mobile computer in your pocket. The iPhone is able to deliver on this promise because there are developers out there like Joe Hewitt that keep making apps better and better. Thank you Joe.

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Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

App Preview: Facebook 3.0 for iPhone

77 Comments

I hope Apple get their asses into gear and approve this - it was submitted nearly a week ago, I can't wait to use it.

There was no mention of whether or not the News Feed and Wall sections have been fixed to be consistent with the web site... or if they're still incomplete, random lists of posts (which may or may not allow commenting depending on how the planets are aligned), with other posts not even appearing.
Do we still get taken to a friend's profile instead of being able to comment on something they've posted on our walls?

I take it they haven't changed the way sending messages works? Not being able to read the message you were sent while replying kinda sucks.
Like fastlane, I'm also wondering if I get taken to the actual comment or post someone made when it shows up in my Notifications (they posted to my wall, posted a comment to my post or link, etc), rather than to their profile, which is never what I want it to do.

Apple, "Doing what's best for users" tm
Standing vigilant to protect us from aps we want. Its a selfless and thankless job protecting people who don't want protection. Sigh. If only we knew what was best for us.

Looking forward to the update. Also, it wouldn't hurt for the author and site editor to do some proofreading before posting for mass consumption.

It was submitted over a week ago?! That's an eternity!!! Whatever will I do without this update til it's approved? Apple sucks... I hate them! Please, get an fn grip.

Does anyone think Apple will have to hire more than 40 people to review apps? I mean to only have 40 people reviewing the apps and they same people are also reviewing the reviews.... I think Apple can afford to hire some people to help in this process.

It's crazy that Apple takes so much time reviewing trusted apps like Facebook. Shouldn't Apple have a list of apps that are scurried through the process because they are from trusted companies?

@fastlane
the news feed displays just like the desktop with comments. It's awesome!
I also forgot to mention the ability to add your own photo albums too.
The app is "so big" with changes, it is hard to keep track of then all!

If Apple doesn't approve this app soon, I think I'm gonna go out and find stray cats and drop them off at my local asian restaurant!

Cmon and approve it already! Does anybody know if it will let you edit your profile or does that still need to be done online!

@Joey G
you can edit your profile stuff right now by going to facebook.Com on the iPhone then go to full site. i made my facebook on the iPhone.

hopefully they fixed the facebook applcation; 2.0 is barely usable for me. i get nothing under status or photos, comments don't post half the time, can't view profiles -- the list goes on.

@Al
Agreed. They should push through trusted developers or they should look at volume. Facebook should get a different priority than the "Are you a hottie?" app or random garbage-ware-game. By the week+ it's taken so far, it doesn't look like that's the case...
I keep clicking on the App Store, like a kid on Christmas morning, just to see "All Apps are up to date". It's like Santa dying on the way to your house...

first off I want to thank the guys at apple for doing what they do. You guys rock!!!!!!
Ya know, the guys at iPhone have busted butt to get us the apps we want with little to no faults. I see a lot of people on here complaining about the release but once it's released I'm gonna hear about what's wrong. Stop being so imaptient and relaaax. It'll be worth it. I have yet to be let down by apple and if you're an iPhone user you'll understand. We have such an innovative piece of technology in our hands.. Show a little appreciation and thanks to the guys at apple.

@jayroca
I completely agree. I'd rather wait for an app than receive a buggy one. People here are so f-ing impatient.
Oh, I forgot to mention: Apple is a business. That's b-u-s-i-n-e-s-s. They won't hire a thousand app reviewers just so you can get your precious app within minutes of submission. Stop being greedy and start being thankful for what Apple already does.

People...relax with all the complaining! Again from reading negative comments let me just remind you that Facebook is a FREE APP...stop acting like you're owed something. Be patient cause ya'll know once they release the update, you will be complaining about something else. Be happy with what you have! You've gone all this time with the Facebook app, what's a little more of a wait? Personally I'd rather them take their time and not rush out an update that's all buggy & keeps crashing. Life is way too short to spend it complaining and crying over such stupid petty things like this!

I'm also going to round up all the people telling us to "relax and have patience" and drop them off at that same asian restaurant so they can enjoy the fine cuisine there! ;)

I agree with phat7. A high profile app like FB should be pushed through a little quicker, but getting ones panties in a bunch doesn't change anything except for a weggie to pick.

Of course "high profile" apps should be pushed out sooner.... More people will use them from the start, therefore more stand to benefit by their approval sooner.
Also, "updates" of high-profile apps should be rushed through approval
and yes, Apple should hire more people. their system for approving apps sucks.

I hope they did something about the slow ass loading speeds in photos.
And.. Dexter.. I find that to be pretty racist and offensive.
Chinese people do not eat cats, neither do Koreans or Japanese people. No animal was meant to be domesticated, anyway. So stfu.

"its" != "it's"
"then" != "than"
and you expect me to believe something written by an illiterate? Right.

I wonder if AT&T has to get involved with this. Keep in mind that his app has over 100k reviews, and probably hundreds of thousands of users. If everyone starts uploading videos, this could be a problem with AT&T.

Kyle's right. Rejected! AT&T is Manute Bol now.
One other improvement that I read is that you can also upload photos to any album now. Awkscum!
Lastly I think facebook sucks for assigning one engineer to design an app that had been on the top download list since the launch of the App Store. Poor guy, all these selfish bastards constantly hounding him for an update.
btw, is anybody else having problems adding the mobile facebook site to their homescreen? The icon won't show up anymore.

@ all those who say we're whining and complaining, well...yeah, we kind of are...and here's why...
First off, I'm not complaing about Facebook. They're a free service and one guy took his time to make what looks like a killer update.  I'm more critical of Apple.
I'm not here to say they should hire a million reviewers so that Apple can push through every app in record speed.  Facebook though is a pheneomenon, maybe one of the most popular apps globally.  One of you said, "Apple is a business."  Businesses compete for a share of your wallet.  With Blackberry, the Pre and Android all out there, iPhone has one of the worst versions of one of the biggest apps (worse than the mobile site).  It makes business sense to have all 40 of their reviewers working on this one app because of the sheer scope of it, if that's what it takes to compete.
Lastly, I'm not sure that our 40 App Store reviewers are "saving" us from buggy apps.  That's not their mission (and surely not what they're accomplishing).  Their purpose is to make sure that content in apps doesn't conflict with Apple's interests.  Period.  That's it.  They're not serving as a debug service for developers.
So am I complaining?  Yeah, a little.  I'm excited by what looks like a great update to an important app and I'm hoping Apple is too.

Agree with phat7deuce. Not complaining with the Facebook app - more like Apple. I paid a lot of money for my iPhone, and continue to give me provider £45 a month, and I am only one of millions of customers - I'm sure they could stump up the cash to hire a few more people to get things moving a bit quicker!!

I hope Apple don't find the 'Search for p0rn' button or the 'Publish extra swearing rant' button that were so useful in the old version.

@jbrandonf:
Yes, it seems the icon disappeared a while back. I just made a duplicate of the app's icon and put it up on clipalizer.com to launch the full site. Even the mobile site has too many issues for me (unless they've fixed it recently) and I've just become tired of jumping between three Facebooks that all have different ways of working.
So now, whatever I can't do on the app, I just open the full site and do whatever I need ー even if that means scrolling and zooming.
I have high hopes for this app, even though I rarely even use Facebook.

Bandwidthblog.org is reporting that Facebook 3.0 is now in the South African app store. Hopefully we'll see it in the US by tomorrow.

Strange. I could've sworn that the bandwidthblog article said it had been released last night. But I look now, and it's been headed with "Awaiting App Store Approval." am I crazy or was that changed? Because I got multiple people who called me a liar and I redirected them to the article, but now...

Bandwidthblog is a South African website. Maybe its been released there. Certainly still not available in UK. I think they're going to make us wait the full 2 weeks! :(

I've logged into the South African appstore on the pc and iphone and its not there for me.
think somebody got my hopes up that it would soon be in the UK store if it was in the south african store

MMS... tethering... facebook 3.0... tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock.
Is it me or does it lately feel like owning an iPhone and anticipating anything new for the iPhone seems like a drawn out dissapointing waiting game?

Exactly. Well said. I was excited at first and I am still looking forward to the update but this kind of wait is just stupid. I wish I'd never heard that it had been submitted! At least then when it eventually comes though (hopefully before xmas) it would be a nice surprise rather than a huge anti-climax!

Apple are a bunch of idiots who couldn't organise a pissup in a brewery!!! 2 weeks to review an update for one of the most popular apps on the App Store? Sort it out guys!!!

I share your pain Abi. I must check the appstore a dozen times a day and waiting for the moment where it pops up. I've never been so eager waiting for any other update or new app to arrive in the appstore.

Glad it's not just me!!! I do feel a bit silly being so excited about it!! I love my iPhone and love all the apps that make my life better/easier!!

I even registered on the south african appstore with phoney address details just to get it what I thought would be a few hours before it went to the UK store. Turns out it wasnt there anyway!

Finally published and I love it! Really looks like the website experience! Get also iGift4u app to send virtual gifts to your FB friends and you've got everything you need!!!

Ignore last comment. There was no update on app store yet but a quick search on net told me to uninstall / delete current one from iPhone and then reinstall from app store. I've now got it.

Ugh. Can't just see status updates. Have to see the whole stupid news feed. Don't care about the quizzes anyone took!!!! Also, the old notifications listing was MUCH improved over the website. Why did they go backwards!!! Hate the update. Very sorry I installed it. Only typing landscape is a plus and that isn't enough to outweigh those two HUGE negatives for me.

Anyone else getting an error message when trying to open up notifications? It just says "notifications can not be loaded at this time". I tried reinstalling the app but the problem persists... My brothers 3G iPhone loads notifications fine, so I have no idea why mine isn't working. I also have a 3G btw.

I downloaded the newest version (3.01) and now facebook crashes my iphone everytime i try to open up friends, or status updates, etc. I also have to relog with my username and password everytime this happens and its turning into a huge pain!!! This new version is messed up...DO NOT INSTALL IT!!!!!

Hi, I loved your review.. it's pretty detailed and explain everything perfectly!
I loved this update. The Graphics are now amazing and the implementation of some huge missing features (such as built-in web browser and possibility to view and become fan of pages) made me much happier with the Facebook app. I've also written a pretty enthusiastic review about it. Here you've the link, in case you would like to read it: http://www.iwikiphone.com/review/32806/social-networking/facebook-facebo...
Just one question about it. It was work perfectly for me until the bug-fixes came out.
Yesterday I downloaded the bug-fixes and the chat is not working anymore :(.... why?!? had someone experienced my same problem?
Cheers,
Nico

I downloaded the new FB app and thought it was fantastic, while it worked, for about 2 days. Now I can no longer get FB to load on my iPhone at all. It opens and acts like it's loading and then just crashes every single time. I've reset, I've reloaded, I've updated, it's VERY frustrating and annoying!

I tried the latest version and must say it has lots of improvement .. Though One big feature which latest version miss is profile information editing..I hope they will add this in upcoming version

I loaded the 3.0 update. It keeps crashing. WTH? Maybe the prior edition was better. Anyone else having this happen?

Getting basics like fulltext search, search for tags and comments working reliably would be a huge step forward already. ,

Man I love your comment and it was so informational and I am definetly going to bookmark it. One thing to say the Superb analysis this article has is trully remarkable.No one goes that extra mile these days? Well Done!!! Just one more tip you caninstall a Translator Application for your Global Readers .

Indeed, rumors can start pretty easily. I do think a slightly bigger screen would be cool, but that one is probably too big. 4.6? Yeah too big.