Daily Tip: How to get started with Facebook on your iPhone or iPad [Beginner]
Just get a new Verizon iPhone, or a new iPhone on any network, and curious how to get to your Facebook account? If so, we're going to show you how dive into the mobile-social wave with grace using the official Facebook for iPhone app. And although Facebook doesn't currently support an official app for the iPad, we'll show you a few alternatives to help you get started after the break!
There are umpteen millions of Facebook users and Facebook for iPhone is probably the most download app in mobile. Still, if you're new to social networking and don't yet have a Facebook profile, that's where you ned to start. Just head on over to Facebook.com and register an account before getting started.
Now on to some basic tasks using the Facebook for iPhone app...
Facebook for iPhone
Fortunately Facebook provides an official app in the App Store alongside their mobile touch version in Safari. The native app allows iOS users to view the news feed, upload photos and video, check in to places, view upcoming events and birthdays, chat with your friends and a lot more. Here are a few quick tips to help you get started using Facebook on your iPhone.
The News Feed where you'll find all of your friend's status updates in one place. If your friends upload any photos or videos you'll be able to see them in a stream of aggregated updates. From the news feed you'll be able to comment on a status, jump into a photo or 'like' a status update you find interesting or compelling. If you see an interesting link in the news feed the app has a built-in web browser so you don't get kicked out of the app if you want to continue reading. You can also filter down the news feed to only show photos, notes, status updates etc if you want to cut down on the noise and get to specific updates.
Update your status, photos or location
To get started with the first tip you'll want to go back into the news feed. Here you will be given three options along the top: Photo, Status and Check In. You'll be able to post a quick status update, pull a photo or video from the iOS photo-picker to upload or check yourself into the nearest location and broadcast it to your network of friends. The process is easy and straightforward. If you're uploading a picture of a friend, you'll also be able to tag that friend from directly within the app!
Most of my friends use Facebook chat, so if I'm looking to communicate with one of my friends on-the-fly I'll usually jump into the chat instead of posting something on their wall. To use Facebook Chat on the iPhone just tap the Chat icon in the main section. Next you'll be taken to an alphabetical list of friends that are online, and from here you can tap a friend to begin chatting. If you don't want to be seen online whenever getting into Facebook for iPhone, just tap 'Go Offline' in the upper-right corner of the chat. The latest update to Facebook for iPhone fixed issues with inconsistencies in the chat, so don't worry about always having to go offline every time you launch the app if you want to appear offline most of the time.
If you're quickly trying to find one of your friends all you have to do is tap the search field at the top in the main section of the app. From here you'll be able to filter down your list of friends and jump to any friend's profile. From the profile viewer, you can comment or 'like' your friends status updates and photos just as you can from the news feed. You can also search the entire Facebook user directory by selecting 'Everyone' below the search field, or 'Pages' to filter through different Facebook pages.
With the latest update to Facebook for iPhone, Facebook has also redesigned the notifications section allowing for a much more aesthetically pleasing interface making it easier to sort through your latest notifications. Using the Notifications section is also a very easy process, as you simply tap your desired notification to be taken to the corresponding update. You'll be able to view any new comments or changes since the last time you were online from the notifications section.
Facebook apps for iPad
Unfortunately Facebook has yet to release an official app for the iPad -- they apparently don't view the iPad as a mobile device (say what?) -- so we've rounded up a few great alternatives to use until Facebook comes to their senses.
Friendly for Facebook is an app that recently went free, making it a great way to get started if your not looking to spend any money. This app is all around a great full featured way to engage with friends on Facebook and allows you to upload photos which is something you don't get in Safari. You can even get into limited profile editing and customize the color of the layout in the settings. Also look for its counterpart Friendly Plus for Facebook ($.99) which takes out the ads. [iTunes -- free]
FacePad was released last week and combines the look and feel of the official Twitter app for iPad, but it's for Facebook. It really doesn't get more simple than that. If you've ever used Twitter on your iPad then you'll probably be able to pick up the layout right off the bat. One thing you're not getting is the ability to upload photos or video and there are a few bugs that need to be worked out, but the app has definitely made a stir in the iPad community and has room to grow. If you like the Twitter app for iPad, check out FacePad today! [iTunes -- $.99]
Facebook Browser for iPad isn't one I'd personally recommend, but it does offer some nice features. I'm not a fan of the layout and design, but others might like it. You can do all the regular things like check your messages, view the live stream and comment on status updates. There are a couple of themes to choose from, but transitions are slow and the app feels more like a webpage than a native app, however it has some promise. Check it out! [iTunes -- $.99]
Facebook Touch HD has similar aesthetic qualities to that of Friendly for Facebook, but doesn't quite pull it off with as much grace. Although you can do things like upload photos and even save your friend's photos to your camera roll, the app doesn't have as much polish as I feel it should and crashed more than once while I was playing with it. There are a few things they need to work on given the price, but if all you care about is accessing Facebook outside of the browser then maybe this one is for you! [iTunes -- $2.99]
Remember that you can always get back to the familiar Facebook layout by using Safari, but you'll lose some abilities (uploading photos). Then again, you're also gaining other abilities ('liking' someone's comment within a status update), so it's really a give-and-take game until Facebook officially comes out with a killer way to use the service on the iPad.
As always, let us know if you have any questions or run into any issues and we'll do our best to help out in the comments. Also let us know what your favorite apps are for browsing Facebook on the iPad below!
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Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.