iOS 6 preview: Facebook integration

Facebook integration for iOS has been rumored for a couple years now, buy iOS 4 shipped with nary a Like in sight, and iOS 5 with only Twitter and tweets to show for itself. With iOS 6 Facebook hits the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad in full force. We're talking built-in status sharing, content sharing, calendar and contacts integration, and a whole lot of stuff you can Like, built-in.

Here's how Apple describes Facebook integration in iOS 6:

Now it’s easier than ever to interact with the world’s largest social network. And there’s no need to leave your app to do it. Share a photo to Facebook right from Camera or Photos. Post your location right from Maps. Brag about a high score right from Game Center. If you have your hands full, just ask Siri to post for you. You need to sign in to Facebook only once, and you’ll be off and sharing. Never miss another birthday or get-together, since Facebook events are integrated into Calendar. And your Facebook friends’ profile information is integrated into Contacts, so when they update an email address or phone number you automatically stay up to date. Now that’s something to post about.

And here's what they've shown off of it so far:

  • Single sign-in means, like Twitter in iOS 5, you can log into your Facebook account in the Settings app, and other apps -- including the Facebook app itself -- can simply use that login to give you access. No more signing into each app individually.

  • Post to Facebook from any built-in that includes a Share Sheet. Just tap the action button, tap Facebook, and your photos, location, links, and other content get shared.

  • App Store apps with Share Sheets also get Facebook integration via iOS 6.

  • You can share music and media, apps, and Game Center scores.

  • And you can even Like music, media, apps and games right from the newly redesigned iTunes Store and App Store apps.

  • What's more, both Calendar and Contacts are now integrated with your Facebook events, birthdays, and friends.

Unlike the iOS and iCloud, the local and cloud server parts of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad experience, Apple seems content to outsource social to Twitter, and now Facebook. Apple has tried social before, with the Ping music network, and not done very well. On the other hand, no single social network has lasted as long as an operating system either, with Compuserve, AOL, Friendster, MySpace, Orkut, Buzz, and many others rising and falling before Twitter and Facebook came to current dominance. Apple might simply recognize that a) they're not great at social, and b) social is migratory, and so simply be content to partner with whomever is currently hot, and provide those services to iOS users.

iOS 6 is scheduled for release this fall, perhaps as soon as September 19. For more on iOS 6 and Siri, check out:

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.