by Jim Lynch

Why is Facebook’s iOS app so bloated?

May 22, 2017
AppleCloud ComputingFacebook

Facebooku2019s app weighs in at more than 380 MB when you download it from the iOS App Store. Is it time to just get rid of Facebook altogether?

Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of the most popular apps in the iOS App Store. It consistently places in the top ten of the most popular free apps. As I write this post it sits at number 7 on the list, and I doubt it will drop out of the top ten anytime soon.

And yet all is not well with the Facebook iOS app. It currently weighs in as a very chunky 388 MB download. The weight of the Facebook app has not gone unnoticed by users. A recent thread in the Apple subreddit noted how bloated the Facebook iOS app is and redditors didn’t pull any punches sharing their thoughts about it.

I’ll share my own thoughts below, but here’s a sample of the thread from the Apple subreddit:

Keviig: “I noticed the same thing. Insane size. I thought my 32GB 7 plus would suffice a fair bit forward, but maybe not if they keep growing like this. Where will it end?”

GreatBusinessman: “ Just delete the…app and use the fastest mobile browser ever made on the fastest mobile smartphone being used.

Mobile Safari. Everything is solved.”

Evilduck: “I’ve noticed that trend too. Tons of apps are monstrously bloated for their relatively small amount of local, on-device functionality.

Google’s search app is 171MB to return search results. GBoard, a keyboard is 119MB. Imgur is 92MB, Yelp is 159MB, YouTube is 113MB. Uber is 273 MB. Dropbox is 171MB, Inbox is 208MB, Messenger is 260MB, Twitter is 195MB, and so on.

Conversely, apps with similar “mostly fetching crap from the internet” functionality: NPR One: 20MB, Reddit is 28MB, Audible is 77MB, Hulu is 72MB, Google Play Movies is 38MB, Google Analystics is 36MB.

Seems like there’s a link between “updating…every day” and “bloated nonsense”.”

Greatcaffeine: “Yeah, I’m about to start using the mobile site again. The app isn’t that bad to use, but it seems like they could accomplish everything with a fraction of the disk space they’re asking for.”

Shadow_monster: “You know what’s the difference between a 20MB app and a 250MB one? Ads and analytics. Those frameworks are huge, and developers can easily cram 20 different ones in.

The larger the app, the more it’s tracking you.”

Cormeistro: “These mobile apps are larger than most software I use on a desktop. It’s ridiculous.

Aside from games, I can’t think of a single program on my computer than isn’t in competition with mobile app sizes now…”

Whimsicalsteve: “Gotta keep that spyware code updated.”

Hofdu465: “Delete it. Using the mobile site. Nothing of value lost.”

Shredder13: “You can send and receive messages on Facebook using the mobile site? I thought that was still disabled. ”

Hawk4031: “Request Desktop Site. It will retain the mobile layout but you can use the web messenger. I do this all the time.”

More at Reddit

Get rid of Facebook altogether

As you can tell from some of the comments in the Reddit thread, a lot of folks are quite unhappy with the Facebook app’s ridiculous size. For what it does it should not take up nearly so much storage space on iOS devices.

But I doubt that Facebook will fix it anytime soon. The company has shown remarkably little interest in what users think about what it does or how it does it. Facebook knows that it’s service and apps are quite sticky, and that most users will complain about problems but will also continue to use Facebook.

My advice? Don’t just delete the Facebook app from your iOS device, delete your Facebook account permanently and move on with your life without Facebook.

I dumped Facebook years ago because I was tired of the company’s utter contempt for the privacy of its users. I also loathed Facebook’s annoying algorithm that manipulates the newsfeeds of users, and I found the service itself to be a huge waste of my time.

Initially you might find it hard to walk away from Facebook, it might even take you more than one attempt to leave it permanently. But dumping Facebook can be done, and once you leave you won’t miss it much if at all.

So if Facebook’s bloated iOS app annoys you, why not think of it as a good opportunity to get rid of Facebook once and for all? If you still aren’t sure about leaving Facebook, check out this free ebook on Amazon called “Facebook Logout: Experiences and Reasons to Leave It” for some reasons why getting rid of Facebook is a great idea.

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