Skip Facebook's iOS apps and just use Facebook in Safari instead
Eye on Apple
By Jim Lynch, CIO
I recently created a Facebook account after a long absence from the social media service. After I created my account I promptly installed the Facebook app and the Messenger app on my iOS devices. I shouldn’t have bothered, Facebook’s iOS apps are a pain in the rear end and aren’t worth installing.
Why two different Facebook apps for iOS?
First of all, Facebook split out the messaging part of its service into a separate app a while back. Supposedly this was done to provide a better experience. So now you have to switch back and forth between the main Facebook app and Messenger if you want to send or receive messages.
Maybe Messenger provides a better messaging experience, but it’s a headache for those of us who just send basic messages back and forth on Facebook. I really hate having to open Messenger just to see a message from somebody.
If Messenger is so great then why didn’t Facebook just offer it as an extra option for those who would appreciate and enjoy its features? The rest of us could have just used basic messaging in the Facebook iOS app and skipped having to switch back and forth between the main Facebook app and Messenger.
Facebook and the iPhone’s volume level
Another problem with the Facebook app on iOS is that it somehow manages to screw up the volume level on some people’s iPhones. A redditor recently asked about this in the Apple subreddit and he got some interesting answers.
Viceversa asked his question:
Why does the Facebook app keep messing with my iPhone’s volume level? This has been bugging me for a while, how can an app alter the system volume?
His fellow Apple redditors shared their thoughts about the Facebook app altering the volume of the iPhone:
Eagerblood: “I think it has something to do with the way the Facebook app lowers the volume to auto-play videos, instead of pausing whatever you’re listening to. It’s a nasty bug and I’ve gotten into the habit of closing the app when I’m finished, unfortunately. Maybe Facebook will patch it in one of their “Thanks for using Facebook!” updates.”
Eclipse: “Hopefully. It’s infuriating. I usually turn my tunes up to compensate and end up getting my eardrums blasted.”
Psyxe: “It’s been doing this for more than a dozen Facebook updates, I don’t think they care and it really annoys me.”
MMix: “Uninstall Facebook. Seriously. That’s the one app i will NEVER install on any phone, especially not Android. It’s the biggest battery hog and causes nothing but problems, not to mention the fact of how much they track everything you do. Use Safari in private browsing when you need Facebook.”
Iisshaub: “This was bugging me with my 5s on iOS 7 and it’s still here on my 6+ on iOS 9. Turning off in app sounds and autoplay videos helped but it still happens occasionally.”
Grimmac: “Unfortunately I don’t think is a bug. I think they are trying to be smart and “best” set the volume, also infuriates me.”
I noticed a similar problem on my iPhone 6 Plus, but I had no idea what was going on until I saw that thread on Reddit. I suspect many other iPhone users have probably encountered it as well. Facebook hasn’t been particularly helpful in trying to fix it either.
Skip Facebook’s iOS apps and just use it in Safari
The easiest way around the problems of the Facebook apps is to skip installing them on your iOS devices. If you want to use Facebook, just login via Safari on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Facebook works perfectly in Safari, and you have the added benefit of being able to send and receive messages the usual way instead of having to fiddle with Messenger.
And if you skip installing the two Facebook apps you can also save around 250MB of space on your iOS device. That’s not a huge amount of space, but every little bit helps, particularly if you have an iOS device with a limited amount of storage.
Another benefit of using Facebook in Safari in iOS is the ad blockers that will become available in iOS 9. You cannot block ads in Facebook’s iOS apps, but you will be able to block them on Facebook’s site in Safari. This is going to be a huge advantage for the folks that tire of seeing Facebook’s advertising while using the service.
So if you use Facebook on an iOS device, skip the company’s apps and use Facebook in Safari. You’ll be very glad you did.
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