Facebook update, Timeline finally arrives in iOS app

Dec 19, 2011
Tech

A few days after updating its app for Google’s Android devices and bucking the trend of history, Facebook has rolled out the latest features for its service on its mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad. A host of new Facebook features hit the app with the release of update 4.1. Facebook users can now […]

A few days after updating its app for Google’s Android devices and bucking the trend of history, Facebook has rolled out the latest features for its service on its mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad.

A host of new Facebook features hit the app with the release of update 4.1. Facebook users can now access their profiles with the new Timeline feature which allows users to arrange their personal information chronologically so people can see their lives changing over time, as well as a whole lot of new stuff that makes Facebook function a little differently.

For one, according to TechCrunch, photos seem to load faster in 4.1, and Facebook in general feels more responsive. The app now allows you to add friends to specific lists when you add them as friends, and also includes the “Subscriptions” and “Subscribers” features that have shown up on Facebook’s website. These allow you to subscribe to different particular users or pages and see updates from them, as well as see who subscribes to your updates.

Facebook hasn’t rolled out the Timeline update for its iPad app just yet, but the company says that the new version of the app is coming. The delay for all the iOS app updates in general is an interesting one: Facebook launched its updated apps for Android last week, but it took a day or two for the update to make its way to Apple’s platform. This could be nothing – perhaps a delay in Apple approving the updates – but it’s also the first time that Facebook has launched an app or update on Google’s platform before Apple’s, and it’s possible that that’s significant. We did recently hear that there are now more Android mobile Facebook users than iOS.

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Up until the launch of the update, Apple users could only access the Timeline feature and other new Facebook stuff through the mobile web version of Facebook.com. That’s still the case for iPad owners, unless they’re willing to use the Facebook for iPhone version of the app, which is still compatible with Apple’s tablet.

Regardless of the story with apps and updates, however, Facebook’s latest version of its mobile apps are likely to change the way you use Facebook on your mobile devices. New notifications activate pop-up windows or half-screen takeovers rather than sending you to a separate page, which means browsing Facebook in general is quicker and easier. Some features, like the Timeline Activity Log, haven’t made their way into the updates just yet, so it’s likely that Facebook will have another update for us on the horizon.

A survey from market research firm Nielsen recently reminded us that Facebook is the most-used app on both major mobile platforms, so any time Facebook brings out big new features, it’s something of an event. Users may already be mixed on the Timeline feature, but that doesn’t mean that lots of iPhone and iPad owners won’t soon have a bunch of new Facebook features to play with.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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