I vehemently disliked the old Facebook app for iPhone and iPad. It was slow, moody, and there was no such thing as "instant notification." Using the Facebook app on my iPhone was always an exercise in frustration.

Apparently Facebook has heard our screams of anguish. Today they released version 5.0 for iOS, and it is remarkably faster.

New Vs Old

Visually, Facebook 5.0 doesn't look much different. There are a few label changes, and the status buttons are slightly different, but for the most part they didn't change much. That's saying a lot. This app has been completely re-written from its predecessor.

Previous versions of the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad were basically "shells." They were a graphical wrapper that pulled in the mobile version of Facebook's website from the web. That's why it took everything so long to load. Every time you we would request something in the app, the app would have to contact the Facebook mothership, access the data, retrieve it, and then write it on your screen. Not the most efficient process.

However, version 5 is completely re-coded in HTML 5, Apple's language of choice, that's totally native to iOS. That means it only has to pull data from the Facebook mothership and the app can be drawn locally. That's a huge time saver.

And it really shows. The app is twice as fast as it used to be, and notifications are almost instantaneous now. So when someone likes your comment about "Veggiesauruses," you'll know about it almost instantly. Of course there are still going to be times when you see the loading wheel, but they aren't as common as they used to be.


Get it. It's a free update for your iPhone or iPad (sorry, no Android version yet) and it drastically improves the Facebook experience.