Facebook has released a major update to its iOS app with version 3.5, which overhauls much of the user interface, as well as incorporates some much-needed privacy consistency between its web and mobile versions.
In terms of straight functionality, Facebook says it’s “made it easier to share with who you want,” which would appear to be in line with the recent stream of updates to its web version that come in response to Google+ and its popular Circles feature.
Included in this share-with-who-you-want category is the ability to tag friends and places in posts, which we’ve all likely been doing on the web version for some time now. To add a friend to a post, just click the “+” icon in the left corner of the status update window, and a list will pop up with all your contacts. Choose everyone you want to include by clicking their names, and then click done.
The one annoying thing about this feature is that, when you choose a friend’s name, the app automatically displays ” — with YOUR FRIEND,” rather than just your friend’s name. And you can’t delete the “— with” part, either. Why Facebook would do this, we have no idea. Doing something with a friend isn’t the only reason we’d put their name in a status update, after all. This needs to be fixed, fast.
By clicking the icon in the right corner, you can choose whether to share your post publicly, only with friends, or only with pre-made lists of friends.
Facebook has also added the ability to open external links in-app, and to instantly share it (and comment on it, if you so desire) with your friends. This worked fairly well, but appeared a bit clunky, without much ability to customize how the link displays. Not a big deal. And we’d certainly rather have this functionality less than perfect than not at all.
Both Profiles and Group Wall pages of the app received a design overhaul that streamlines the look and functionality, and brings cohesion between the app and the recent design changes to Facebook on the web. All good here, from what we can tell from our brief test.
Last but not least, Facebook has incorporated its recent round of privacy updates into the mobile version, so that everything’s consistent across all platforms.
Of course, the thing everyone is waiting for is the Facebook app for iPad, which is still hiding in the wings. Some say, however, that it should arrive soon, possibly at the f8 conference, which takes place on September 22.
Bugs and fixes with v3.5 include:
• Improved Notifications speed • Fixed a number of Chat bugs • Made it easier to select filters in News Feed • Fixed a bug with the Notifications bar disappearing • Fixed a number of Photos bugs • Improved performance and stability overall
All-in-all, this is a solid update. If you already have the app, now would be a good time to download the current version.