The Facebook app is the devil. And we’re not even going acknowledge Facebook itself. Let’s just focus on the app. A friend of mine who owns the latest iPhone 6 asked me if there’s a Facebook Lite app for iPhone (Facebook released it only for Android).
The Facebook app is infamous for draining your battery, always running in the background, and causing general havoc. And it has no signs of showing improvement. Even shipping off Messenger to a different app didn’t help.
My iPhone 5 runs pretty smoothly. Scrolling Twitter, Instagram, and RSS on it is smoother than on my OnePlus One. But Facebook is the only app that stutters now and then. And I could certainly do with increased battery life.
If you face the same problems – let me tell you about a third party app called Friendly for Facebook and why you should be using it instead of the official Facebook app.
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1. It’s Fast and Web-based
Much like Facebook Lite for Android, Friendly puts a wrapper around Facebook’s web interface. But it does it in a way that it’s not immediately obvious you’re using Facebook’s mobile website. Plus, it supports notifications so there’s a good mix of native app and web.
It’s amazing how fast Friendly is. Even on a not-so-fast 3G connection. Scrolling is butter smooth. If you’re an old fashioned Facebook user, you can even sort your timeline as Most Recent instead of Top Stories.
Alternative to Friendly for Facebook: If you live in the US and want to ditch the Official Facebook app, take a look at Facebook’s own Paper app. It’s not available worldwide and it’s more of an experiment but much like Friendly, it doesn’t come with the majority of Facebook app’s issues.
2. Messenger Comes Built-In
Again, this is the web interface, but you can message your friends and have a conversation from within Friendly. If this works well for you, you can very well delete the Messenger app along with the Facebook app.
I’m personally not going to do that. I like Facebook Messenger, especially now that it has third party apps. In my testing, I found that notifications for messages in Friendly were not prompt. But I was surprised that the app could even deliver them – with the app being web based and all.
Friendly also lets you password protect the app. If you’re in college, this feature alone might convince you to switch to Friendly. I mean, whatever you can do to save yourself from the “I love to poop” troll status updates left by your friends, right?
The app disables Facebook ads by default. This means you won’t be seeing annoying Facebook ads anymore. You are also free from Facebook’s ad tracking.
But the app itself will show iAds banner ads now and then. If it’s any consolation, iAds is probably less evil when it comes to tracking your personal data via ads than Facebook and Google.
The good thing is that the app gives you a way out. You can pay $2.99 to enable ad blocker. This will block all ads in Friendly and all ads and trackers on the websites you visit using the app’s built-in browser. That might just be worth the 3 bucks.
Successes and Grievances
The Facebook apps take 2-3 seconds to load my news feed after I launch the app. And it’s a native app. With Friendly, I don’t have to wait nearly as long. For me, this is a big win for Friendly.
But let’s look at Friendly’s losses. It doesn’t support Groups. The Messaging section is a hit and miss and… that’s pretty much it.
Friendly is a solid alternative that doesn’t have the Facebook app’s problems. Plus, it adds awesome features like multiple logins, ad blocker, password protection, and more. Did you give Friendly for Facebook a try? What did you think of it? Share your views in the comments below.