After much anticipation and hype, the long awaited Facebook for the iPad was finally released on Monday. I think since it was kept under wraps for so long, that I was expecting something super amazing, and while it’s a nice app, it’s still just Facebook on the iPad.
That said, Facebook for the iPad is definitely worth using over the browser version of Facebook. It’s got everything that you expect to see when using Facebook on your computer, all packaged up in a neat little container.
Your news feed is displayed full screen in portrait mode, and landscape mode shows the news feed plus people who are available for online chatting. Tapping on a name in the chat list takes you to a small chat window where you can use the full landscape keyboard to chat with friends and family. This is an easy to use feature, but it would be nice to have an expandable chat window, since it is rather small.
Status, photos, and locations can be quickly updated using links above the news feed. These links are widely spaced so tapping errors are nearly non-existent. Updating your status opens a small pop-up box, and photos can be uploaded from or taken with your iPad 2. Check-ins list all of the venues around you, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s a search bar. All of these features are simple to use on the iPad thanks to the bigger screen and the larger keyboard.
At the very top of the page there are buttons to quickly access friend requests, messages, and notifications. That’s also where you can turn on the side bar, which lists all of the other Facebook features, such as events, friends list, people who are nearby, and groups.
Your friends list is displayed with large-sized photo icons, making it easy to find a particular person. Tapping events will display all of the events that you’ve been invited to, and display information about them. You can also RSVP at this screen, and view all of the guests.
Nearby opens a full sized map, which shows the check-ins of your friends located around you. Zooming out will allow you to see the locations of friends far away, and zooming in will give you a near-exact location.
Below that you can access your apps, photo albums, and account settings. Tapping a connected app, such as Instagram, will exit Facebook and open the app instead. The photo album interface is really great and one of the main reasons to use the app instead of a browser. It’s fast, and tapping an album will open it and allow you to flip through all of the photos quickly.
Of course, liking statuses and photos is built in. Tapping the thumbs up button on a photo will like it, and there’s a menu to tag people, make photos your profile picture, and to save and delete pictures. Tapping the comment button on a status will open a list of all of the comments in the same space as the chat window, and you can enter a comment or like a status from there. The plus at the bottom of each status will also enter the same comment menu or allow you to like a status right away.
You may have noticed that I’ve used the words fast, easy, quickly, and simple multiple times. Those words basically sum up Facebook on the iPad. The interface is well done and it’s much simpler to navigate and find things than using the browser version of Facebook. Everything loads in a very timely manner, which is especially handy for browsing through photos and profiles.
If you haven’t already downloaded Facebook for the iPad, I highly recommend giving it a try. It may be just another iteration of Facebook, but it’s well-designed and definitely worth using. Facebook for the iPad can be downloaded for free from the App Store.