Apple added Twitter integration with iOS 5 on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. Although the new feature made it easy to tweet, Facebook sharing did not come for the ride –until now, anyway.
Updating to iOS 6 will allow you to perform a few basic tasks on Facebook directly from your iDevice without opening the official app. The new firmware will arrive sometime this fall, but we’ll checkout what Facebook is all about on our iPad 3 running iOS 6 Beta 1.
Disclaimer: Since this is a beta iOS, some features may be added, modified or deleted with the official release.
To start using Facebook, you’ll need to navigate to the Settings Panel on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and log in to your account. Just as with Twitter, this only needs to be done once.
Now immediately after signing in, your device will disclose that Facebook will:
- Sync your Facebook friends with the Contact app.
- Sync your Facebook events with the Calendar app.
- Allow you to post status updates, photos, and other content to Facebook.
- Enable apps to work with your Facebook account, with your permission.
If you prefer, you can disable access to your Calendar and Contacts list after signing on. Now, let’s see these four options in action.
I was a little disappointed with how the Facebook integration handled my Contact list. From what I understood, the new feature would add information to my existing contacts. While this was the case in some instances, it created duplicates of many of them. If I had Charlie Smith, for example, Charles Smith from my FB friends list would be added as well.
Names with only a city and birthday (and Facebook profile link) were also added. I fail to see the benefit of having these contacts without an address or phone number to go along with them. In fact, every single person on my Facebook friends list was added to my Contacts. Since I don’t hold meaningful conversations with all of my Facebook friends, this was less than ideal.
In a future beta, and hopefully the official release of iOS 6, I would like the option of selecting which contacts import what. For now, I deactivated this feature and my contact list returned to its previous state.
Sure enough, moments after logging on with my Facebook account, important dates from within the social network appeared on my Calendar app. My calendar was filled with events and friends’ birthdays.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much information was available when selecting a Facebook event. Clicking on an event’s details button will bring up a list of invited guests along with their replies: accepted, declined, maybe and no reply. There’s also a link to view the event on Facebook, although this option didn’t work for me. In all fairness, this could be an issue with the Facebook app itself, which does not have a great history of reliability.
In a future update, I would love to see the ability to join or decline an event directly from the Calendar app.
Posting to Facebook
After selecting a photo from my Camera Roll on my iPad 3, I was greeted with a few sharing options including Twitter, Facebook and Weibo. Selecting Facebook will bring up the familiar Twitter sharing popup.
There are a few extra options you can choose here. You may attach a location and comment to go along with your photo. You may also choose your audience (who has access to view the photo), and the preferred album. If you don’t select an album, the photo will post to your Facebook profile under the default iOS Photos name.
The notification center will also allow you to tap to post and tap to tweet.
iTunes and App Store
Apple’s iOS 6 brings an updated iTunes and App Store allowing you to share or like songs, albums, movies and apps. This isn’t really big news but it may help determine which apps or songs are more popular.
Regarding apps that offer native Facebook compatibility, we’ll know more when the official iOS 6 is released this fall.
I’ve been waiting for Facebook integration on my iPhone and iPad for quite some time. All, if not most of my friends use the social network and would appreciate the easier compatibility.
I do have a few concerns regarding privacy in using future apps compatible with the social network. Will they alert me when accessing my Facebook account? Will apps post on my wall, or have access to my events?
I would also welcome changes to how Facebook deals with my Contacts and Events. Let me choose whether to import new contacts and let me RSVP to events directly from Calendar. Other than these small issues, and for the first beta release, the Facebook Integration works great.
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