Hello interweb, my old friend… I’ve come to speak to you again. So it’s been a while, huh? My apologies! Cyber-slapping in retribution aside, today I’ll be talking about one of the more useful iPhone apps – Facebook – and more specifically an interesting update it has recently had.
So as I mentioned, the Facebook app had a major update, around a month ago (I know, I’m behind the times…. shocking effort…) which included the ability to receive ‘push‘ updates & synchronisation of the important bits of your Facebook contacts with your iPhone. In case you don’t already know, a ‘Push’ update is one that doesn’t require you to connect to anything to get it, i.e you can have your iPhone in your pocket and as soon as you get a wall post/ comment etc, it will instantly notify your iPhone and pop up a little notification – not unlike a text, for example. I wrote an article a little while back explaining push and so-forth for GMail on your iPhone, you can find it here.
“It’s all very handy!”, I hear you say, “but what’s the point?”. Well now. Aside from anything else, push notifications utilise a connection which is already open (i.e your phone’s connection to its network) to notify you of any updates/activity on whatever is being pushed. So the point there is, aside from convenience, you save a bunch of power (a big deal to us iPhone owners!). You won’t have to open your phone, open the app, and wait for it to load new entries until you can find out whether or not you have new messages etc.
So that’s all of that ‘boring’, ‘nerdy’, ‘unexciting’ stuff out of the way (you’re all crazy people for thinking that), so let’s get down to the really exciting bit. Contact sync (okay, I know it’s still nerdy, but what did you expect from me, huh?). So you can now use the Facebook app on your iPhone to sync all of the photos from your Facebook friend’s profiles, right to the contacts on your iPhone. It will also add phone numbers and emails to existing contacts, if you don’t already have them listed (note: it currently does not add new contacts to you iPhone for any reason, even if there’s a contact with a phone number you don’t have on there already. You’ll have to do that yourself!). Finally, it adds a handy little link to each contact it finds which, if pressed, takes you from the contact list on your iPhone right to that contact’s page in the Facebook app. Cool, no?
So why not set it up? Let’s. Open up your Facebook app in your iPhone (or iPod Touch), select ‘Friends’ from the main menu, and you should see a ‘Sync’ button on the top right of the window. Give that a press and it’ll bring you to a page not unlike this one:
So what you want to do is slide that ‘Syncing’ bar to ‘On’, and you’ll be confronted by a big scary legal spiel like this one.
Don’t worry about all jargon – all it is basically saying is that it needs you to confirm that you think your friends are okay with you copying their profile pictures to your phone. If you are indeed OK with that, go ahead and press ‘Agree’, and it’ll start to trawl through your iPhone and Facebook Contacts and match them together.
Personally, I selected the ‘Replace Photos’ option, as I didn’t have many contact pictures on my iPhone anyway, and I don’t mind having them all update to my Facebook friend’s latest profile pictures. That’s all up to you though. So what do you think of this functionality? Have I just wasted a perfectly good 10 minutes of your life reading this article? Or do you think it’s the cat’s pyjamas? Let us know in the comments below. [NOTE: please refrain from using hideously uncool phrases like "cat's pyjamas"!]