TECH TIP: An alternative to the useless Facebook for iPhone app


I've had an iPhone since 2009. From day one, I had the Facebook for iPhone app installed. It has always been slow to keep up with feature updates, but was nonetheless acceptable for use accessing Facebook. Since the last update was sent out it has become utterly useless (no, it's not your phone!). It won't load the news feed properly, virtually no access to the message inbox, and more problems uploading photos. I'm done. I deleted it and I've found a free and easy to apply alternative that, in my opinion, works much better than the app ever did.


The Solution

When the iPhone first got push notifications in OS 3.0, the Facebook app was MONTHS behind. I found an app called Boxcar that offered to send meĀ notificationsĀ from Facebook that Facebook itself was not competent enough to send me. At the time, Boxcar was not free, but since has become a free (ad supported) download from the Apple App Store. Boxcar is not the only app that offers this service, but it is one I'm proud to endorse as it has been virtually trouble-free. Boxcar also will send push notifications for my email accounts (I use gmail for both my personal and business email.)

Step 1 - Download Boxcar, free (ad supported) from the app store.

Step 2 - Once it is installed, you'll need to set up a boxcar account.

Step 3 -Touch "Add a service." You'll see options for Twitter, Facebook, Email accounts, and more.

Step 4 -Touch "Facebook Account" and sign into your Facebook account. Facebook will ask for permission to allow Boxcar to access your account. The answer is "yes."

Step 5 - There are personalized options to choose from - What sound will it play when you receive a notification? Do you want notifications and messages? It also has a "quiet time" option so you won't get notified when that friend of yours that notices that cool status update of yours at 3 am. Where it says "Opens:" is where you'll decide what Boxcar will do when you receive a notification and immediately "Swipe to view." The best option is to choose "touch.facebook.com" It will open Safari and take you to m.facebook.com to view facebook there. It is just like the app except that it works properly AND you have the option to "like" comments on posts.

Uploading photos from your phone with Boxcar

(This may seem cumbersome, but I assure you after you've done it a couple times, it is actually easier than dealing with the Facebook for iPhone app.)

Open Safari on your phone and go to m.facebook.com. At the top right you'll see "MORE." Touch that. In the dropdown, touch "PHOTOS." At the very top of the screen, touch "UPLOAD PHOTOS." There you will be given a personal email address to send mobile uploads to.

Go into your iPhone contacts and save the email address under "FACEBOOK PHOTO." Now open your camera. Touch the bottom left corner to access your photos. At the top left, touch "CAMERA ROLL." Touch the symbol at the bottom left of the screen. This will allow you to "SELECT ITEMS." You can touch up to 4 (maybe less depending on the file size of the photo) photos and touch "SHARE" at the bottom left. Options will appear for "EMAIL" or "MMS." Touch email and the mail app will open. Start typing FACEBOOK PHOTO and it should auto fill the address. In the subject line is where you will type the caption for your photo. (Note: If you choose more than one photo, it will apply the same caption entered in the subject line to all the photos sent in that one email.) Once the email is sent, open Safari and go to m.facebook.com and see your photo. Here you will be able to tag people in the photo.

The last step is to delete the Facebook for iPhone app from your phone, and make sure to go to the app store and leave a nasty comment for the developers to see that yet another user has dropped their app. They need to get on the ball. Google+ is coming.

As a side note, I STRONGLY recommend using gmail for email on your iPhone. It can be set up as an Exchange Account which allows two things - 1. Your email is INSTANTLY sent to your phone. You don't have to wait for your phone to push every 15 minutes to get emails. 2. Your contacts and calendars can be synced with Google Sync. Basically, that means that your phone is connected to your Google account and your calendar entries and ALL CONTACTS are backed up with Google. If your phone is stolen, dropped in the toilet, or just becomes unusable, all you have to do is sign into the replacement phone and your contacts and calendars INSTANTLY appear. It is also handy for couples. My wife's iPhone and my iPhone are synced through Google Sync so that when she adds an entry to her calendar it shows in mine and vice versa. I, the husband, no longer have the excuse that I 'didn't know' because it's right there on my phone. You're welcome ladies.

I've become pretty handy with the iPhone, so if you have any other questions, shoot me a message and I'll help where I can.

CP
Posted on July 20, 2011 .