May 20 2013

Why I ditched the Facebook mobile app

This would seem like something silly to write about. Why would it matter that I uninstalled on app from my cell phone? Because this serves as a prime case where several minor issues have ruined my experience to the point where the app is no longer worth having on my device.

Now, my phone is a very modest, rather low end Android device running a stock version of Android 2.3.4. That is the source of some of these issues, but I shouldn’t have to buy a new phone just to run one app that should be rather basic, should I?

That being said, let’s get into the reasons I ditched the official Facebook app.
The app refused to be able to be moved to my SD card. My phone is a rather low end android device, with limited onbord storage. The result is I move every app to SD card. The problem? The Facebook app does not allow such, meaning it and its 40MB of data hog up my incredibly small on-board storage, causing the phone to often give the classic android “running low on space” message.

The app preformed incredibly slow all around, even when completely removed and freshly re-installed. Sometimes it would simply refuse to ever load any new posts or images. When one is mobile, they often only check such when they have a minute to spare and want to see what is going on with their friends. Why then should they have to wait, or try multiple times, just to get a picture to load?  This point is made even more absurd by the fact that the actual mobile web version of Facebook loads and preforms quite quickly, and in general has all the features one would use the official app for, such as checking into locations, which actually wants to work correctly on the mobile site, rather than give you every suggestion but where you are via the app.

The only thing I will miss from the official app is the integration of my contacts list. It was convenient to not have to put phone numbers into my phone, but at the same time, I can’t exactly rely on information on Facebook to be accurate (some friends have changed numbers but not updated their pages to reflect such) and I would rather have proper backups to my google accounts, as it seems Facebook information was not stored to the phone or to your synced accounts, just simply “available” for use by the phone for dialing and profile picture reasons.

Otherwise, though, having the free space and the faster, albeit less appealing mobile interface is a better decision than using the actual app that facebook developed for their service.

What does this say about their work? When other social media apps keep their storage footprint low, allow you to move them to SD card, and actually cleans up after itself, rather than growing into a 30+ mb monster on my low-end phone, why can’t the Facebook app do the same?

That’s not to say that all around the app is bad: I’m certain many aspects of it’s behavour are the fact that my phone is rather low end hardware; I am sure the app runs better on more modern or more powerful phones and tablets running newer android versions, but it makes you wonder what goes through the head of app developers who know they are designing software for possibly very low-end machines.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.xadara.com/why-i-ditched-the-facebook-mobile-app/

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