Facebook’s iPhone App Gets New Push and Sync Features

Facebook has made a quiet update to its popular iPhone application today. For any device owner trying to get the most out of the service, it is worth downloading.

One part of the update is the option to receive push notifications — pop-up windows or sounds — when people do any of the following: send you messages, post to your wall, request or confirm your friendship, tag you in a photo, invite you to events or otherwise comment on anything related to you. The web interface already lets you decide whether or not to receive email updates for each of these features, as well as others; the push interface basically mimics those options.

The other part of the update is the ability to sync the profile photo and URL of your Facebook friends with your iPhone contact list. The app appears to match the names of Facebook friends with the names of your iPhone contacts. The URL for each friends’ profile appears as a link within their address book entry that, when clicked on, opens their Facebook profile within the Facebook iPhone app. This is an easy way to get information about your friends’ latest activities before calling them. Within the sync interface, Facebook also interestingly asks users to “make sure your friends are comfortable with any use you make of their information” even though the Facebook terms of service and privacy policies already provide for this sort of usage.

However, at this time there’s no way to export your Facebook friends’ phone numbers or email addresses to your iPhone contacts. But, as before, the Facebook app friend list shows you people who have provided their phone numbers, and clicking through will let you call those numbers using your phone.

Notably, some third-party iPhone apps, like PhoneBook, have already let you pair your Facebook friend’s photos with their entries in the iPhone address book. From what we’ve seen, the Facebook app replaces the photos and other data from those apps with its own.

And, judging from user comments in the iTunes App Store, iPod Touch users have not been able to access the new version of the app. It’s not clear if that’s a bug or what. The number of touch Facebook users appeared to grow considerably over the holidays as third-party studies indicated people received the device for Christmas then went and downloaded the Facebook app to use over their WiFi connections. On our end, we saw the app grow significantly, starting on Christmas and continuing up until now.

It now has 23.5 million monthly active users, nearly half of whom use it every day, making the app one of the most heavily used on Facebook’s platform. Today’s update is its biggest since the 3.0 version release earlier this summer; the last release included the additions of versions in Chinese and Japanese. Still to come, according to the app’s previous roadmap, is the addition of site-wide searches that you can save.

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Leave a Reply

16 Responses to “Facebook’s iPhone App Gets New Push and Sync Features”

  1. Lane Rapp says:

    Thanks for the update. BTW, Genwi is offering free customized iPhone apps for anyone!


    Demo->Daily Californian http://bit.ly/11Ck7I


    Join this week and Android app market is a bonus Jan15th

  2. Daniel Karpantschof says:


    Using iPhone with Google App over ActiveSync/Exchange.

    After sync with the new facebook app all contacts where deleted from phone.

  3. Eric Eldon says:

    Daniel, sorry to hear that.

  4. Matt Regan says:

    Bummer Daniel, I did the same thing and all my contacts are safe. Keep backups.

  5. Tibor Havlik says:


    set the “Contacts’ pictures” in gmail settings to “Only show pictures that I’ve chosen for my contacts” and you won’t have any problems with the syncing.

  6. Alex says:

    I have an iPod touch 2G and the contacts sync works great, but I’m not getting any push notifications… WTF?!

  7. reid says:

    also having trouble with the sync in conjunction with google contact sync (i’m using google apps with my own domain in this case). seems to start okay and then fail midway through.. but when i go to my contacts i typically see some combination of these things:

    * dupes
    * many contacts actually seem to have photos and fb profile links!
    * or totally blank contacts

    luckily, after the contacts have gone blank (this has happened twice now) i’ve just waited a few minutes and they’ve synced back up with google (and the dupes are gone – bonus).

    i tried the “only show pictures that i’ve chosen for my contacts” but unfortunately i’m still getting the error before it finishes successfully.

    iphone 3gs

  8. smailpouri says:

    Like Daniel im using Active Sync/Exchange, i didn’t have all my contact deleted but all my contact who were on facebook, were duplicated on my iPhone contact, but the weird thing is that it doesn’t affect the contacts in my google account, this is really weird, i think ill wait to use this new feature.

    @reid yeah same thing here too.

  9. gabe says:

    Same problem as smailpuri here

  10. Ryan Ray says:

    Same Here — duplicated contacts on iPhone with Google Sync and Facebook’s new Contact Sync. It’s a great idea, but apparently there are still some kinks..

    Strangely, like smailpouri says, it doesn’t affect my contacts in Google, just the contacts on the iPhone.

  11. Dagens intressanta says:

    [...] att ladda ner och ger dig möjligheter att utnyttja applikationen betydligt mer än tidigare. http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/01/06/facebooks-iphone-app-gets-new-push-and-sync-features/ Inside Facebook: “App Developers Making Last Ditch Efforts to Get Bookmarks Through [...]

  12. Sam says:

    Im having trouble everytime i use fb chat it tells me mssg cnt be devilred nd that really pisses me off is this so post to be push notification not the old fb so everythin should work prefectly fine but its not

  13. howlback says:

    What this blog isn’t pointing out is that you send ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS to Facebook, including: name, number, and email. Do you want your customers getting email from Facebook? When they ask if “your friends are comfortable” with this, the app is not referring to your Facebook friends, it’s referring to your real friends. Friends who perhaps have gone to the trouble of having an unlisted number! Watch out! They are mining some serious data here, and collecting information from YOU that your FB friends may not have given them.

  14. Facebook Hits Back Against Uproar over Phone Syncing says:

    [...] there was a similar outcry back in January when Facebook rolled out address book syncing for the Apple [...]

  15. Facebook Hits Back Against Uproar over Phone Syncing :: SuperIndia Times says:

    [...] Meanwhile, there was a similar outcry back in January when Facebook rolled out address book syncing for the Apple [...]

  16. Facebook Hits Back Against Uproar over Phone Syncing | ironshieldtechng.com says:

    [...] there was a similar outcry back in January when Facebook rolled out address book syncing for the Apple [...]

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