facebook mobile 5Facebook is one of the most downloaded apps in the world, but yet, it got fairly average app-store reviews for something that is so universally used. There are basically two main points of friction for mobile Facebook users: speed and battery usage. Facebook 5.0 is an attempt to fix the speed problem, and we can hope that some of the battery issues got better as well.

To be fair, Facebook is a web service that consumes quite a bit of data. Things are personalized, so it’s not always easy to cache and there are a lot of data points to fetch, so it’s easy to introduce a ton of network requests, each of which is slow. In version 5.0, Facebook claims that it is 2X faster than previous Facebook for iOS versions. Also, when scrolling down the newsfeed, things should stay smooth. Finally, Facebook says that photos should load “instantly”.

We’re not sure what the Facebook development team did to improve the performance of the apps, but if they managed to reduce the number of network requests, battery life should improve as well.

I’ve tried it on an iPhone 4S and a 3G connection (3/5 bars, Verizon), and I have to say that it is noticeably faster than the old version. The scrolling is smooth, and the while the photos may not appear “instantly”, it is faster than it was before, so I call this good progress. There’s no reason to wait: you should update today.

What is the next thing that you want Facebook to improve in its mobile app?

Filed in Apple >Cellphones. Read more about Apps, Facebook and iOS.

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