Some Facebook users now have the option to sync their iPhone photos to a private album on the social network. This feature was previously available for the Android app but is newly being tested on iOS.
Photo syncing helps users save their mobile photos to the cloud and makes them easy to share on Facebook. Google has had a similar option called “Instant Upload” for Android and Google+ since it launched its own social network in 2011. Facebook replicated the feature on Android earlier this year. However, perhaps because of development challenges on iOS or because iOS users may be less familiar with the option, Facebook did not begin offering it on Apple’s operating system until now.
Photo syncing could encourage users to share more images on the social network, while also serving as backup storage for users who aren’t already saving photos to another cloud service. Facebook will store up to 2GB of photos. Google+, on the other hand, has unlimited storage. However, so far Facebook hasn’t positioned the feature as an alternative to Dropbox or Apple’s Photo Stream. Instead, it highlights that users can “get the photos in your camera roll to Facebook automatically.” This might not be appealing to users who are more distrustful of Facebook. The company tries to make it clear — using boldface and an underline — that photos stay private until users decide to share them.
Users who are in the initial test group can turn on photo syncing by visiting the photos section of the Facebook for iOS app — this is possible from a user’s own Timeline or from the bookmarks menu. Users can tap “sync” from the bottom of their screen if it is available. So as not to consume a user’s data plan, Facebook will sync photos at a smaller file size if users are on a cellular network. When users are on Wi-Fi, which does not cut into a user’s data plan, Facebook will sync larger versions of photos. Users have the choice to sync over Wi-Fi only if they wish.
More details are available from Facebook’s Help Center.