Facebook updates iPhone app with stickers and Chat Heads; iPad gets new design

Facebook today announced updates for its iOS apps, which bring new messaging features to iPhone and the new News Feed design to both the iPad and iPhone.

Facebook will begin offering “stickers,” which are larger emoji that are popular in Asian messaging apps like Line, KakaoTalk and WeChat. Stickers are a key source of revenue for these and other third-party apps. Facebook announced a “sticker store,” but for now, the stickers are free to download.

Facebook also introduced Chat Heads, a feature that allows users to read and respond to messages from whatever section of the app they’re in. Chat Heads are a big component of Facebook Home, but on Android they are accessible at any point, even if a user is on their homescreen or within another app such as Maps. This isn’t possible right now in iOS so the feature is limited to use while Facebook for iPhone is open.

The update for iPhone and iPad also includes the redesigned News Feed and filters, like what the company debuted and made available on desktop in March. Link shares and page Like stories include larger images, and check-ins include a map. Separate feeds for music, photos, pages and other categories are available by scrolling to the top of News Feed and pulling down. Users will see the new News Feed on their iOS device, even if they haven’t upgraded their desktop version.

Within the messaging section of the app, there are small additions including photo filters and a “shared photos” album that lets users quickly access images that they exchanged with a friend through private messages, similar to what email clients often include. A new photo enhancement, which can be combined with traditional filters, is also available. Users can tap the sun icon before they share a photo to make the colors more dramatic. A popular Instagram feature works similarly and also uses a sun symbol.