Facebook for iPhone 3.3.3 Updates Notifications Interface, Freezes More Often

The recently released version 3.3.3 of the Facebook for iPhone mobile app has been released. It includes an updated notifications interface, the restored ability to post as Page you admin, and various performance, reliability, and memory improvements. However, this release freezes more than previous updates, frustrating users by requiring them to restart their iPhone or re-download the app.

Facebook for iPhone 3.3.1 introduced significant new functionalities, including Groups, Deals, and advanced Places features, while 3.3.2 added quick links to a user’s account and privacy settings as well as the ability to add photos to a specific album. The Facebook for iPhone app has always been the most advanced to way interact with Facebook from a mobile device, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was looking to make the Android app just as powerful. Two December updates to the Facebook for Android app, which introduced Places, Groups, Chat, and push notifications have left the app for Google’s mobile OS only a small step behind the iPhone.

Users who download the update will notice a new look to notifications. Each notification includes a photo of the friend who generated the notification, and users can click anywhere on a notification’s pane to be brought to that activity. Facebook has removed the separate links which allowed users to navigate directly to the profile of a friend who generated the notification.

The ability to publish as a Page a user is an admin of has been restored after being eliminated in a previous update. This functionality is important because it let admins make timely updates from their iPhone to the feeds of those who Like their Page, such as about the team a Page represents winning a sporting match, or about the weather at an outdoor venue. Oddly different than on the web version of Facebook, though, admins must have Liked their own Page in order to publish to it.

The iPhone app has been updated to hide the wall post composer from walls a user isn’t allowed to post to, such as that of a friend who’s privacy settings prevent anyone from posting to their wall. Photo uploading to Groups has also been fixed. Places has received various back-end improvements which should speed up the location service for some users. Other performance improvements include enhanced reliability in Messages and Chat, better memory usage, and the fix of numerous crashes.

There are still some issues with the latest version of Facebook for iPhone even while using the latest software and hardware, evident from more negative reviews in the App Store than usual. If users click the “Account” button then immediately click another icon, the screen will dim and freeze, forcing them to turn their phone off and on or re-download the app from the App Store in order to resume normal usage.

When users click through notifications for Likes or comments on one of their photos, they won’t see that feedback until they drag the post down to refresh. This leads users to think the notifications were a mistake. Photos should automatically reload when accessed via notifications to alleviate this problem.

Facebook’s policy of pushing updates often can occasionally lead to problems in its mobile apps, especially for users who haven’t installed the latest software updates for their device. By adding a prompt to install these OS updates on the app’s download page, some issues which hurt confuse users and degrade their perception of Facebook could be prevented.