Facebook’s Android and iPhone apps still aren’t great. The iPhone app has had bugs that cause it to drain battery in the background, and Facebook once even reportedly made its Android app crash on purpose. And don’t even get us started on the Android app’s permissions.
Rather than put up with the awful app, you can use Facebook’s fairly full-featured mobile site instead. Add the website to your home screen and you can launch it in one tap, just like the app. On Android, you can even get push notifications from Facebook via Google Chrome. And if that weren’t enough, you can send and receive messages on the mobile site — without having to download Facebook Messenger!
How to Add the Mobile Site on Android
On Android, you can generally locate the Facebook app icon in your app drawer, long-press it, and drag it to a trash icon or something similar to uninstall it. This may work differently on different phones, depending on the customizations your manufacturer made to your phone’s version of Android. If this doesn’t work, open the Settings page, tap the “Apps” category, tap the “Facebook” app, and tap “Uninstall”.
If there is no “Uninstall” button, it’s likely because your manufacturer preinstalled it on your phone, and you aren’t allowed to uninstall it. A “Disable” button should appear here instead, though; tap that to disable the app instead.
Open your preferred web browser. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll provide instructions for Google Chrome. This process will also work with other web browsers like Mozilla Firefox, but the option may be in a different place. Other browsers likely won’t support push notifications like Google Chrome does, either.
Head to facebook.com in your web browser app and sign in. When you first visit the website, you’ll be informed that Facebook wants to send you notifications. Tap “Allow” and you’ll get Facebook notifications via Google Chrome. This feature will only work in Google Chrome, at least for now, so you’ll need Chrome as your web browser to use it.
If you change your mind later, and don’t want notifications, you can tap the menu button in Chrome, tap “Settings,” tap “Site settings” under Advanced, tap “Notifications,” and remove the notification permission from m.facebook.com.
Next, you’ll want to add the icon to your home screen. In Chrome, tap the menu button and then tap “Add to Home screen.” Other browsers will have similar options in their menus.
A Facebook icon will appear on your home screen alongside your app shortcut icons and widgets, allowing you to get to Facebook with a single tap. You can long-press the icon and drag it around to place it somewhere more convenient.
How to Add the Mobile Site on the iPhone
On the iPhone, you can uninstall the Facebook app by locating the Facebook app icon on your home screen, long-pressing it, and tapping the “x” to uninstall it.
Once you’ve done that, open the Safari web browser and head to facebook.com. Sign in with your Facebook account. Next, tap the “Share” button on the bar at the bottom of the screen — it’s the icon that looks like a square with an up arrow coming out of it — and tap the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the bottom row of action icons.
Facebook will get its own icon on your iPhone’s home screen, and you can quickly tap that icon to quickly open the Facebook website. As Facebook isn’t installed as an app, it won’t be able to run in the background and access your location, which is good — those things drain your battery. You can rearrange the Facebook icon and other app icons as normal. Just long-press it and drag it around to move it to other screens or change its position on the current screen. You could also place it it inside an app folder.
Sadly, the mobile site won’t be able to display notifications on the iPhone. If you really want Facebook notifications, you can always enable email notifications on the Facebook website. You’ll get your Facebook notifications emailed to you, and they’ll appear in Mail or your email app of choice.
Sure, this is an old tip, but it’s amazing how many people are still struggling with Facebook’s app when there’s such a better option available. The mobile site looks almost exactly like the app, and with modern mobile web browsers faster than ever, the Facebook website is pretty snappy. Add in the ability to send messages and (on Android) push notifications, and this is a killer solution.
This also works for other social media services that provide half-decent mobile websites, of course. You could use this same process for Twitter, for example.
Image Credit: opopododo on Flickr