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Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Push Notifications, Contact Sync

It seems like forever ago that Facebook promised push notification support in version 3.1 of its incredibly popular iPhone app (iTunes link). Now it has arrived, just in time to usher in 2010. 3.1 brings the promised push notifications, and also the ability to sync your Facebook contacts with your iPhone’s Address Book for a more seamless communication experience.

Right away upon opening the app, you’ll be asked if you want to enable push notifications, and you’ll also encounter a dialog box asking you about contact syncing. Turning syncing on will automatically add links to the Facebook profiles of all the people it finds in your address book, and you can also choose to replace the photos for those contacts with their Facebook profile pictures.

As for the push notifications, they apply whenever someone sends you a new message, or whenever you receive a new wall post, friend request, friend confirmation, photo tag, event invitations and updates, and comments. If that seems like a lot, you can go ahead and selectively disable any options you don’t want to receive a push notification about. I’m actually very happy with the implementation. It means I can disable email updates for most of those things. Here’s what it looks like when you receive a message. Not too much info, but it gets the job done.

Contact syncing seems to be a little hiccupy at the moment, but that might only be because I’m also using MobileMe to sync my address book across all computers. It does appear to be working very slowly despite some error messages, though, but I find that the “fb://” format links don’t open anything on the Mac. Probably because the Facebook app developers didn’t count on people who have a desktop syncing system implemented. They automatically launch the FB app on the iPhone, though.

What do you think? Well done, or were you looking for more from Facebook push?

120 Responses to “Facebook iPhone App Update Brings Push Notifications, Contact Sync”

  1. thomas040

    Alan Nielsen:
    Generelt – > mail, calendars and adresses -> push notifications: ON

    Wow, we are really sharing all of our personal content with the big corps now….

    • This is wrong, the iPhones push notifications do not use your phones internet connection, they are delivered over the carrier signal. Hence why you can still get push notifications when don’t have any internet connectivity.

  2. is there any facebook app that syncs contacts photos with your phone by matching phone numbers and not 1st and last names? everyone in my phone has a nick name! is there any app that finds matches cia phone number?

  3. Thomasman

    Mine is not working for some reason… Every time I go to the facebook app, and then click sync in the friends option, facebook cloess? I need help, write back :)

  4. Does anybody know how to turn off the sync? I saw that one page pop up and ask if I wanted to sync, I said sure cause I figured I just turned it off. My entire phone has been acting funny and I know FB is the cause of it. Can I de-update or where can I go to get that screen again? Thnx

  5. push notifications are great, but itd be great if it opened the actual message/comment instead of the notifications page.

    my biggest gripe is with syncing. upon syncing, all my contacts pictures were replaced, despite me not setting the slider on replace profile pictures in the app. There was an update the next day that said it had bug fixes for syncing, but it still seems to overwrite whats there regardless of what you ask.

    another useful feature would be manual syncing. some of my friends on facebook dont have the same name as in contacts “Joe ‘idiot’ blogs” for example, and are therefore not synced. would be great if i could do them myself.

    only 2 more things i want now, groups support, and wall to wall views!

  6. Brendan

    Even with “Replace Photos” set to “off”, it replaced all my custom photos with the facebook ones. Also, the facebook ones will not appear full-screen when the person calls, just as a small pic in the top right corner when they call. What crap.

  7. Does anyone know why these synced pictures only appear as small images in the upper right as opposed to occupying the whole screen when receiving a call? Is this possible to fix?

  8. Aircraft711

    What about the re-syncing of contacts? What if you need to resync or add people that didn’t connect on the first go round of syncing but really are on facebook? Does anyone know how they link the contacts on your phone to the facebook pages? Is it the email or name??

  9. Inderdeep Gill

    Thanks for letting my know how to display the notifications like I wanted to.

    But I think your getting confused on the specific notifications, I know how to change those settings. But I want to know which ones to do via the actual web version of facebook, if you go to facebook normally and click settings, then notifications there’s a huge choice in more detail – all of which I have turned on for email.

    That’s what I mean, sorry if I confused you.

  10. You can disable the blue popups by using the standard iPhone Settings app. Go into the Setting app, select “Notification”, then “Facebook”, and there you can disable alerts.

  11. Inderdeep Gill

    What exactly is pushed? I know they have listed, comments, photo tags etc but what exactly…?

    ALL comments? like status, wall post comments, tagged status comments, photo comments?

    ALL photo tags? tags of your own photos (even ones your not in), tags of only photos your in, someone tagging your photo?

    Just so I know what email notifications to turn off, because if they will get pushed I’ll end up getting loads of duplicates.

    Also is there any way to have the sound/vibrate function and just a badge – I dont really want the blue box popping up every so often.

  12. Maximus

    Where is it exactly that you can selectively disable which notifications that come in. I’m with Christian, i can’t seem to find a settings tab or anything.

  13. Ben Jones

    The pictures that sync to your contacts seem to be extremely low quality. So low, in fact, that the people are unrecognizable when both zoomed and unzoomed.

  14. Christian

    I can’t find where you edit the settings for the new push notification feature. (whether on my iPhone’s facebook app or on the computer. Anyone know where these settings can be found??

  15. I’m hoping a future update will allow you to link Facebook profiles to contacts with nicknames, the way MyPhone+ does now. Showing you a list, and letting you choose the appropriate match. Suggesting near-matches and the like. Very handy =]:

  16. On push notifications – I got a friend request and never got a push notification. So that is a bit rough. Or the friend request came in before, I am not sure.

    On contact sync – it worked flawless with me. I had no issues, update contacts and contact photos. The names have to match word for word in the address book and Facebook. So best of luck if you have nicknames and / or not last names.

    Other than that, it worked great. Synced with my MobileMe and all the contacts now have pictures in my Address Book.

    Thumbs up from me.

  17. The friends list is pretty useful even without syncing. The handset icon to show you that there is a phone number in their profile is great. You could almost rely on Facebook to keep your contacts updated, but lots of people don’t put their numbers on there.

  18. Don Montalvo

    I’m not sure I’d trust *any* iPhone application to sync to my contacts. MobileMe has enough sync issues, the last thing I’d want to do is toss in yet another sync routine.

    Don Montalvo, TX

    • You are right, this created duplicate contacts that I now cannot remove and the new update didn’t even download my contacts facebook picture. This update is crap… wait it out for another version.

    • yes, mobileme was really uncomfy 4 me and i returned it ….i do love apple n all their products, but it felt like mobileme was a ring in provider who was really lacking the great service attitude apple has…. not to mention clear instruction on how it worked, unlike apple which alwasy guides u thru the set up of systems