The social giant goes where you go
The Facebook app for Android is a giant of an app that takes up significant system resources to provide you with a myriad of features. It uses lots of memory and lots of processing power but, in return, gives you social, shopping, leisure, communication and more. Is it worth the sacrifice?
Power-hungry social media tool
With dozens of tools and features, the Facebook app seems to do it all
You probably have a good idea of what Facebook does but, if not, it’s a social media app for your Android phone. It also offers dozens of other features relating to how you talk to you friends, sell and buy items, interact with entertainment and brands you like, store and view photos and videos, keep track of events and birthdays, and more.
In the most basic iteration, Facebook allows you to choose people, organizations, and brand, and to follow them and the updates they post in a flow of information called a News Feed. Once you’ve installed the app and either set up or logged into your account (if you already have a Facebook account on another platform, you should log into it here), this News Feed will make up the central part of the app.
Visually, Facebook for Android is simple —but complicated. Let’s explain. The interface, explained in basic terms, is simple. The bright blue and white color scheme, the cute icons, easy swiping through the menus, and very clear and concise settings all make it an easy app to use, but the fact that there are just so many options make it complicated for a first timer. There are countless icons, menus, sub-menus, Reactions (emoticons), actions on long press, buttons, notifications, alerts, and more, making Facebook for Android seem mazelike and even overwhelming.
To be fair, this isn’t limited to Facebook for Android; Facebook on any platform will feel unwieldy to a first-timer. The upside to this is that you can learn to do one or two specific tasks (often why people open a Facebook account in the first place) pretty easily and you can, in theory, just do these actions and never delve into all the other features Facebook offers—although this is missing out on a lot of the functionality that might make it worth having such a big app on your phone.
None or few features are unique to the platform—what’s unique is having them all together in the same app AND (and this is the important bit) having the buy-in from millions of people, brands, organizations, and groups that makes them sign up and participate with the things you like to see. In this respect, Facebook stands alone.
If you move away from the relative safety of the News Feed, you’ll see some of Facebook’s other interesting features. Two aspects that are really useful are the Marketplace and the events tab. The Marketplace allows you to sell and buy goods, secondhand and new, via the app. Many people use it, which means everyone else has great choice and plenty of potential buyers when they decide to do the same. The same goes for the events tab—as well as telling you about your contacts’ birthdays and other anniversaries, it offers a compendium of events in your locality. Some organizations publicize their events exclusively through Facebook, meaning that very often, you’ll find events to attend that you won’t see anywhere else.
Where can you run this program?
This version of Facebook is for mobile phones and tablets running Android.
Is there a better alternative?
No. There are plenty of apps that offer some of the same features, but none offer all of them in one app and, as we already mentioned, have the same across-the-board buy-in from people, companies, and brands.
Say what you want about Facebook—the one thing you can’t deny is that it is a massively accomplished and popular app and the Android version does a great job of providing access to it on a mobile phone.
If you use Facebook for Android, you’re not really deciding to use an Android app—the main decision is whether or not to use Facebook. The app is simply a tool to access the social network on the go and, most of the time, it does a pretty good job of it.
Should you download it?
Sure, if you’ve decided to sign up to Facebook and you have an Android phone, downloading Facebook for Android makes perfect sense.
- Massive functionality in one app
- Faithful distillation of Facebook experience
- Great control over privacy and settings
- Terrible customer support
- Multiple options complicated to navigate
- Occasional bugginess