The ultimate Facebook app for Android?

Published by Bharadwaj Giridhar on

I’ve wanted to rant about this for a long time. Sorry Facebook, but your Facebook app is just a joke. I’ve been searching everywhere to find a perfect solution for browsing Facebook on my Android device. I’m pretty sure my solution’s not perfect, but here’s what I came up with.

Update [4/30/2016 1730]:

Turns out, the bug (Refer Update [4/3/2016 0800]) doesn’t affect all wrappers.

Update [4/30/2016 0800]:

As I finished writing this post and submitted to Reddit, I found the user dlerium mention this statistic below. It makes sense, so you better close these wrappers when you aren’t using them!

Facebook for android battery life

Half way through writing this article, the developer of Swipe for Facebook has posted this bug which is present on all Facebook wrappers at this instant. When you browse Facebook in these wrappers, click on a post and go back, the page keeps loading for an infinite time. I hope this bug gets fixed soon. I think it’s just Facebook pushing us to use the official Facebook app like they force us to use messenger or, it could just be an honest bug.

Edit: It has been reported that the bug has been fixed. I just hope Facebook isn’t doing this intentionally.

To emphasize the reason why a lot of people like me hate the official Facebook application, check the graph below.

Reddit user pbrandes_eth explains the cons of using the official Facebook application

Graph representing the speed of an Android phone with and without Facebook & Messenger.

All credits go to the reddit user pbrandes_eth, who had posted a detailed analysis at the Android sub-reddit. Check out the post here.

However, after a few weeks after this reddit post got viral, a lot of websites quoted the same reddit post and tested out the results and everyone were surprised to see improvements in performance and in their battery life. After that, another reddit user posted a link saying the wakelocks have been reduced significantly in the updates provided by Facebook. But then again, he/she did acknowledge the fact that the Facebook application for Android (and in iOS) still remains a great hogger.

Some people, especially people who read about this information, didn’t bother searching for an alternative as they had other means to connect with their friends like Twitter and Googleplus? (I’m guessing), but I’ve never seen my friends in other social networking websites like Twitter or Google plus. Naturally – because of this, I started looking for alternatives. After 3 months, I’m sharing my experience on using Facebook on Android.

Below, I’ve listed a variety of apps (most of them being wrappers) to choose from. I know most of them are similar, but I’d just to like to appreciate the developer’s efforts on various apps.

I am NOT affiliated with any of the below listed applications. I’ve not been sponsored nor do I take responsibility for any bugs these apps may cause.

#1: Facebook Lite

This is listed first, as Facebook lite is actually an app from Facebook. That’s right, they’ve released it officially. But there are chances you haven’t even heard about this application, that’s mainly because Facebook released this in countries where the internet speeds aren’t so high. I happen to live in one of those countries and thus I can get it from the playstore. If you can’t find this app on the Playstore, go ahead and download it here.

.. and yes it’s 100% secure to download this application.

[Image credits: Androidcentral]

Pros of using Facebook lite:

  • Official application from Facebook.
  • Push Notifications.
  • No need for installing Facebook messenger (Facebook Messenger is also not very good for your phone).
  • Video support [Recent addition].
  • Ideal for low speeds.
  • Pinch-to-zoom in images.

Cons of using Facebook lite:

  • Poorly designed user interface.
  • No gif support.
  • Immersive mode doesn’t work properly for some odd reason.
  • No finger-print support.
  • No dark theme.

The ram consumption is very low. Thus, if you don’t mind the bad interface and lack of the gif support. Facebook lite would be perfect for you!

#2: Swipe for Facebook

Download Swipe for Facebook : [Playstore]

I’ve listed Swipe for Facebook second in this list, mainly because the developer is very responsive and has constantly included a lot of features other wrappers couldn’t offer. He/She has constantly included workarounds for the limitations from using the app. I bought the pro version and thought it was worth it. Below, I’ve listed some of things I love about this app.

Again, I’d like to confirm I have NOT been sponspored by anyone to write about this application. I just have a sweet spot for apps with good design and effort.

[Credits: Androidcommunity]

Pros of using Swipe for Facebook:

  • Light weight.
  • Night theme.
  • Fingerprint support.
  • Selectable text.
  • Interesting themes.
  • Push Notifications.
  • The ability to prefer messenger.
  • Powersaving Mode (Pro only)

Cons of using Swipe for Faceboook:

Although this application may be perfect for most of you, we do have to acknowledge that this is still not an application from Facebook. You might miss out on some features you get on the official facebook application. I’d like to include that the search is a little buggy in this wrapper. Also, the “hide friends you may know” option doesn’t seem to work for me.

The RAM consumption was low and thus I don’t think any low-end android devices will have a problem running this application (or any of the wrappers suggested in this post).

#3: Metal for Facebook & Twitter:

Download Metal for Facebook : [Playstore]

Yup, you read that right. This application acts as a wrapper for accessing both the mobile websites of Facebook and Twitter. Being feature rich, responsive and good support from the developer – This was my most favorite application before Swipe for Facebook came along. It’s still very good and worth giving it a try.

Pros of Metal for Facebook:

  •  Notifications.
  • Dark Mode.
  • Ad-free.
  • Fingerprint support.
  • Full screen mode.
  • Supports Orbit/Tor.
  • Themes (Pro-only)

Cons of Metal for Facebook:

  • Messaging is very laggy. I wish they had included a feature like Swipe for Facebook.

And as already stated for Swipe for Facebook above, this is again just a wrapper. With Facebook forcing us a lot of features, I can’t guarantee that any of these Facebook wrappers will have no issues from Facebook in the future.

#4: Chrome, UC Browser, Opera Mini and others.

[Image credits: AndroidHeadlines]

I’m sure many of you use browsers to access Facebook on your Android device, moreover it makes sense to use your browser to browse on a website (just like you do on your computer). All the three browsers Chrome, Opera mini and UC Browser have the ability to enable Facebook notifications. However, the browsing experience seems to be different for me.

If you have an Android device with very good specifications, Chrome is flawless. It has notification support, you can tag your friends and pretty much do everything. However, if you have an Android device like me with mediocre specifications running chrome is very hard.

I believe your next best bet would be Opera mini, because they’ve been in the field for a while and they do make it to the headlines. I use opera mini too, and I think it’s awesome.

You can use any browser and still get (almost) the same experience.

  #5: Toffeed, Tinfoil, Slim Social, Folio and others.

I hate to say all of these apps are the same, but as explained earlier most of these apps are just wrappers. Almost all of them have the same features.

However with Metal and Swipe trying to close those gaps I just felt they deserve a special appreciation. 

I mean no offense to any of you developers out there, I am just mad at Facebook for their API restrictions.

Make sure you try all of these out if you want to, but you’re pretty much going to be on the same boat.

#6: Facebook Mentions:

Nah, who am I kidding. I’m not that famous (yet).

I guess the above list of apps pretty much sums it up on choosing the best alternative to the official Facebook app for Android. Also, if you’re a developer and I’ve left your application make sure you comment them down below and I’ll add them to the list! I’m pretty sure you’ll notice improvements in performance or in battery life or in both of them. Comment to let me know!


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Categories: Apps

Bharadwaj Giridhar

Entrepreneur | UIUX | Biker I love tea, good food, startups, nightlife, bike rides and Android. Atheist, Moviebuff, Ambivert.