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Using Your iOS Device with Facebook

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With more than 1 billion users around the world, Facebook is the most popular online social networking service. Thus, it makes perfect sense that Apple would include Facebook integration into the iOS 6 operating system for the iPhone and iPad. In this article, Jason R. Rich, author of iPad and iPhone Tips and Tricks: 2nd Edition, explains how to use the Facebook features that are now part of iOS 6, plus explains features associated with the official Facebook app.
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If you’re among the 1 billion users of Facebook who are using your Apple iPhone or iPad that’s connected to the Internet via a 3G/4G (LTE) or Wi-Fi connection, you can easily manage your Facebook account using the official Facebook app. However, Facebook functionality has been integrated nicely into the iOS 6 operating system, so you can update your Facebook status or post information (and photos) to your Facebook wall from within almost any app that has a Share button or menu, as well as directly from the Notification Center screen (iPhone) or window (iPad).

You can also use Siri to compose and publish Facebook status updates using your voice. To do this, activate Siri and begin your command by saying, “Post to Facebook” or “Write on my wall” followed by your status update message.

Managing your Facebook account from your iPhone or iPad (including the iPad mini), allows you to literally share your life experiences with others as they happen, as long as your iOS mobile device has Internet access. From wherever you are, it’s possible to post status updates that include your location, and photos taken using one of the cameras built in to the phone or tablet.

Using Facebook Integration That’s Built In to iOS 6

Once you have a Facebook account set up, it’s necessary to turn on the Facebook integration features that are built in to iOS 6. This process only needs to be done once. To accomplish this, launch Settings and tap on the Facebook option. When prompted, enter your Facebook username (or the email address associated with the Facebook account), as well as your password into the User Name and Password fields, and then tap Sign In.

Your Facebook username will now be displayed within the Facebook menu screen of Settings. Under the Allow These Apps to Use Your Account heading, several apps, including Calendar and Contacts, are listed. Each will have a virtual on/off switch associated with it. If you’ve already installed the official Facebook app, it will be listed here as well, with its own on/off switch.

When you turn on the virtual switch associated with the Calendar option, this allows the Calendar app to access your Facebook account automatically, and then download and display Events from your Facebook account within your schedule (when using the Calendars app on your iPhone or iPad). This includes displaying the birthdays of your Facebook friends within the Calendar app.

By turning on the virtual switch that’s associated with the Contacts option, the Contacts app will access your Facebook account and automatically add the profile photos and Facebook-related data fields to each entry for someone who is both an online friend and has their own entry within your Contacts database. Periodically, you’ll need to tap on the Update All Contacts button that’s displayed near the bottom of this menu screen in order to update your Contacts database as you add new online friends to your Facebook account.

After you’ve downloaded and installed the free official Facebook app, an option for this app is also displayed, along with a virtual on/off switch. When turned on, this allows the Facebook app to access and utilize information from your online-based Facebook account.

If you leave the virtual switches associated with Calendar and Contacts off, your Facebook account will be kept separate from the scheduling and contacts database you maintain on your iPhone or iPad.

Whether or not you turn on the data sharing features associated with Calendar, Contacts, and the official Facebook app, once you’ve entered your Facebook user name and password into the appropriate fields displayed within the Facebook menu screen of Settings, you’ve now turned on Facebook integration with iOS 6.

Thus, from within a handful of apps that have a Share button or menu, such as Photos, you can compose and publish Facebook status updates without first launching the official Facebook app. It’s also possible to update your Facebook status from the Notification Center screen (iPhone) or window (iPad), but this feature must be turned on first.

To turn on the ability to update your Facebook status from the Notification Center screen/window, launch Settings, tap on the Notifications option, and then tap on the Share Widget option. Turn on the virtual switch associated with Share Widget.

Then, to adjust where within the Notification Center screen/window the Tap to Post button that’s associated with Facebook will be displayed. From the main Notifications menu screen within Settings, tap on the Edit button that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the screen. Place your finger on the Move icon that’s displayed to the right of the Share Widget option (it looks like three horizontal lines), and drag it upwards or downloads to the desired position. This too only needs to be done once.

Once the Share Widget feature is turned on, at anytime, regardless of what you’re doing on your iOS mobile device, you have the ability to access the Notification Center screen/window, tap on the Tap To Post button, and then compose and publish a Facebook status update (as long as your iPhone or iPad has Internet access).

Update Your Facebook Status from Apps with a Share Button or Menu

From the Notification Center screen/window, when you tap on the Tap to Post button, or when you tap on the Facebook button from a Share menu that’s displayed within any compatible app, a Facebook Status Update window appears.

Within the main body of the window, use the iPhone or iPad’s virtual keyboard to manually type your Facebook Status update, or use the Dictation feature to dictate the message you want to post. To include your exact current location within the update, tap on the Add Location option that’s displayed in the lower-left corner of the window.

To decide who will be able to view your status update, tap on the option displayed in the lower-right corner of the window. The Choose Audience menu will appear. If you choose Public, for example, anyone who views your Facebook wall will be able to read/see your posting. However, by selecting one of the other menu options, you can narrow down your potential viewing audience.

After proofreading your outgoing Facebook status update, tap on the Post button that’s displayed near the upper-right corner of the window to publish your update. Within seconds, it will be displayed online—both on your Facebook wall and on News Feed of your online friends (based on who you selected to be the audience for the posting).

From the Photos app (or the optional iPhoto app, for example), you can share digital photos taken using or stored on your iPhone or iPad. To do this, select one photo at a time that you want to share on Facebook, and then tap on the Share icon. From the Share menu, tap on the Facebook option. The now familiar Facebook Status Update window will appear; however, the photo you selected will be attached to the status update you’re about to compose. When you tap the Post button, your newly composed and corresponding message, and your photo will be published simultaneously on Facebook.

From within other third-party photography-related apps, including Instagram, you can also use the Share option to publish photos stored on your iPhone or iPad to your online-based Facebook account.

Using the Official Facebook App

The integration between iOS 6 and Facebook allows you to compose and publish Facebook status updates from within a handful of compatible apps. However, if you want to manage all aspects of your Facebook account from your iOS mobile device, you’ll need to use the official Facebook app.

The easiest way to download and install the official Facebook app is to launch Settings, tap on the Facebook option, and then tap on the Install button that’s displayed next to the Facebook app’s icon near the top of the Facebook menu page. However, this free app is also available from the App Store.

Once installed, the Facebook app icon will appear on your iPhone or iPad’s Home Screen, just like any other app. The first time you use this app, you’ll need to log in, using your Facebook User Name and Password. Or, if you need to set up a new account, tap on the Sign Up for Facebook button that’s displayed on the official Facebook app’s opening screen.

After launching the official Facebook app and logging in to your account, you’ll see a handful of icons displayed along the top of the screen, as well as three command tabs displayed below them. In the main area of the screen, your Facebook News Feed is displayed. (Swipe your finger in a downward direction to update the News Feed at anytime.)

On the iPad, if you’re holding the tablet in landscape mode, a listing of your online friends is displayed along the right margin of the screen. Tap on anyone’s name to initiate a chat with that person. However, if you tap the Menu icon, the friend listing disappears and the Facebook app’s main menu appears along the left margin of the screen.

On the iPhone, the Facebook app works only when the phone is held in portrait mode, and only one function of the app (the News Feed, Menu, Messenger, etc.) is displayed in the main area of the screen at a time.

From the main News Feed screen, tap on the Status tab to compose and post a new Status Update from within the official Facebook app. Tap on the Photo tab to upload one or more photos from your iPhone/iPad to your online-based Facebook account, or tap the Check-In tab to post your current location (as well as a message about what you’re doing and who you’re with).

As you’re reading your News Feed, just as you can from your computer, tap on the Like option to “like” someone’s post, or tap on the Comment option to compose and publish a comment and attach it to that post for others to read. Tap on the Comments icon displayed near the bottom-right of each posting to view the Comments written by other people.

Beyond reading your News Feed, the Facebook app allows you to manage almost all other aspects of your account as well. For example, to manage incoming friend requests, tap on the Friends icon (which looks like two heads) that’s displayed near the top-center of the News Feed screen. To participate in an online chat, from the News Feed screen, tap on the Chat icon (which looks like a dialog bubble), or to read new Notifications, tap on the Notifications icon (which looks like a globe).

Another way to access these and other commands and Facebook features related to your account is to tap on the Menu icon that’s displayed near the upper-left corner of the screen. When you do this, a Search field is displayed near the top of the screen, and below that, you’ll see the app‘s main menu.

Listed near the top of the menu are your User Name and Profile Photo. Tap on it to view your Facebook profile page (and wall). Tap on the News Feed option to return to the News Feed screen and read postings from your online friends. Tap on the Messages option to participate in text-based chats with online friends and/or respond to messages. The Nearby option allows you to see who’s online and where they are, based on their recent Check-Ins.

The Menu offers a handful of other options, including links to Facebook pages you’ve “liked” in the past. Scroll down to the bottom of the main menu to adjust your Facebook Account Settings, and/or to Log Out of your Facebook account from your iPhone or iPad

If you do not log out manually, even if you exit out of the Facebook app, you will remain logged in. Thus, if someone sends you an instant message, it will show up on your screen, based on how you’ve set up the Facebook app to work with Notification Center.

Using the Facebook Messenger App and Other Facebook-Related Apps

In addition to the official Facebook app that allows you to manage many aspects of your Facebook account (and participate in online chats with your Facebook friends), there’s also a separate (official) Facebook Messenger app available from the App Store. This app is used exclusively to engage in online-based text chats with your Facebook friends.

From the App Store, if you enter the keyword “Facebook” into the Search field, you’ll discover dozens of third-party apps that also allow you to manage your Facebook account or access certain Facebook features from your iOS mobile device. For some tasks, like managing online-based photo albums, as well as tagging and captioning photos, you’ll find these apps offer added functionality. However, most Facebook users will find that the official Facebook app, combined with iOS 6 Facebook integration is more than adequate.

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