Timeline proved that Facebook users don’t really appreciate major changes in the service, and all new updates of the social network are met with distaste from a lot of people. However, things might be a bit different this time around. The latest update of Facebook’s official iOS client might not have revamped things in a big way, but everything it brings to the table is sure to be lauded. The best changes have occurred to the chat area of the app. The chat list is now omnipresent, and can be summoned with a simple swipe from anywhere in the app. Users get to pin their favorite contacts to the top of the chat list for easy access, and the in-app chat notifications are more effective. In addition, the update brings support for Facebook Gifts in the US. It now allows you to easily upload multiple photos from the camera roll, styling each using the many features that have been ported from the Facebook Camera app (including photo effects).
Pretty much like the menu button in the top-left corner the app’s interface, the new chat button is located in the top-right corner. You can access the chat area by hitting this button, or swiping from right to left. While the button is only visible on the newsfeed, the gesture works everywhere in the app. The method of invoking the chat list is not the only thing that has changed about this feature. The list now displays the time since contacts were last active from the mobile app.
As mentioned earlier, you can mark any contact in the chat list as a favorite to pin them to the top of the chat list. Favorites can be sorted manually for further convenience. If you wander away from your chat window to explore some other area of the app, Facebook will send you in-app banner notifications, complete with message preview, contact name and display picture.
Gifts have been around on the Facebook website for some time now, allowing US users to send real-life gifts to other people. Now, the iOS app supports this feature too, and you will see the Send Gift button on a friend’s profile. Last, but certainly not the least, users can now share photos in bulk from the camera roll with ease. Users can crop photos before posting them, or apply a few really good effects to the pictures. The photo effects are the same as the ones in the Facebook Camera app, but it’s nice to have them at your disposal within the Facebook client, too.
Facebook 5.1 has been released for both the iPhone and the iPad, and as always, can be downloaded for free. A few users encountered login issues when the update came out a few hours back, but the problem seems to have been resolved now.