(NEW YORK) — If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner and a heavy Facebook user, you know the Facebook app has been slow. It can take time to get to a friend’s profile, see updates on your newsfeed, see comments and photos. You get used to tapping your fingers.
But on Thursday Facebook has changed that. It’s released Facebook 5.0 for iOS, which promises to be twice as fast as the previous version. Facebook says it will be faster to launch, faster when scrolling through the newsfeed and opening photos.
“We’ve rebuilt the app from the ground up, so now the app opens much faster and your news feed and notifications load right when you open Facebook,” Facebook Product Manager, Mick Johnson, wrote in a blog on Facebook Thursday. Johnson told ABC News that it took the team nine months to rewrite the entire code to make it feel like a native iOS app.
Facebook has also addressed the photo loading issue directly. Photos, it promises, will pop right up, and you can close them by swiping downward now.
In March, 488 million Facebook users (out of a total of 955 million) accessed the service via mobile apps. But Facebook has taken a lot of criticism surrounding its mobile performance. On the company’s first earnings call last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised improvements to Facebook’s mobile apps.
Zuckerberg denied reports of a “Facebook phone.” “There are a lot of things you can build in other operating systems as well that aren’t really taking, that aren’t really like building out a whole phone, which wouldn’t make much sense for us to do,” he said. Facebook will be integrated into Apple’s iOS 6 operating system, which will launch this fall.
The next app to tackle will be the Android app. Johnson wouldn’t comment on unreleased products, but did say, “you can reasonably expect we could do similar things on Android.”
Facebook 5.0 is now available in the Apple App Store.
Coypright 2012 ABC News Radio
Chris Isidore and Robert Mclean, CNN Newswire
Brian Stelter, CNN Money