Accessing Facebook on Your Phone

May 22, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Like Twitter, Facebook has become a must-have app for anyone interesting in staying in touch with friends and family online.

Unlike Twitter, Facebook has a lot of satellite functions beyond the main status updates and the ability to comment on updates by your friends, which means that anyone hoping to enjoy Facebook from a mobile phone needs to be aware that the experience is less polished than they might otherwise like it to be.

There are various ways to access Facebook from a mobile phone, from logging in via the browser to downloading dedicated apps, taking advantage of native integration and updating via SMS.

Access Facebook on your mobile

Downloading Apps

On almost all mobile platforms, Facebook offers an official app that you can download and install. This typically offers the ability to update your status, check what your friends are up to and comment on their activity, view photographs and events and read and send messages in your Facebook inbox.

In most cases, these are the limits of the ambitions of this mobile app, which is free to use regardless of mobile platform.

Third party apps are also available, offering services such as Facebook IM, or access to games and other fun applications that can be accessed via the desktop Facebook.

To find the Facebook app for your phone, visit your platform’s app store to get started.

Native Apps

Mobile phone platform developers are becoming savvier about their users’ requirements, resulting in closer integration between Facebook and the mobile operating system. While Android and iPhone have both moved in this direction recently, the best example of this is Windows Phone 7, which provides integration with Facebook as part of the contacts list tool in what is known as the People Hub.

This hub is one of the highlights of the platform. As well as finding your Facebook contacts there (a function that can be disabled) you are able to link them with existing contacts, and each Facebook contact that you have on your phone is decorated with their current profile picture.

Access Facebook in Your Mobile Browser

For some, the most obvious answer to accessing Facebook on your mobile phone is to open the web browser, and visit, from where you will be able to login and check the current activities of your contacts.

If you have a mobile browser that fancies itself as a desktop browser, simply visit the regular, where you will see the main website. Note, however, that some AJAX functions will not work on certain mobile browsers. For instance, the instant page update when friends reply to your status might be unavailable, and games almost certainly will be!

Facebook via SMS

Not everyone has a generous mobile tariff for accessing web-based services. If bandwidth usage is a concern, using SMS text messaging to update Facebook is a good option, although bear in mind that you might incur some additional SMS-related charges if you go beyond your limit. The good news is that Facebook doesn’t charge for providing this service!

To do this, login to Facebook on your computer and visit Account > Account Settings > Mobile, where you can select Register for Facebook Text Messages to begin the process of selecting your country, mobile carrier and then following the simple instructions to send a message to Facebook, and enter the confirmation code that is texted to you.

Once this is done you will get SMS text messages informing you of your friends’ statuses, you will be able to access their phone numbers and even make your own status updates!

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