Facebook and Instagram Replacement App
I’ve been using Facebook’s official app for some time now and it mostly works great. I say mostly because I have a major issue with Facebook’s now legendary tracking and data mining of their user’s behavior for use in ad generation and more recently tracking of Facebook users outside of their social network. I utilize ad blockers in Safari on my iPhone and I enjoy the Feature of the official Twitter app that lets me press and hold to open links in Safari instead of the Twitter browser. I then have immediate ad blocking and the option to enter distraction free reader view on supported websites. So full disclosure up front, the integrated ad blocker, and one click shortcut to open links in Safari was what drew me to Friendly+, but the additional functionality of Instagram integration and the ability to add multiple accounts of each social network is a nice bonus.
Setup is easy, just tap add account and provide your credentials. It is worth mentioning that this app is wrapping API calls to Facebook so there should not be any risk of the app developers “knowing” your user / password. Also, the app had to pass Apple’s trick security checks to be included in the App Store, so Friendly+ scores another point for privacy. Another cool security feature is the ability to set a 4 digit pass code to open your account and the additional option of using TouchID on supported devices. This adds another layer of physical security to your social media accounts. Friendly+ is also highly customizable with granular settings available for things like hiding Facebook Suggested and which notifications if any you want to receive. You can even choose custom colors on a per account basis to keep your profiles separated.
I found the user experience to be overall very easy and positive. In fact, the only issue I had was the apps instance of showing a message “Open in app” while on Instagram. I believe this is being caused by Instagram itself because the official Instagram app is not aware that it is being “wrapped” in another app interface. I tried uninstalling the official Instagram app to resolve this issue, but unfortunately, it did not make a difference. Another “problem” is that you cannot capture pictures through Instagram from within Friendly+. This is an imposed limitation by Instagram and not caused by Friendly+. You can elect to automatically open the official Instagram app to take a picture, but that is a bit cumbersome for an app that has a primary purpose of taking and posting pictures.
My final take on the Friendly+ app is that for most users it would make an excellent replacement for the default Facebook App. For those users considering it for Instagram, it cannot replace the app, but is nice for viewing the Instagram photo stream without switching apps. The only reason I am giving Friendly+ 4 stars instead of 5 is the Instagram “Open in app” annoyance. If users wish to reduce Facebook annoyances while simultaneously reclaiming a small measure of privacy, then Friendly+ is an excellent choice.
DOWNLOAD – Friendly Plus – $2.99 iOS