August 29, 2014 Last Updated 9:00 am

Facebook says iOS users can expect app updates every 4 weeks

The social network informs iOS users in latest update that users can expect regularly scheduled app updates, but latest update has users upset for a completely reason

In the early days of the Apple App Store, an app was sorted by how new it was, with apps recently updated returning to the top of the heap. This encouraged frequent updates. But Apple changed the way its store was organized and managed, and eventually even stopped organizing and managing many parts of the store at all, making updates no longer a matter of app marketing.

But some apps by big social media brands are updated quite often and very regularly. Twitter, for instance, updates its apps twice a month, seemingly whether there is a need for an update or not. Since the introduction of iOS 7, many iOS device owners have switched on automatic app updating, so are unaware of how often an app is updated, but many still handle this function manually (this site does this in order to spot the updates).

Facebook-icon-featureFacebook today issued an update to its main iOS app, raising the version to 14.0. Beginning in February, Facebook has issued an update that brought the app up to a nice even number – February was version 7.0. In March came version 8.0. Twice an update within the month brought the app update to a “point one” version – such as the update on July 8 that brought the app up to version 12.1.

Now Facebook has informed users that they can expect an update every four weeks.

“To make our app better for you, we bring updates to the App Store every 4 weeks,” the app description states. “If you have iOS7 or up, you can update the app automatically (without checking back here) by going to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Automatic Downloads and turning on Updates. Every update of our Facebook app includes improvements for speed and reliability. As other new features become available, we’ll highlight those for you in the app.”

The frequency and regularity of the updating reinforces the notion that apps are as essential to a media brand as the web or print, and should be treated as such. Most media brands still appear to think of apps as some other, something that is worked on only periodically, and only to fix major issues with the app.

Facebook’s approach is, I believe, more professional – it treats app making like a professional endeavor that desires constant attention.

Back in 2010, this site (in its old Blogger form) said that major media media brands needed to become serial app launchers, treating app making with the same dedication as it did its print and web publishing efforts, not treating it as something to be outsourced. If publishers did not understand their apps as well as they understood paper weights and inks, they would fall behind new media companies that are treating app making in a professional manner.

The irony is that Facebook’s latest update has users howling. In the just the few hours since its release users have rushed to iTunes to complain about the latest update. The reason for the complaint is that Facebook is now requiring the use of the Messenger app.

“It’s ridiculous. I’ll have to download a second Facebook app just to check my messages!!” wrote one angry user. “Totally unnecessary. The messenger works fine in the regular fb app and I don’t want to have to switch between the two. It’s great as an option but not as a requirement!”

Comments are closed.