The prevalence of third-party apps is growing. Whether it’s for social media, email, or productivity, there are often features and benefits offered by non-official options that are not available in the official version.
Of course, you need to treat third-party apps with a degree of caution — you are ultimately sharing your login credentials with a service that may not have been thoroughly vetted, or which may not have the same level of robust security measures that you’ve come to expect from the official apps.
Nonetheless, lots of choice are perfectly safe, have thousands of users, and are better than their official counterparts.
Here we take a look at some of the best third-party apps for Facebook.
Fast [No Longer Available]
Fast is mainly aimed at users on lower-spec devices who might find that the current version of the official Facebook app is a memory hog and a battery drain; Fast takes up just 2MB of space.
Aside from being quick and responsive to use, it also comes packed with cool features.
For example, you can use it as a newsreader to organize your own lists of pages and friends that you’re most interested in, you can chat with Facebook friends without needing a separate app (like the much-criticized Facebook Messenger), and you can view YouTube videos directly inside the app.
It also includes a way to download content from your profile directly to your device, thus allowing you to make regular backups if you wish.
So far it’s been downloaded 9 million times and has an average of 4 stars from 130,000 reviews.
Tinfoil is an app for the security nuts out there.
It seems that Facebook is always in hot water over a privacy scandal. In recent years they’ve been accused of everything from allowing third-party games like Farmville to track your browsing habits to automatically opting people into various ad networks.
Of course, if you use social media, you need to be aware that you’re giving up an element of your privacy just by the very nature of the platform. However, although accidentally sharing an embarrassing status update with the world is cringe-worthy, Tinfoil aims to address some of the serious privacy issues.
It works by creating a sandbox for Facebook’s mobile site. That means your privacy is protected and would-be snoopers lose the ability to track your browsing history.
Just to be clear: this is not an app in the traditional sense. It’s merely a wrapper for the main Facebook mobile site. That means that apart from the security benefits, it offers no new features.
Mini [No Longer Available]
Mini’s purpose is similar to Fast’s: better performance on low-spec devices.
The main feature which differentiates it from its competitor is the ability to download any video from Facebook straight to your device; Fast only lets you download content from your own profile. This obviously means you can playback the content even when you’re offline.
It also has lots of other attractive features; for example, it lets you send messages to friends within the same app, it has a re-imagined homepage and main menu that the developers claim is easier to use than the official version, and it has a tab feature so that you can open lots of interesting content without needing to leave your main feed.
Impressively, nearly 15,000 of its 20,000 reviews have been either four or five stars.
Klyph [No Longer Available]
Klyph is a curious app. It was originally designed to have a layout that mimicked Google Plus, but the developer has said that they’re no longer updating the app.
Thankfully, when on-going support was halted, the developer made the app open source. That means that if you’re a competent programmer, it’s now one of the customizable third-party Facebook apps in the Play Store.
Even if you don’t want to manually play with the code, it’s still one of the most stylish and adaptable third-party options.
For example, it has lots of settings that can tweak the layout until the app exactly matches the way you want to use it (including the ability to customize the menu tab and choose what entries are being shown in each menu section).
Third-party apps aren’t necessarily limited to one social network.
One of the best-known and most powerful social management tools is Hootsuite. It’ll let you manage and schedule posts to multiple social media accounts (including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare) all from one interface. It’ll let you add three social media accounts for free but will charge you for more.
Specifically regarding Facebook, you can post to Facebook Profiles, Groups, and Pages, you can monitor your audience engagement, you can manage campaigns, and you can translate messages before you send them.
Like the aforementioned Fast, it has 9 million users and an average of four stars.
Hootsuite is arguably the most famous social media manager, but Buffer is close behind both in terms of recognition and features.
It works for Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and LinkedIn, and it lets you build up a queue of content to share at pre-defined scheduled times.
It also works with a variety of news apps (such as Flipboard, Pocket, Pulse, and Feedly), and gives you detailed analytical feedback so you can see which content had the best performance.
Third-Party Tools for Facebook Messenger
Facebook has been cracking down on third-party apps, but at the same time, they have been opening up their Messenger app platform to encourage developers to create third-party tools. It’s a clear attempt to win users from apps like Line and WeChat.
One of the most recent and most popular third-party examples is Giphy.
If you frequent the Internet at all, you’ll no doubt be aware of what a GIF is — it stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and it allows for an uploaded image to be animated. In recent years it’s become the file-type of choice for memes and other short forum-based video content, mainly due to its widespread adoption and easy portability.
Giphy claims to have the largest library of animated GIFs in the world. We use a Giphy plugin for Slack in MakeUseOf’s back office, and I can confirm they do indeed have a phenomenal number available, even if some of them are occasionally misguided.
To send a Giphy in Messenger just download the app, find the clip you want, and hit send.
Which Third Party App Do You Rely On?
Do you use a third-party Facebook app that we’ve overlooked? What makes it so special?
Perhaps you tried one of the apps we mentioned but abandoned it and went back to the official Facebook release? What made you change your mind?
We’d love to hear your opinions. You can get in touch by leaving a comment below.