Android Social Media

How To Use Facebook On Android Without All The Invasive Permissions

Ben Stegner 28-06-2014

Are you concerned about your privacy? With all the talk about the NSA Can You Escape Internet Surveillance Programs Like PRISM? Ever since Edward Snowden blew the whistle on PRISM, the NSA's no longer secret surveillance program, we know one thing with certainty: nothing that happens online can be considered private. Can you really escape the... Read More and sharing of private user data these days, it’s natural to be worried about what happens to your information online. Even your smartphone tracks you Android Is Watching: 8 Ways a Typical Smartphone Is Monitoring You Google says all this data is encrypted in transit, but Google holds the keys and could decrypt it whenever they wanted (or were made to). Read More in more ways than you probably know.


Facebook is one entity that’s infamous for sharing your information, but if you’re already using it, it’s hard to remove the social network from your life. It’s common knowledge that Facebook is tracking everything you do online How To Stop Facebook From Tracking Everything You Do [Facebook Weekly Tips] Facebook has basically made a business out of knowing as much as they can possibly find out about everyone. So, tracking your behaviour online and offline makes perfect sense to them. However, it might not... Read More , but even if you can’t accept the idea of permanently deleting your account How To Properly Close Your Facebook Account Read More , you can still use alternate apps to access Facebook without being tailed. Tinfoil for Facebook is one such Android app at your disposal.

A Word On Permissions

Chris has written an excellent guide about Android permissions How Android App Permissions Work and Why You Should Care Android forces apps to declare the permissions they require when they install them. You can protect your privacy, security, and cell phone bill by paying attention to permissions when installing apps – although many users... Read More and why you should take the time to understand them. Permissions are the only layer of defense between your phone and an app. If an application has malicious intent, all you have to do is allow it on your phone with invasive permissions to create problems.

App Permissions Example

This isn’t just theory. The app Brightest Flashlight Free requires a bundle of permissions — none of which are necessary to perform as a flashlight — and it used them to access users’ locations and sell them to advertisers. 50 million people were affected by this tracking, and they willingly agreed to it by installing the app. This isn’t the only problem with Google Play Why You Shouldn't Trust App Ratings on Google Play You need a new camera app; you open Google Play and find 50. Naturally, you install the highest-rated one. Guess what? You just got tricked. Read More , but because permissions are all-or-nothing, you must be extremely diligent with what apps you install.

Compare Brightest Flashlight’s (which I am intentionally not linking to) permissions with an app like Holo Torch [No Longer Available], which only requires access to the camera.


Flashlight App Permission Comparisons

Unfortunately, Google has changed the way Android permissions work in the Play Store recently. Instead of detailing each permission, they are grouped together by type and are less specific. Additionally, the Internet access permission is so commonplace that Google moved it to the lesser-known Other group, making it less visible. Worse yet, an update to an app can add new permissions without your approval if they’re in the same group as already approved permissions.

Read up on what Chris has to say about this change over at the How-To Geek and remember to keep a sharp eye on your permissions.

Angry Birds Example - Apps Can Add Permissions


Facebook’s Android App

Now that the impact of permissions has been reviewed, let’s look at the app in question: Facebook. How many permissions does Facebook’s mobile app ask for? It takes four screenshots to show them all:

Facebook App Permissions Part 1

Facebook App Permissions Part 2

Let’s break this down. Facebook has access to:

  • Your contacts, including modification and adding or changing calendar events. They know who is in your phone and can contact them.
  • Your exact location. They know where you are at any time.
  • Your camera, including taking pictures and videos at any time, as well as recording from the microphone. They can get at anything you’re saying or looking at.
  • Your text messages, your calls, and can call phone numbers. They can see who you’ve contacted recently.
  • Your internal storage, including permission to delete anything. They can see the files on your phone.
  • Full Internet access anytime, changing your wallpaper, opening up over other apps, and downloading files. They can make little tweaks without your knowledge.

Facebook has offered explanations for some of these permissions.

Facebook Permission Explanations

Note the example given for accessing SMS. Is this tiny convenience that probably saves you no more than a few seconds really worth unrestricted access to your text messages? Once this procedure is completed, that permission doesn’t go away. Their explanation may be truthful, but seriously think about what’s being asked of you.

If any other app required this much access to what’s on your phone, you’d hopefully run the other way. Yet Facebook, who is known to profit Facebook Makes Money Out of Your Data, Why Shouldn’t You? There are so many free services online because companies can profit from the data you provide. Companies like Facebook sell (or buy) your data to third parties, while ones like Google use your data to... Read More from selling user data to serve more relevant ads has access to all the above information on the devices of the more than 500 million users of its Android app. That’s a terrifying thought.


It’s Getting Worse: The New Audio Identification

Facebook wasn’t satisfied with the long list of invasive features in its app and decided to add some more. You’ve probably heard of apps like Shazam or SoundHound Shazam vs. SoundHound: Looking For The Perfect Song Identifier Read More that can identify music you’re listening to. Facebook recently updated its app to include this feature — when posting a status, the app can determine what song you’re listening to or what TV show is on in the background, and will tag your status with this information.

Facebook Audio ID

Once again, Facebook has tried to explain itself, this time claiming that the feature is not always listening and that the feature is opt-in. However, Facebook has a poor track record when it comes to new, opt-in features: the old setting to prevent people from looking up your Timeline by name was removed last year. Thus, all users were forced to accept Graph Search, a previously opt-in feature.

As discussed, even though Facebook says that they’re not always listening, they have the ability to do so. It’s just how Android works: if an app can access your microphone, it can access it at any time.

Tinfoil For Facebook Is The Solution

After all this talk about Facebook, you probably want to delete the app. Don’t worry, though — you can be rid of the official app and still have a great Facebook experience on the go. What’s even better is that Tinfoil for Facebook is easier on battery life and doesn’t constantly run in the background. It’s also much smaller in size than Facebook’s official app. Just look at this permissions list:

Tinfoil Permissions

So, all this app can access is the Internet and your approximate location if you choose to allow it. The developer specifically mentions that the permission is not used unless you enable the check-in feature in the app, which is optional. The source code for the app is available if you have any doubts. If you try to use the check-in feature while you have it disabled, it won’t work.

Tinfoil Check In Error

All that Tinfoil does is create a wrapper for the mobile version of Facebook’s website, just like if you visited Facebook in a mobile browser. You can kill it from the menu when you’re done and it doesn’t constantly run and sync.

Let’s see how it compares in usability to the official app. Here’s the News Feed on both the official app and Tinfoil (on the right):

Tinfoil News Feed Comparison

The official app looks a little prettier, but Tinfoil is just as usable. Both apps have easy access to posting statuses and uploading pictures. Tinfoil can access all of your groups, events, and settings just like the official app. In terms of performance, nothing is different except for some button locations as you can see in the screenshots below where Tinfoil is again on the right.

Tinfoil Menu Differences

It’s slightly hidden, but you can slide in from the right at any time to open up Tinfoil’s menu. It allows you to jump to the News Feed or your notifications quickly, as well as accessing the app’s few options and closing it.

Tinfoil's Options

You can send messages from Tinfoil, tag friends in comments, and search for people and places. It’s as much functionality as you’d expect from a mobile Facebook experience.

Tinfoil’s Drawbacks

There are few negatives to replacing the native Facebook app. Since Tinfoil is only a wrapper for the mobile version of Facebook’s website, if the site has problems, then Tinfoil won’t work either. This has never been a problem in my time using Tinfoil, however. The app overall may feel a bit less polished than Facebook for Android, but you’ll hardly notice after a week of use.

Events and Settings in Tinfoil

What About Notifications?

The only other noticeable feature that the mobile website lacks is notifications. If you’re someone who needs Facebook notifications in real-time, this may be a dealbreaker for you. Fear not, however, because IFTTT, which you can already use to automate your Facebook goings-on IFTTT Automation For Your Facebook Page [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook Page administrators realise that it takes time and effort to create a vibrant, useful page for fans to enjoy. While some administrators are paid for their efforts, many more are merely volunteering their time... Read More , has a solution.

IFTTT, which we’ve written plenty about, recently released an Android app that makes Android automation Tasker and IFTTT: The Perfect Automation Duo For Android Tasker automates anything you can think of on your Android device and IFTTT automates Web services. Used together, there's nothing you can't do. Read More  even more awesome. Using the new Android Notifications Channel, you can create your own alerts for when you get a Facebook notification.

First you need to get your personalized notification RSS feed, which isn’t as scary as it sounds — there’s even a guide to RSS Newspaper 2.0 - Your Guide to RSS There’s a web technology that can find information on almost any subject on the Internet and spoon-feed it to you. With RSS you can read every article offered by any particular blog. Read More if you’re interested, though no knowledge is required for this process. Log into Facebook on the Web and head to your notification page, which looks like this:

Facebook Notifications Page

Once you click on the RSS link, you’ll get a bunch of text. Don’t worry about this; instead, copy the URL of the page, which is your personal notification feed. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need an IFTTT Recipe to send them to your phone. I’ve created a script to do this for you; access it here and simply plug your URL in.

IFTTT Facebook Recipe

Now, when you get a notification on Facebook, IFTTT will send it right to your notification bar on your phone.

IFTTT Tinfoil Notifications

Throwing Out The Official App

Even if you elect to start using Tinfoil for your mobile Facebook browsing, it won’t do you much good if the Facebook app still remains on your phone; it’s best to get it off your device. If you installed the Facebook app yourself, try to uninstall it by heading into Settings > Apps (will vary by device), finding Facebook, and clicking “Uninstall,” just as you would with any other app. if you’re lucky, you can uninstall it from here and be done.

Android App Uninstall

If the app is built into your phone, as it is on many, you won’t be able to uninstall it in this way. You can try a couple other methods, but realize that all Android devices are different and so these instructions may not match your phone perfectly. Chris has covered removing bloatware What You Need to Know About Removing Android Bloatware Lots of phones come with annoying pre-installed software, but you can remove it. Here's how. Read More if you’re looking for a complete guide on this topic. If your phone is rooted, you can use Titanium Backup to remove Facebook — Erez has detailed this process for you How To Freeze Or Uninstall Apps That Came With Your Phone [Android] One of the biggest problems Android has is that vendors are obsessed with the concept of somehow “adding value” to their devices. Instead of just shipping Android as it was meant to be used, Samsung,... Read More .

If you’re on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or above, you have the option to disable apps you don’t want. This does not free up storage on your device, but it will stop the app from running and remove it from your app list. If you can do this for Facebook, that’s your next best option. Head to the app’s page, where you would normally uninstall it, and click “Disable.”

Android App Disable

If you can’t disable Facebook, the best you can do is uninstall its updates to roll it back to when it had less permissions. You’ll find this button on the app page, just like the Disable button. After you do that, remove your Facebook account from your phone’s Sync menu by going to Settings > Accounts and Sync > Facebook and click “Remove Account.”

Remove Facebook Account Android

Taking these steps ensures that your Facebook data isn’t being synced over the official app anymore, which is the goal if you want to use Tinfoil. It’s a shame that it can be so difficult to remove completely.

You May Now Browse Privately

For users concerned with privacy, those looking to improve battery life, and those who want Facebook to have less of a grip on their lives, Tinfoil for Facebook is an excellent solution. You may miss a small feature or two from the mobile app, but the short list of permissions will more than compensate for any inconveniences.

If you’re looking to read more about Facebook’s practices, Philip has explained how Facebook might be used to spy on you Three Reasons To Believe Facebook Might Be Used to Spy On You Facebook could be used against you. Privacy is something that should concern everyone, yet social networking blurs the line between right and wrong. Read More .

Do you use an alternative Facebook app? Are you concerned about Facebook’s privacy invasions? Will you give Tinfoil a try? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: girl using smart phone Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Facebook, Google Play, Online Privacy, Smartphone Security.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. iRouli
    June 23, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Thank you.

    I prefer it to the Android App because it looks more like the Desktop experience.

  2. Bryce
    August 23, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    I'm looking to move away from the Facebook app and am looking for an alternative that won't require access to my photos. Tinfoil and Metal require access to your photos before you can upload and post a photo on their websites.
    Would you know of any alternative Facebook apps that won't require this type of permission?

    • Ben Stegner
      August 24, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Bryce, unfortunately, requiring access to your photos is a requirement for an app to be able to post photos (to Facebook, in this case).

      If you deny an app access to your files/photos, it can't let you select a photo from your device to upload to Facebook. You're free to deny the app permission to access your photos, but you'll need to upload them through another method.

      The app I currently use is Swipe, which will have the same behavior as Tinfoil and Metal when it comes to this:

      Barring that, you can also use Facebook in your standard browser to upload photos, assuming you've granted your browser permission to access them.

      • Bryce
        August 24, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        Thanks Ben for the advice. Just a question- if I give permission to let these social media websites have access to my photos does that mean that anyone can see all of my photos? Even the ones that I didn't upload to the social media websites?

        • Ben Stegner
          August 27, 2018 at 1:48 pm

          When you give an Android app permission to access your photos, it's an all-or-nothing permission. So it if can access them, in theory, it could use that permission to look at them whenever it wanted (not saying that's happening, but it could).

          For example, if you install Swipe for Facebook and grant permission to your photos, it means you can upload photos from your device wherever you want. But it doesn't mean everyone on Facebook can see them . They'll only see a photo if you upload it and they fall under the audience you've set to share it with (for example, Friends Only).

          Does that make sense?

        • Bryce
          August 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

          Yes. And I guess it's the same on Facebook, Tinfoil and Metal also?

    • Ben Stegner
      August 27, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      I'm responding to your original comment as I can't respond to the latest message.

      Yes, that's right. Tinfoil, Metal, Swipe, etc. are all just wrappers on Facebook's mobile site. They provide an alternative to Facebook's terrible Android app and let you browse without all the permissions, data usage, background sync, etc.

      Once you put a picture on Facebook, no matter which app you used to do so, your privacy settings there determine who can see it. Granting an app permission to use your photos is just so the app (whichever one it is) can access your photos to upload.

  3. Judy
    November 7, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Just got a new phone LG6 & downloaded the Facebook app. When I went to upload a photo, Facebook wanted permission to use my phone's storage. I denied access & then searched the internet for a workaround, which is how I ended up at your site. Most showed (You Tube) or wrote about how to deny Facebook sync access; however, I could not even locate the sync button in the settings of my phone or on the Facebook app. Would denying sync control fix this problem of Facebook wanting storage access on my phone? Is this phone storage something new with Facebook? I already don't download apps that require access to my data & have location turned off. I am not a tech person but do value my privacy & find Facebook is going too far.

    • Ben Stegner
      November 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      If you deny an app permission to your phone's storage, there's no way that it can upload your photos because you've denied it the right to access them. Ever since Android 6.0 Marshmallow, permissions come on an as-needed basis. That means when an app wants to access something sensitive, it asks you for permission.

      Honestly, Facebook's app is awful and I'd recommend against using it for several reasons. This article is somewhat outdated and I now recommend the app Swipe for Facebook as the best way to use Facebook on Android without a million permissions and battery drain.

      Please see this article for more info and check out Swipe here:

  4. Kim Conover
    October 28, 2017 at 12:55 am

    If I uninstall the facebook app and only access it through my browser, will it still have access to all my information? Will it use less data? Memory? I only use the app every 2 or 3 days but it still eats up a ton of data.

    • Ben Stegner
      October 28, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      If you uninstall the Facebook app, using Facebook in your browser (or using an alternative app like Swipe) will certainly use less storage space on your device. It will likely use less data too, as the app won't constantly be checking for updates and notifications.

      In terms of accessing your information, that depends on what you mean. By having a FB account, Facebook has access to a lot of your information. If you remove the Facebook app from your phone, then FB won't have access to permissions like your camera and location on your phone though.

      I hope this helps.

      • Kim Conover
        October 29, 2017 at 1:29 am

        Yes, thank you, it does help. I know they have access to everything but my DNA. Thanks, again.

      • Kim Conover
        October 29, 2017 at 1:31 am

        Thank, it does help.

  5. Nightmare-Rex
    May 10, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    if you use a root app to remove permissions in an app dose that help? like if a game wants to boot at start and access cam and i use root to remove the permission is this effective or can they do bad stuff even with the permission now gone?.

    • Ben Stegner
      May 11, 2017 at 12:17 am

      If you're rooted (and on Android 6.0 and above without rooting), you can deny an app permissions, yes. Depending on how it's coded, though, the app might not function or have issues without them. For instance, if you deny the camera permission, the app might crash if you click on the "add photo" button.

      It's worth a try if you still want to use the official app though!

  6. Destiny
    April 5, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Hey there. If I use Tinfoil alone, or Tinfoil and another secure chat app, will my fb friends see when I'm active and how long it's been since I've been on fb? I like to browse when I'm waiting for class to start, waiting at a Dr appt, ect. But it's causing grief between me and some friends because they see me as active or recently active and ignoring them. I know a few friends who have nothing at all next to their name in chat, no green dot or last active time stamp, but have both the fb apo and messenger on their phone. I was wondering if you know how I can "blank" out the spot next to my name, or at least not let it track my activity for all to see. I've scoured the net and tried every suggestion to no avail. I do use Unseen in Chrome on my iMac and it works, but nothing like it for my android. Can you help? Thank you!

  7. John Pilkington
    July 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks, Ben, this is eaaclty what I needed to know. Inceasingly scary what Facebook seems to know about me. Will try Tinfoil.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 16, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      Glad you could use this! Metal is another great app (and the one I use currently). It's a bit sleeker than Tinfoil, if you'd like to try both.

  8. Carol
    April 26, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Hi I'm new to tinfoil facebook and I'm trying it out. Have to say so far I'm really impressed with it. My main beef about Facebook is it logs my activity as to when I last opened facebook, despite turning chat off. I just want to be sure using tinfoil doesn't show this information. I presume as I can't see my friends log activity on tinfoil they can't see mine. I'm running messenger as well as tinfoil as can't see my messages on tinfoil, it boots me out. If I have messenger running does this have an impact on my browsing activity on tinfoil?
    Any advice appreciated

  9. hamza
    December 7, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Try installing Facebook APK manually following this steps:

    on your phone go to settings > security and check the unknown source check box
    Download the latest (to the date of this answer) facebook apk from
    after the download is finished click on the apk in the list of Downloaded items or go to /sd card/downloads with a file manager app like es file explorer and open the apk file.
    the installation screen should appear showing the permissions asked by the app click on install at the bottom of the screen.
    wait for the installation to finish then click on open to open facebook app. (now you have the latest facebook app let's fix the play store issue)
    Now go to Settings > Applications > all, search the play store app and click on it.
    The info about the play store appear, wait until the delete data button is click-able then click on it and confirm.
    Now go back to your hame screen and launch the play store and wait for it to load you account then go to my applications tab you should see the facebook app there (if it's not try rebooting your phone).
    You are all set facebook is to latest version and will be updated normally from play store.

  10. Anonymous
    July 15, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Hi Ben - I like this article a lot - have download the tinfoil app and will give it a shot. A few things - the torch link no longer works - it is gone from the Play Store as well. Any other torch recommendations - most I can find have all sorts of permissions - the least I can find is one that wants to access the camera.

    If I leave my browser on my pc logged in - does this mean that FB can track my browsing on my PC as well? I'm happy to log out of this and only ever browse on my phone...

    haven't attempted the IFTTT bit yet - I hate notifications coming up on my phone - happy to see what's new once I'm in there looking.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Paul, thanks for commenting. Let me help you here:

      1) Apologies on the Torch link, that app did go away for some reason. Swift Torch is a goods replacement. The app needs access to your camera because that's how it turns the camera flash on. Flashlight apps should only have this permission - really, any other is unneeded.

      Swift Torch: [Broken Link Removed]

      2) This article is a few years old, but check it out for a good idea of how Facebook tracks you around the web. If you're logged into Facebook in Chrome on your PC, for example, and you're browsing around even without FB open, they're still tracking you. The benefit of Tinfoil on Android is that it keeps Facebook in its own browser, so when you use Chrome or another browser you aren't signed into Facebook.


      3) The IFTTT part isn't difficult, but I understand not wanting notifications. Honestly, I stop getting FB notifications when I started using Tinfoil and I love it. I don't care about every little thing that happens; I'll see it when I open Facebook later.

      Let me know if this helps!

  11. Anonymous
    July 9, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you for this information! I have refused to update the Facebook app because I didn't want it having all the permissions it was requesting, and it recently started acting up. While I was ready to give FB up altogether (at least on my phone), I am very glad to have found this site and this app! It does seem a little laggy, but I love the mobile web browser feel. I haven't read through the IFTTT stuff enough yet to determine if that's something I need to download or not, but THANK YOU for the FB alternative.

    • Ben Stegner
      July 18, 2015 at 4:22 pm

      You're very welcome, Heather. That's exactly what I wanted to help people do with this app! It can be a little weird at times but the benefits are definitely worth it. That bloated Android app is a thing of the past.

  12. Aashikk Vexus
    June 3, 2015 at 3:10 am

    using chat secure for chatting is a great way

  13. charlene
    April 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I'm in a country with limited network access too often, so wasn't able to read enough to know if there is any issue with sharing photos from Android HTC to Tinfoil? April 2015

    • Ben S
      April 27, 2015 at 5:36 pm

      Charlene, I never used Tinfoil on my old HTC EVO 3D, but I can't imagine that you would have any problems sharing photos with it. If you'd like to try it and have an issue, you can reply here or leave a question at MakeUseOf Answers.

  14. Peter
    December 23, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Of course I meant permitions :-)

  15. Peter
    December 23, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Hi Ben,

    Since I read your description I'm using tinfoil and it is great. I am just thinking about using ifttt,but I checked the premonitions and it needs a lot, so what I gained with using tinfoil I lose with using that (well not as much, but still a lot). My question is, why is ifttt better then?

    • Ben S
      December 23, 2014 at 12:26 am


      Glad you're using tinfoil! In regards to permissions, what I said in the article is my explanation. You need to trust the app with the permissions it's asking for.

      Facebook isn't exactly privacy friendly, so it makes sense you might not want to trust them. IFTTT requires the permissions to do things on your phone based on location prompts, or a contact, and stuff like that. If it didn't have those permissions, the app wouldn't be useful.

      A lot of legit developers will explain their permissions on the app page. Just because they don't have it doesn't mean it's malicious, however.

  16. Jacob
    December 21, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Hiya Ben,
    Fantastic post here. I started on Android with both Messenger and the Facebook app, cut out Messenger a couple of months back and have been looking for a way to cut out Facebook too, as it was taking up over 250MB of space and I don't like Facebook knowing my every breath.

    This looks great, bar one thing - how do I get notifications about messages on Facebook? I have it all set up for notifications, but I can't seem to find a way to get a push notification about new messages, through Pushbullet or IFTTT. Any ideas?


    • Ben S
      December 23, 2014 at 12:28 am

      Jacob, I haven't looked into messages for notifications. Since they don't come in an RSS feed it might be tougher to do. I'll take a look and if find anything I'll report back.

    • Sebastian
      January 3, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      That's my problem, too. A solution would be great!
      Thanks for the article though. How can one support you for your work? Flattr isn't very popular in the US, is it?

    • Anonymous
      March 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      If you use mobile chrome beta or mobile chrome dev (not sure about the regular mobile chrome channel). You can have the browser itself give you Notifications for various sites and services without needing to use a 3rd party app like Iffft. The browser can pull regular notifications for your phone, with vibrate and sound options.

      I have chrome providing me notifications directly to my phone (with options for vibrate or sound) for GameSpot and FB. You can both allow/block sites in Chrome's settings. And I believe you can filter the type of mobile Notifications directly in FB's mobile device settings under "Notifications" in account management, which can be accessed from web or app.

      It makes life pretty easy having Notifications handled directly by the mobile browser.

      Again, not sure if they added this function to the full release version of mobile chrome, but it's in the dev and/or bet versions.

      • Jacob
        March 26, 2016 at 6:42 pm

        Hey guys,
        I now also use Chrome's inbuilt notification systems for Facebook. I've even created a shortcut on my homescreen that takes me straight there, so it's as if I'm using an app anyway.
        Messages wise, I use Disa, which combines Facebook, WhatsApp and Texting all in one app, it's brilliant.

        • Anonymous
          March 26, 2016 at 6:58 pm

          Hey Jacob. There is also a neat app called Chromer on Android. You might find the functionality it gives you to be handy. It lets you choose to let chrome wrap any web page or the link inside of any app in a native tab, as if it was a packaged web app, helping it feel more native. (It let's you apply the chrome native tab functions without needing the developers to implement it for each web site or in-app)

          Like you did, I love being able to add a shortcut as an app icon to the desktop (I have FB and the verge icon shortcuts). But sometimes my phone and chrome act funky and won't add the icon after selecting to add it to desktop. I'm on the OG Droid Turbo Verizon.

  17. Jake
    December 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    I'm a big fan of Tinfoil... mostly. As recommended by the developer, I have it set to open non-fb links within Tinfoil instead of using my regular browser. However I fund that about one in ten links has an autoredirect to some sort of dubious site (cheap news, win shopping vouchers etc). They even have the kind of highly shady 'click to accept' popups which legit (but annoying ) sites use to prompt you to download their app. God knows what horror I'd unleash if I ever clicked OK on one of these!

    Anyone else experienced this, or have I installed some malware infested bastard version? If it's a common feature then it really should be flagged in the article...

    • Ben S
      December 23, 2014 at 12:27 am

      I've never heard of this behavior in my year+ of using the app, and I haven't had others tell me about it either. I don't believe these would be infected by the app developer, so I would be sure you don't have any adware on your phone.

    • Nightmare-Rex
      May 10, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      if you acidently click OK on one of those spam downloads it will download the .apk and you will have to accept to install it so can just delete the .apk before it is installed and damage is done.

  18. Rix
    December 4, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Wow, this is really useful. Really thank you , sir! IFTTT stuff is a great idea. Somhow I didn't thought about, although I'm using it actively. Thank you again! :)
    That was the day when I wiped that resource vampire FB from my phone. Yeeehaaa!

    • Ben S
      December 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

      I'm so glad this could help you! Enjoy having all of your phone back. : )

  19. Matt
    August 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks so much for this tutorial. I've officially switched over to Tinfoil; however, I cannot get IFTTT to trigger a notifcation on my phone. I signed up for an account, copied and pasted my own personal RSS URL from the RSS link in my Notifications page, and plugged that into the recipe you created, yet I am not able to get any notifications pushed to my phone. Any idea what I might be doing wrong?

    • Matt
      August 16, 2014 at 8:15 pm

      Sorry, I should also point out that I have downloaded the Android app and logged in/confirmed my account.

      • Anonymous
        March 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm

        If you use mobile chrome beta or mobile chrome dev (not sure about the regular mobile chrome channel). You can have the browser itself give you Notifications for various sites and services without needing to use a 3rd party app like Iffft.

        I have chrome providing me notifications directly to my phone (with options for vibrate or sound) for GameSpot and FB. You can both allow/block sites in Chrome's settings. And I believe you can filter the type of mobile Notifications directly in FB's mobile device settings under "Notifications" in account management, which can be accessed from web or app.

        It makes life pretty easy having Notifications handled directly by the mobile browser.

        Again, not sure if they added this function to the full release version of mobile chrome, but it's in the dev and/or bet versions.

    • Ben S
      August 17, 2014 at 7:52 pm

      Hmm, it sounds like you've done everything right. If you go to that recipe on either the website or the app, does it tell you how many times it has run? As long as the number isn't 0, it's running correctly.

      If that number is 0, to troubleshoot it, create a similar recipe that takes your notification RSS feed but instead sends you an email. I've created one for you to test here:

      Try that and if you get an email correctly, it's a phone issue. In my usage of this recipe, there was a bit of a delay between the event on FB and the notification sent to me.

  20. Traci
    August 12, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Do I have to create a username/pass for the IFTTT site or is it specific to FB?

    • Ben S
      August 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Traci, you'll have to first make an account with IFTTT.

      Once you're signed in to IFTTT online, head to the link I shared and start using that recipe. The only step required is that you'll need to paste your custom RSS link for notifications into the box. You don't need to sign into Facebook with IFTTT and the recipe is not specific to one account.

      Then, you need to put the IFTTT app on your phone and sign in. Whenever you get a FB notification, you'll get it sent to your phone. Simple as that!

      Let me know when you get it working okay.

  21. Denise E
    July 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Very useful! Thanks for this - especially for a "switched-off" user like me who isn't always up to speed, or even aware of how bad things are! I don't particularly care about adverts since I tune them out, but having FB sell my info off, or use it for other commercial things is just awful!

    Great suggestion to limit browsing in FB to a single browser. For some reason, I have Firefox, Chrome, and Safari on my MBP... so I guess I know what I'll be trying out if I can just stop opening links that my friends post on FB.....

    • Ben S
      July 4, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      You're quite welcome, Denise! It's good to be educated, even if you don't use Facebook a whole lot. Staying one step ahead of them is important!

      It can be a pain to limit FB to one browser, but it's a good idea. If you'd like a suggestion, try right-clicking links you want to open from your friends and opening them in a Private or Incognito window. This will let you read stuff they post without being signed in.

    • Denise E
      July 4, 2014 at 6:51 pm

      oops! when i said "switched off", I meant that I'm not really tuned in to updates and stuff - I use facebook pretty much everyday.

      Great suggestion re the incognito window - loads easier than using a separate browser.


  22. Michael McLeod
    July 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Do you have or know of a similar product to use with win 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04 both running the new Opera 23 & 24?

    • Ben S
      July 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      It's a bit of a different situation on a desktop/laptop machine, but I would try using a dedicated browser for Facebook and never signing into FB on your main browser. Try using a privacy-focused browser, like Aviator (just like Chrome), which Matt has reviewed:


      That way you can isolate Facebook usage to a single browser, and if you don't go anywhere else in that browser they have nothing to track.

  23. Albert
    July 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    There was no mention of it being able accept post from other Android apps (eg. sharing something from Google Newsstand), so I went ahead and tried it. Tinfoil seems unable to get the link from Google Newsstand. It just says "Your link could not be found."

    • Ben S
      July 4, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Albert, I apologize for this. Perhaps you could manually copy and paste the link into Tinfoil, or use a service like Pushbullet to push the link to your browser and share it from there?

      I'm sure the developer would take a look at this if you emailed him with your issue.

  24. Michael McLeod
    July 1, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    Just loaded it on my Chinese 7" tablet and it works just fine!

    • Ben S
      July 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Fantastic. So glad I could help. Enjoy!

  25. Eduardo G
    July 1, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I've ridden myself of the official app for some time already. I have been wondering if using FB from the browser is still able to track me?

    Thanks for the article btw. =)

    • Ben S
      July 1, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      You're welcome Eduardo!

      They're able to track you almost anywhere, unfortunately. I suggest doing some more reading at the linked pages to learn about that.

      As I mentioned in response to anothers' comment, using Tinfoil reduces their tracking, because you isolate your Facebook usage to just that app. Since you're not signed into the official app or even signed into your normal browser, they can't track you that way. If you notice, web links that you click on in Tinfoil open up in your default browser.

    • Eduardo G
      July 2, 2014 at 1:57 am

      Persistent buggers aren't they.

      I'm very contious of invaded privacy, so I've been refraining from revealing anything that is rather private. I've no idea how it started but it was when I was 10-ish.

  26. Michael McLeod
    July 1, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Ben, I'll give it a shot and if there are any problems post back, I suppose I should also post back if it does work!

    • Ben S
      July 1, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Yes, let me know either way. I'll be waiting to hear!

  27. Michael McLeod
    July 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Will it work on a Tablet in landscape mode?

    • Ben S
      July 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm

      Michael, I don't own a tablet, so I can't confirm this. However, I would imagine that it would work just fine, as it's just a browser running on your tablet. The screen orientation should make no difference.

  28. michael
    July 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    There is no ' get notification via RSS ' tab on my notification settings. . . what now?

    • Ben S
      July 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm


      You don't want to be on your notification settings page, but rather your "all notifications" page. It's right here:

      That's where you should see the RSS option.

      Is this the page you're on?

  29. Bill
    June 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    How is Tinfoil different from just using the mobile site on your phones browser?

    • Rolo
      June 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      I was just thinking that same question.

    • Ben S
      June 30, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Excellent question, Bill and Rolo. From the app's description:

      "It creates a sandbox for Facebook's mobile site in order to protect your privacy and to avoid the ability others to track your browsing history."

      In effect, Tinfoil is its own browser. If you're logged into Tinfoil and then try to open Facebook in your mobile browser of choice, you won't be signed in.

      This prevents Facebook from tracking what you're doing online while logged into their site in Chrome or another browser on your phone. When you open a link in Tinfoil, it will open in your default browser instead.

      Also, to a lesser degree, it's nice for people who like apps for doing different tasks, especially for those switching from the official FB app. It's nice to have something to click on, and it's a bit simpler than creating a shortcut to a bookmark.

      But the sandbox is the main reason.

    • LALa
      May 25, 2015 at 12:21 am

      The difference also is the fact that you can upload photo's because I had a hard time doing it with Facebook Mobile site. It would refresh everytime and I got so mad until I finally feel in live with tin

  30. Lize S
    June 30, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Brilliant recommendation. This is going straight onto my mom's tablet too.
    Thank you!

    • Ben S
      June 30, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      You're welcome! So glad it could help you. I recommended Tinfoil to both of my parents and they're using it, too. There's really no differences that matter much.

  31. Caroline W
    June 30, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Nice one Ben! I'm not a big fan of social networks anyway, but my sister, who lives in another country, wanted me to go on Facebook, I reluctantly agreed to - just for her - and installed the fb app onto my tablet not that long ago.

    Well, the last couple of weeks my tablets battery has had the life drained out of it and only today I thought about doing a factory restore... and then I read this, your article... and now know that it's been the facebook app that has done the draining! The timing of installing the app and the draining coincides perfectly.

    Let's just say, Facebook app Gone - Tinfoil for Facebook app Installed!

    I actually find the layout on Tinfoil easier to understand than the official app because it say's what each icon does, ie, Status, Photo... This helps someone who is not used to the site. I'm a bit concerned about the image upload problem, even the dev mentions it, but I haven't tried it yet so I don't fully know - not that I am bothered too much about it, but it could be handy to have.

    And thank you for mentioning IFTTT to workaround the immediate notification problem.... I'm personally not too concerned, so checking a couple of times a day will be no sweat. But for Facebook addicts it sorts that issue out :)

    Regarding permissions, I had NO idea how nosey and intrusive facebook is, it's taking the biscuit really, so I laughed when only one permission came up on TinFoil!

    Anyway, I say Thank You Ben, and very glad I checked in on MUO today when I did!! :-)

    • Ben S
      June 30, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      Caroline, thanks so much for your comment! I'm so glad this article helped you immediately; hearing that I helped makes my day.

      It is crazy when you take a step back and look at the Facebook app, isn't it? When I got my first Android phone, I figured "Well of course, it's Facebook, I want to get that on my phone."

      The effect on battery alone is enough to make the switch worth it. I find that when I'm not being constantly notified of every little thing on Facebook, it makes me happier, too. I couldn't be happier with Tinfoil; I really don't want to spend much time on Facebook when I'm on-the-go anyway.

      Thanks again for your comment! Hope you get adapted to Facebook quickly.

    • Anonymous
      March 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm

      If you use mobile chrome beta or mobile chrome dev (not sure about the regular mobile chrome channel). You can have the browser itself give you Notifications for various sites and services without needing to use a 3rd party app like Iffft. The browser can pull regular notifications for your phone, with vibrate and sound options.

      I have chrome providing me notifications directly to my phone (with options for vibrate or sound) for GameSpot and FB. You can both allow/block sites in Chrome's settings. And I believe you can filter the type of mobile Notifications directly in FB's mobile device settings under "Notifications" in account management, which can be accessed from web or app.

      It makes life pretty easy having Notifications handled directly by the mobile browser.

      Again, not sure if they added this function to the full release version of mobile chrome, but it's in the dev and/or bet versions.