Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. That has been the case for a long time now, and yet the company’s Android apps are still a mess. That is something that should not be the case at this point in time, especially considering this is one of the largest tech companies we’re talking about.
Facebook’s Android apps have never had the best reputation. Truth be said, they’ve been considerably worse in the past. Facebook did make a small step forward over the years, but its apps for Android are still bug-plagued, and quite frankly, a complete mess. Just to be clear, I’m talking about ‘Facebook’ and ‘(Facebook) Messenger’ specifically here.
Facebook and (Facebook) Messenger are the company’s most popular Android applications, by far. Millions of people use them on a daily basis, and they should be offering a really good user experience. Well, that is not the case, unfortunately, hence this article. We’ll talk about each of these apps down below, separately. Each of them has its own set of issues that we’ll tackle.
These are the issues that I’ve spotted, and every single one of them has been a problem for quite some time now. Some of these bugs / issues have been around for years at this point, so it’s really mind-boggling Facebook didn’t address them yet. In any case, let’s get started, we’ll talk about the ‘Facebook’ app first.
Facebook app issues on Android
Facebook has been around for much longer than (Facebook) Messenger. This application was almost unusable a couple of years ago. It was not only one of the worse-performing popular Android apps, but it was also a huge battery hog. Well, the app runs much smoother now, even though it’s still battery-hungry. There are some other issues that we need to talk about, though, issues that hinder the user experience.
It’s still power-hungry
Facebook’s main app is still one of the most power-hungry apps in the Play Store. Thanks to the way Android is set up these days, though, you can limit it, to an extent. It’s not nearly as much of an issue as it was before, but Facebook’s app is always near the top of my list when it comes to power consumption, no matter how much I use it during the day. It needs some further optimizations in this regard, that’s for sure. The fact it doesn’t have a dark mode only makes things worse, as the dark mode would certainly help on smartphones with OLED displays. That is something we’ll talk about as well.
Facebook’s main application is basically the only app that is still crashing on me. In the last year or so, this app has crashed on me several times. It’s not as bad as it used to, not even close, but it’s still something to note. Applications have managed to become really good over the years, and such issues should not be present anymore. That especially goes for an app of this caliber, that’s for sure.
It’s freezing all the time
Now, unlike crashing, Facebook for Android is constantly freezing on me. It happens most often on the main page, when I’m scrolling through my feed. The app simply freezes, you can leave that app, and use your phone normally, but Facebook remains unusable. I’ve tried leaving the app, and then returning to it without killing it, but that didn’t happen. I’ve even tried waiting 10-20 seconds, but that didn’t help either. This is an issue that occurs every couple of days, so it’s extremely annoying, especially considering Facebook doesn’t remember where you left off, so you have to start all over again if this Android app freezes.
Unread notifications are ever-present, even if you read them
As most of you know, the Facebook app for Android has a dedicated icon for your Facebook-related notifications. The premise is quite simple, it lets you know when you have a new notification, you tap it, and see what’s going on. That’s at least how it should work, but it doesn’t. It does let you know when a new notif is available, and you can tap that icon to check your notification, but that’s not the end of it.
At this point, it should mark that notification as ‘read’, when you tap on it, but it doesn’t, not exactly. It will do that when you tap on the notification itself, but when you return to that menu, it will still be marked as unread. That goes for the vast majority of notifications, at least. Because of this bug, I often have over 20 unread notifications, even though I read them all. The notification indicator will mark a ton of notifications for no reason.
This issue is always present in the notification list, when you tap the icon, while it occurs occasionally on the main page as well (as an indicator). Needless to say, this is a huge issue, and it should have been fixed urgently. Not only did that not happen, but the issue has been around for years now.
Mark read option is not available for notifications
So, not only does Facebook (sometimes) doesn't register when you open a notification within the app, it doesn't allow you to mark a notification read until you open it. That goes for both single notifications, and all of them. Pretty much every single modern app offers such functionality, so… Facebook should come to its senses one of these days. The whole notifications setup within Facebook is messed up, to say the least.
The dark mode is still not available
This is not a bug, but it is an issue in this day and age. Facebook for Android is one of the most popular apps in the Play Store, and yet it doesn’t support dark mode, of any kind. That would help with the power consumption of this application, that’s for sure. On top of that, it would be less annoying using Facebook in dark environments, as it’s predominantly white at the moment. There have been reports that Facebook is working on a dark mode for this app, but we still have no idea when to expect it.
You can force dark mode on Android 10, but Facebook apps don’t cooperate
There is a way to force dark mode for all apps, if you’re running Android 10. This even applies to apps that don’t support dark mode. You need to go to the developer settings in order to do it, as explained here. The thing is, once you do that, Facebook doesn’t want to cooperate. It will mess up parts of the app, white text will blend with the white background, and the app basically becomes unusable. You’d think this is normal considering that we’re talking about an option in the developer settings, right? Well, no, as basically every other app that I have installed on my phone works fine with this, the only two apps that get messed up are Facebook and (Facebook) Messenger. That is happening because of the way the app is designed, it doesn’t follow Google’s Material Design guidelines, at all, either of them.
(Facebook) Messenger issues on Android
As you can see, Facebook’s main app has quite a few issues. What about its ‘Messenger’ app, though? Well, it also has a ton of issues, though those issues are different to the main app. I’d say Messenger’s problems are just as significant, though, and just as annoying at the same time. That is quite unfortunate, of course, but there you have it. Do note that I won’t be mentioning battery consumption here, as it’s not as big of an issue as it is for the Facebook app.
Messages disappear temporarily
So, this is a relatively new issue, it started appearing a couple of weeks ago. So, I tend to get a message via the app, and it disappears before my eyes. It disappears right when I open the conversation, I can see it disappearing. This happened 5-6 times thus far. It always happens with one message bubble only, and the message reappears when I restart the app. Needless to say, this is quite annoying.
Huge batches of messages disappear permanently
This is not an issue I’ve noticed myself, but my fiance did. First, she several weeks' worth of messages, they just disappeared. She did not see them disappear, but they were nowhere to be found. Those messages reappeared soon after, though. In another instance, about a month’s worth of messages disappeared, in a conversation she has with me. Those messages disappeared a couple of weeks ago, and they did not reappear yet. So, it’s safe to assume they’re gone. I tried clearing cache and data, but that did not help at all. Those messages are not even available via Messenger for the web, so… they’re gone. There are no words to express how much that annoyed me.
Can’t send pictures on the first try
This is an issue that happens daily for me, as I send a lot of images via Messenger. What happens is, I select a number of pictures (5-30), and send them to a person or a group. Soon after, Messenger lets me know that those pics haven’t been sent, and tells me to try again. After I do, the app sends them without a problem, on the second try. This is an unnecessary problem, and an obvious bug. I had this issue a long time ago, then it was fixed, and it reappeared a couple of weeks ago after I updated the app. It doesn’t happen every time I’m sending pictures, but it happens quite often.
Can’t send specific video clips
The app is simply refusing to send some specific video clips. Let me give you an example. If you’re browsing Reddit, for example, and you stumble upon some funny clips, and want to send them to your contacts via Messenger, you may not be able to. I’ve been using an app called ‘Joey’, which is a third-party app for Reddit. Out of five clips I downloaded, one did not go through. No, it was not too large of a file, nor was its duration over the limit, not at all.
It seems to have something to do with codecs on specific files, or something of the sort. Interestingly enough, I have not had such issues with clips downloaded via Relay, and I’ve sent over a hundred thus far. So, it’s obviously an issue with specific files only, but the issue is on Messenger’s part, as I’ve had issues with clips downloaded via other apps as well.
It’s reverting back to the old notification ringtone
Facebook’s Messenger app allows you to set up a third-party notification ringtone. Unfortunately, you need to manually move those downloaded ringtones in a specific folder in order for Messenger to recognize them. That is quite annoying to begin with, but not a bug. The issue appears when I do set a notification ringtone. It works fine for a while, and then it starts reverting back to the old one, randomly. I tried overriding that via Android’s app settings, but it reverts back randomly regardless.
Forget using Messenger in split screen mode
If you use your phone's split screen function often, well, forget about it when it comes to Messenger. Facebook, for one reason or the other, removed that functionality a while back. Up until about a year ago, I was able to utilize Messenger in split screen, but not anymore. If you're in the split screen mode, and try to open a message from Messenger, or simply open the app, your phone will kill the split screen setup immediately. The weird thing is, this is not the case with Facebook, Facebook's main app works fine in split screen. It's beyond weird.
Both Facebook apps for Android are plagued with issues that need to be fixed
It is possible that I forgot a bug or two, as I’ve spotted quite a few of them over time. I did not mention ones that were fixed on purpose, of course. It is possible that some of you have additional bugs to note, the ones that I did not experience / notice. If that is the case, we’d gladly hear what you have to say, as per usual. I do hope that Facebook will finally fix such issues in the near future, it’s about time.