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Navigating the Facebook Mobile Home Page

On your mobile phone, open your browser application and navigate to m.facebook.com — a site Facebook designed specifically to work on a teeny-tiny screen. The first time you arrive at m.facebook.com, you’re asked to log in. After that, you never have to reenter your log-in info unless you explicitly log out from your session, so be sure you trust anyone to whom you lend your phone.

Viewing a web page from your phone can be extremely difficult because the information that is normally spread across the width of a monitor must be packed into one tiny column on your phone. Facebook is no exception to this, which is why the very first tip in this section is: Never go to www.facebook.com on your mobile phone. You’ll regret it.

If you plan to use the Facebook Mobile site frequently, consider an unlimited data plan that allows you to spend as much time on the Mobile web as you like for a fixed rate. You can spend hours on Facebook Mobile.

Mobile Home

After you log in, you see the mobile version of the Facebook Home page. The design of the mobile site closely resembles the design of the regular website, with some minor differences. Some differences exist simply because of less space.

The other differences arise because people using Facebook on a phone often have different needs than those at a computer. For example, you’ll see an additional “mobile menu” in the blue bar of your friends’ mobile Timelines with options to call or text them.

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From m.facebook.com, you’ll see these items in your Mobile Home page:

  • Facebook menu: Click the three horizontal lines at the top-left corner of the screen to open a drop-down menu with links to the usual Facebook suspects: News Feed, Messages, Check In, Events, Groups, Friends, Notes, Settings, and Help.

  • Friend Requests, Messages, and Notifications: The three icons across the top of your screen are used throughout the Facebook experience: Friend Requests, Messages, and Notifications. New or unread actions are marked by a red flag in each category.

  • Sort: This button, at the top-right of the screen, lets you choose how to view your News Feed. You can either display Top Stories or Most Recent stories.

  • Events and Birthdays: When you reach the mobile site, you find any upcoming events right at the top of the Home page. You are also notified of any friends celebrating their birthdays today, so you can easily hop over to their Timelines and wish them a happy day.

  • Status: Facebook makes it super-easy to update your status so you can spread the news the moment you’re doing something you want people to know about.

  • Photo: If you want to upload a photo to your Facebook account, you can tap this button and either use your built-in camera to take a photo or pick a photo from your phone’s photo library to upload to your Timeline.

  • Check In: If you want to let people know where you are, through Facebook, tap the Check In button to share your location on your Timeline.

  • Mobile News Feed: Shows you the same stories that you would see on your computer. As you scroll down, you’ll see more and more stories, so you can keep reading to your heart’s content.

Mobile Timeline preview

Timelines on Facebook Mobile appear slightly different than Timelines on the regular site. The structure is ordered such that the information you’re after is closest to the top.

Access to information on mobile Timelines is the same as on the regular site. Also, people have access only to what you specify via the privacy settings on the regular site:

  • Mobile Menu: When viewing a friend’s Timeline, three white dots in the top right of the blue bar represent the mobile menu. Clicking this menu opens a drop-down menu with shortcuts to message, call, text, or poke the friend whose Timeline you’re viewing.

  • Profile picture and cover photo: Just a smaller version of the profile picture and cover photo you see on the regular site.

  • Action buttons: On the regular site, the Friends, Message, and Gift buttons appear within the cover photo, but for the mobile site they are directly below the cover photo.

  • Basic Information: Below the action buttons is some of your friend’s basic info, such as where she works and where she went to school.

  • Sections: Below Basic Information, you see a row of boxes labeled About, Photos, Friends, Music, and so on. Tapping any of these sections takes you to their respective page. Tapping Photos allows you to see all your friend’s tagged photos as well as photos she's uploaded by album.

  • Timeline and Share box: The star of the show is your friend’s Timeline, where you can see her most recent posts, whether that’s a status update or a photo. You can also see how many people liked or commented on her posts. Or use the Share box to add a post on your friend’s Timeline.

Mobile Inbox

In the Mobile Inbox, your messages are sorted by the time the last message on a thread was sent. Each thread includes the sender’s name, the date or how recently the message was sent, and a preview of the message.

When you open a mobile thread, similar to regular Facebook, the newest message is at the bottom with the Reply box beneath it. You can access a drop-down menu with action links from the blue bar at the top of the message. You can Mark Read/Unread, Delete, Report Spam or Abuse, Move to Other, Archive, or Forward.

The Mark as Unread option is particularly handy because often you read a message on your mobile phone, but don’t have time or energy to type a response right then. Marking it as Unread reminds you to respond when you return to your computer.

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