Facebook for Android Alpha build sports a new look

by: Andrew GrushJanuary 20, 2014


Back in October, Facebook announced it would be offering a new “Facebook Alpha program” for users looking to test out some of the most cutting-edge features using the popular social network’s Android app. Now Facebook alpha build has arrived, bringing with a fairly major overhaul to the app’s user interface.

The screenshots and information regarding the new version of the app come from XDA user jaaystott, who is a member of Facebook’s Alpha testing team. While the changes might not be that dramatic, the new UI is much cleaner and arguably more attractive than prior versions of the app.

Here’s a screenshot comparing the newsfeed on the alpha build (right) versus the current stable release (left):


So when can we expect this refresh to come to the main app? Honestly, it’s hard to say. For one thing, Facebook previously noted that some new alpha features would “come and go” so there is no guarantees that the new UI will make it to the stable release, though we wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

If they do decide to move forward with the new look, it will first hit the beta build of the app and then, sometime after that, the UI will come to the stable version of Facebook. In other words, we wouldn’t expect to see the new user interface officially roll out anytime soon.

What do you think of the new UI, like the new look versus the older one? An improvement or not?

Update: As noted by several readers both in the comments below and via Google+, the new look has technically existed for a little while now (at least for some of the alpha users), and is actually enabled server side. In other words, the new look is not specific to alpha 6, as many alpha testers are already rocking alpha 7 yet a number of them still don’t have the new UI.

  • Jack Parker

    It looks flat just like kitkat but I’ve noticed it doesn’t matter what phone you have Facebook always lags.

    Let’s hope this is better

    • Santiago Fernández Devoto

      You’re right, I tested on a Nexus, HTC One, SGSIII, SGS4 (my own devices and friend’s ones) and it’s badly optimized… they prefer doing staff on iOS devices…
      But this won’t make me go back to iPhone again…

    • jeff

      Facebook has never lagged on my gs4.

      • Renato Paredes Araújo

        You use touchwiz. You are so used to lag that you can t see it.

  • Learn2CodeFB

    Does it not fucking use 50-80MB by just having it installed now?

    • Why???

      Right? I actually factory reset my phone once, downloaded Facebook, Clean Master and did nothing else. Didn’t sign in, didn’t even launch the app.
      Looked in Clean Master > Memory Boost and it was using ~60MB of RAM.

    • Ray

      I gave up using the beta, and the Facebook app in general a little while ago. Every time a new beta release came out, they stated ‘memory improvements’ but nothing ever appeared to improve memory. It was just an extra permission added, a bug fixed which in turn created more bugs.

      For me, with location disabled, auto sync off, just sitting idle in the background I never noticed the app go below 100mb.

      The beta is a joke. Facebook as a whole is a joke. They never have and never will listen to their users. They will add and take away features as they see fit regardless of what the beta and alpha users thing, or the general public for that matter.

      I was even banned from the Facebook Android Beta Facebook page for questioning Facebook about the permissions. I was in no way rude or abrupt – simply putting the question out there. See image attached.

      About 2-3 days later, I couldn’t post any more and all my comments were deleted. My beta days ended there.

      I even wrote a short article about my experience with Facebook’s shady permissions – http://rayshq.com/2013/12/facebooks-shady-android-app-permissions/ – it probably didn’t help that I posted this on the beta page but regardless, people need to be aware that not everything is as it seems.

      Facebook is without a doubt (IMO) the dodgiest there is when it comes to user security and privacy. They will grab every single bit of information from you whenever and where ever possible, and if they can do it without you knowing, they will!

  • Jayfeather787

    Yeah I like the looks. Looks like kit kat.

  • Ris

    No full screen for kit kat????? No transparent buttons??? On IOS FB redesign to be compatible with IOS 7, but for 4.4 kit kat noooo. Bravo FB for you effort for android users…

    • Shark Bait

      why does it need to be full screen? games yes, apps why?

    • alvin

      or for other phones that support transparent status bar like my Gs4

    • Ben Edwards

      How do you know it doesn’t have transparent button/status bar or immersive mode support for 4.4?

    • Tay

      I want full screen mode tbh. It’s fine for games but not social apps.. Would like to see the status bar.

      Also even Google hasn’t implemented transparent buttons on most of their apps? on
      My nexus7 only the home screen has that

  • Yves Schleich

    It’s better than before and looks more like Android but why is the menu on the right with three horizontal stripes? Why not in a navigation drawer on the left?

    • Ben Edwards

      The option on the right will be to see which friends are online, like with the current stable release.

      • Yves Schleich

        Yes. The three stripes on the top right with the guy. But in the lower navigation on the right these are the options. And they are supposed to be in the navigation drawer on the top left or should be accessible via swiping. In my opinion.

        • Ben Edwards

          Ah right, yes I agree they should be on the left/accessible by swiping.

  • Juston Li

    This new UI was uncovered several months ago but it turned out to be enabled server side by facebook. I’m on the alpha 7 without the new UI

    • Santiago Fernández Devoto

      Yeahp, it’s purely server side, because I’m as well as you with the old UI, and sometimes very rarely it switches but not completely

    • Adam

      As am I. I’m on a Nexus 5 in Australia. I read about the redesign a few months ago and its been driving me nuts that I still haven’t seen it. Straight to version

  • Skhulile Mdaka

    I guees this is only for phones, because I’m on version 7.0 on my Note 10.1 and don’t have the new UI

    • Ben Edwards

      They need to release an app with a proper tablet UI, I can’t stand using the FB app on my tablet – I always resort to using the web page.

      • Skhulile Mdaka

        I agree, I don’t understand why it’s taking them a long time to make one, the current UI does not look nice on a tablet

  • Santiago Fernández Devoto

    It’s a lie this, because I’m on Alpha and I only saw that UI once and not complete.
    At the moment this Alpha version it’s using 55MB of RAM on my SGSIII (GT-I9300) w/ 4.3 JB

  • bligui

    I have version on a Galaxy Note 3 and I do not have the new UI I get to see parts of it if I go into a persons profile that has the newest facebook UI that came out a while ago to just some users.

    • Christian Tolentino

      same here.. same version. but i don’t see any changes at all with the UI.

  • najiy91

    full view of friend request,notifications and messages. good update!

  • Srinivas Arnepalli

    So fb is moving away from the google approved hamburger style side drawer. Wow.. It had one thing going its way and now this.

  • Xero Lulamoon

    I have noticed in my stable Facebook like a week ago the top bar would change too that but after I re open the app it changed back…why?

  • duffman38

    I got the new user interface since 2 week or so both on my nexus 4 and 7 (2012)and I’m on the stable version of Facebook

  • Guest

    I’ve had this UI on my Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 2 for about a month now… but I’m not part of the alpha/beta testing group. Maybe it’s rolling out?

  • Xavier_NYC

    I’ll pass. Deleted the previous version from my phone. Thanks for the 790 Wakelocks in 5 hrs..

  • A googler

    Yuk I prefer friendcaster it doesn’t wipe out your battery by constantly tracking you and other nasty stuff

  • Ashutos Don Jain

    I am , still no ui change

    • Ricardo Rodriguez

      That’s weird I have version and I see the new UI. And I was in the beta. What i mean by was is I bought a new phone and Downloaded what I thought was the regular version of Facebook off the play store.

  • Ricardo Rodriguez

    I just received this update as and I was a beta user. Is this hitting regular users too?Anyways. I like it. Runs smoother then the old UI.

  • Frank Way

    They must have started rolling this out — I ended up getting it, and a lot of my friends don’t yet have it. The most annoying thing for me is that they apparently removed the ability to sort the news feed by Top Stories or Most Recent. I prefer Most Recent but this version is only sorting the news feed by Top Stories…..

  • Danny

    I’ve got a HTC One & a Nexus 5 & a Nexus 7.
    All running on same build. Version

    Only the Nexus 5 sports the new look. The rest is still the old UI. Definitely not account related. As all devices logs on to the same account.

    I just got the new look on the nexus 5 today. I like it so far. :)