The long lines for brand-new iOS devices are the stuff of legend. Can you remember the last time you didn’t see Apple fans camped out overnight for the latest iPhone or iPad? But despite the hoopla, iOS devices still weren’t so user-friendly for Facebook chatters.
Facebook 6.0’s Chat Heads function made it possible to communicate with Facebook friends without actually being on the mobile app. The only people who could use it, however, were Android users. People using iOS devices had to wait until they were posting status updates and photos of cute puppies to chat with their friends.
But there’s a catch; the flexibility isn’t coming from Facebook, at least not yet.
The Power of Message Box
When installed on an iPhone or iPad, Chat Heads works the way it always has, which is not as flexibly as the Android version. Facebook said an update would come a few weeks later, but that wasn’t fast enough for some iPhone users.
Enter Adam Bell, a developer who knows a thing or two about jailbreaking and freeing iOS apps from their built-in constraints. Bell created a Clydia tweak called Message Box, which frees Chat Heads from the rest of the Facebook app, allowing you to stay in touch with your network even when you’ve shut Facebook Messenger down and moved on to other apps.
To get started, install Message Box on your phone and then reboot. After it turns back on, launch Facebook in your phone and start a conversation with someone.
When you turn off the app, the chat bubble should still be there and your conversation still active. Plus, like its Android counterpart, the bubbles can be moved around your screen.
What’s the Verdict?
No app is perfect, especially when it’s still in beta. But initial reviews of Message Box on Chat Heads have been remarkably positive. If installed and operated correctly, the tweak worked exactly the way everyone expected. The bubbles stayed open even after Facebook Messenger was closed, and they moved freely around the screen until the user sent them to the bottom of the screen.
This means you no longer have to interrupt your life to chat with friends. Now you can crack jokes with your old high school flame while shopping and sending email.
That doesn’t mean Message Box is completely problem-free though. The app won’t work properly unless you completely reboot your iPad or iPhone, so make sure to follow the exact installation instructions. Also, some users discovered that open bubbles take up a lot of power, so close inactive chats to keep your battery running longer.
Some users complained of the app freezing on occasion, so it’s possible some of your chats will be cut short. Finally, while Message Box frees your Facebook chats from Facebook, it doesn’t integrate messages sent via SMS or iMessage, so don’t make it your default chat feature just yet.
The good news is these are small issues compared to the freedom of using Chat Heads whenever you want, without staying on Facebook 24/7.
Alicia Lawrence is a content coordinator for Inbound Marketing Inc. In her free time, she enjoys blogging about public relations and SEO at MarCom Land.