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Facebook brings free VoIP calling to flagship app in update

In an update to Facebook's flagship iOS app rolled out on Friday, the social networking monolith ported over free VoIP calling first seen in the Facebook Messenger app, though initial availability limited to the U.S. and Canada.

First introduced as an update to Messenger for iOS in January, which itself brought recorded voice message capabilities, the VoIP calling feature was limited to a Canadian beta. The service went live in the U.S. two weeks later, but remained as a Messenger-only feature.

With Friday's update, users who prefer to stick with the flagship Facebook app can now access VoIP calling to friends who have also downloaded the newest software version.

Placing calls is identical to the Messenger implementation. iPhone users swipe right on the main Facebook app page to reveal a list of friends with which they would like to speak. Navigating to the "i" button found at the top of every chat window now shows a "Free Call" button that will be shown in color if the friend's device supports the feature, or grey if it does not. It should be noted that VoIP calling uses data when on a cellular network.

Along with the VoIP calling, a few minor changes were made to Facebook's app:

  • New button design makes it easy to like, comment and share posts in News Feed
  • Improved buttons to like, comment and share posts
  • Share button to re-post stories from your News Feed now available in all languages
  • Call friends for free right from Facebook (US and Canada)

The universal Facebook for iOS app can be found on the App Store as a free 22.7MB download.