Whether it's to get around your pesky Net restrictions at work, or just to keep in touch while you're out and about, accessing Facebook on your mobile phone has never been easier. We've compiled a short step-by-step guide on how you can keep in touch with the 400 million active Facebook users around the globe.
Step one: Ensure your phone is set up for mobile Internet access
Using Facebook on your mobile phone requires your handset to have Internet access. The great news is that prices have fallen so much in recent times that mobile Internet access is now affordable for almost anyone. Mobile Internet is also available on almost every mobile phone, even non-3G handsets.
Check out our guide to setting up Internet access on your mobile phone — be sure to pay attention to the information on not getting stung with huge phone bills.
Step two: App or browser access
The emergence of mobile applications means Facebook can be accessed through a separate program on many smartphones. There is a dedicated Facebook app available for the iPhone in addition to Android smartphones, Windows Mobile smartphones, BlackBerry smartphones, Symbian smartphones, and any Nokia phone capable of accessing the company's Ovi Store.
Apple's iPhone app store is the most popular mobile applications store, but there are plenty of alternatives, spearheaded by Google's Android marketplace.
If your phone can access a dedicated Facebook application, then this is usually more user friendly than going through the regular Web browser. For example, the Facebook for iPhone app allows you to upload images taken with the iPhone's camera.
To download the Facebook application for your mobile phone, you'll need to access the app store on your particular handset. The user interfaces of the five main app stores are similar, though Apple's app store and Google's Android market are the two standouts in terms of the number of apps available and ease of use.
If your mobile phone doesn't have access to a dedicated Facebook app, you can access Facebook directly through your phone's mobile Web browser. Simply type www.facebook.com into the browsers address bar and you'll be able to log in and access the site. Facebook should automatically detect you're browsing from a mobile phone and therefore load the mobile version of the site. If not though, you can access the mobile site by changing the address to m.facebook.com. The mobile site is designed to be viewed on a mobile phone screen and will use less data and load faster than the regular version.
Step three: Facebook away!
Facebook mobile is a similar experience to the full version of Facebook, with a few exceptions. You can update your status, browse photos, see your friends' pages, tag your friends in photos and see groups, but you can't access or upload videos.
The Facebook for iPhone application doesn't allow you to view groups and while you can RSVP to events you can't write on an event's wall. You can, however, access Facebook chat, which isn't available on the regular Facebook mobile site.
The home page of the Facebook for iPhone app
The features and functions for Facebook applications on other mobile phones, including the likes of BlackBerry and Android smartphones, will vary depending on the app. Critically, these apps are constantly being updated with new features and improvements, so the user experience will continue to improve over time.