October 28th, 2012
The current size of a “Cover” image, the optional large photo or other image that runs across almost the entire width of a Facebook page open in a browser window, is 851 X 315 pixels.
Besides the fact that this is an odd size in and of itself, it is vastly too low resolution for a wide variety of current devices displaying Facebook by either a browser window or the Facebook stand-alone app.
We are not talking about only the very new hiDPI, high-resolution or hi PPI devices hitting the market. Using the Facebook app on an old-school iPad 2 with the wimpy resolution of 1024×728, the app stretches the 851 pixel wide cover photo to the full width of the iPad 2, or 1024 pixels, when using the tablet in the horizontal position. This makes all cover images in the Facebook App for iPad look bad, or pixelated.
Therefore you have Facebook creating a new app that now does run on millions (maybe hundreds of millions) of devices, their app developers have the cover photo run the entire length of the device’s screen, and Facebook does not update/up-res the size of the image one can upload for a cover image.
This is not to mention the newer hiDPI (Retina) iPad and all the newer Android-based tablets that are also hiDPI that will want between 1400 and 2048 pixels to render that cover pict in all its visual glory. Even if Facebook were to compress a bit more, they at least need to give their users the needed pixel width in image uploads to allow for proper looking images.
Compounding the oddity of Facebook not upping the available resolution of the all-important cover image, you have all the various “ultrabooks” and other newer laptops with very many pixels per inch or PPI. The entire new line of Macbook Pro’s with Retina display that are 220 PPI. By next year every major manufacturer of laptops will have models with high-resolution displays, and most do right now. Hell, Intel warns of impending high-resolution explosion!
Facebook, fix this now. Flip the switch. Cannot believe this blog article is needing to be written at this time, over a full year after the initial release of the Facebook App for iPad.
Facebook updated their iOS app today and instead of making the upload for the cover image at least 1024 pixels, they shrank the cover image on the iPad app to accommodate the now-always-showing side column, either the right column showing your friends or the left column. Therefore, the cover image is never stretched across the full width of the iPad in the horizontal position, which would require a 1024 pixel image for iPad1 & iPad2 and a 2048 pixel image for iPad3 & iPad4. (Not to mention all the other mega PPI tablets)
A very poor solution, IMO. But at least the cover image is not sized-up as much, so it looks a little less bad.
Facebook, you can do hi-res without much increase in size…hi-res compresses quite well and still looks good. The hi-PPI images on my own website are only about 30% larger in size, yet 200% larger in pixels–and they look great!
Once again, this is a no-brainer and Facebook does less than great for now.