Five tips to help you get started with Facebook's Paper app

Facebook's newsiest iPhone app, Paper, makes your newsfeed look better than ever.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Last week Facebook announced a new app called Paper. The app is designed to help users discover news through what it's calling "Sections." Sections contain articles posted by your friends or surfaced through Facebook's algorithms.

As of today, Facebook has made Paper available for iPhone users through the App Store. For now, the app is US only.

The first time you launch the app a video will walk you through some of the basics of Paper. After the initial tutorial, when you navigate to a screen for the first time, the same voice and overlays found in the video will walk you through some component of the app. But the tutorial doesn't cover everything, so here's some tips to get you get started.

Customize sections

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

After going through the initial tutorial where you're taught how to add news sections to Paper, you can go back and edit your sections by swiping down from the main screen in Paper, then tapping on "Edit Sections."

You can add or remove sections with a simple gesture, but did you realize you can also rearrange the sections? Tap and hold on a section's icon and drag it to your desired location in your Sections catalog.

The only section you cannot remove is your Facebook feed. Should you decide you want to use Paper strictly as a news source, you can move it to the end of your sections.

Disable autoplay videos

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Arguably one of the more annoying features apps are starting to implement is the auto play of videos. Facebook and Instagram are both guilty of using the feature, but also provide methods for disabling it. As such, Facebook gives Paper users the option to disable video autoplay when browsing sections.

Pull down the menu by swiping down on the main screen in the app, then tapping on "Settings."

Move the switch next to "Autoplay Videos" to the left to turn it off.

Notifications

While you're in the settings, you can also decide if you'd like Paper to receive all Facebook notifications going forward. Doing so will allow you to more or less replace the main Facebook app with Paper.

In my short time with the app this morning I've yet to find a feature I regularly use in the main Facebook app missing from Paper. I'm able to like, comment, post status updates and use Messenger (complete with chat heads). Paper may end up being the first Facebook app I truly enjoy using; it's still early, though.

Save stories for later

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the main idea behind Paper being to help users discover news, it makes sense that Facebook included the option for users to save articles with a service built for saving articles. Services such as Instapaper, Pocket, Pinboard, and Safari's Reading List are supported by Paper.

In order to customize your read-it-later service, navigate to Paper's setting section and select "Read Later" from the list. Tap on the service you'd like to use and enter your username and password if prompted.

To save an article for later reading, tap on the share button when viewing viewing the card with the title of the article and tap on save.

Search Facebook

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

One feature that's not abundantly clear until you dig around in the app some is the ability to view the feed of any Group, friend or Page you follow on Facebook.

You can either search for a friend or page by swiping down on the main screen. Along the top of the screen you'll search a search icon, where you can search for a Facebook account. Or by tapping on the three-lined icon in the top-right corner you'll be able to view a list of your friends, groups, and Pages.

There's still yet more to learn about Facebook Paper, but between the initial walkthrough and these additional tips, you should be able to start putting Paper to work for you.

 

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