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LinkedIn for iOS review: Newly improved, but still lacking in search

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The revamped LinkedIn mobile app for iOS offers a sleek interface for accessing the popular professional networking service while on the go. While it may not come loaded with all the functionality of the full, browser-based site, the app can perform most of LinkedIn's primary functions and gives access to its most frequently used tools.

linkedin_ios_sidebyside.jpg
7.5

LinkedIn for iOS

The Good

The <b>LinkedIn</b> mobile app performs well, has a beautiful interface, and offers many of the most frequently used features of the professional networking Web site.

The Bad

Weak search capabilities and a lack of powerful tools for research will disappoint LinkedIn's most dedicated users.

The Bottom Line

While the LinkedIn app should suffice for most, power users will be disappointed, mostly by its anemic search tool.

With its recent redesign, LinkedIn's interface now revolves around the user's stream. Just like on the Web, this stream serves up status updates, connection updates, news, posts from the influencers you follow, group posts, job changes, and so on. And according to the app's developers, LinkedIn gives you a different experience depending on how you use the app. For instance, the algorithm powering the stream selects top stories since your last visit if you're an infrequent visitor, and shows all of the most recent updates if you're a more habitual user of the application, which is a nice touch. What's more, all of this is packaged in an attractive and geometric Home screen with sharp corners and large images, similar to Google+.

The new and improved LinkedIn iOS app has a slicker interface and navigation neatly tucked into a sliding side panel. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

To update your LinkedIn status, just hit the Compose button at the top of the Home screen. From there, you'll be able to set the visibility of your post to be seen by anyone or connections only, and choose whether to publish your update to Twitter at the same time -- conveniences that are also available on the Web.

With the Home screen now completely dedicated to your stream, all of the app's navigation has been neatly tucked into a slide-out panel on the left, again making it similar to Google+. Here you get one-tap access to your profile, messages, and notifications, as well as a Home screen icon that continuously shuffles through the latest updates from your stream. But the real beauty of this navigation panel is its flexibility. With a few taps, you can customize it with shortcuts to other parts of the app, such as Groups, Companies, News, or Jobs.

If you use LinkedIn for research, then you might be disappointed to find that power features like alumni search, skill search, polls, and company insights are missing. Of course, most people won't need to access these on the go, but it's still worth mentioning that they are, as yet, unavailable. That said, with LinkedIn's recent investment in mobile, I'm sure the company will add at least a few of these features in the near future.

LinkedIn mobile app revamped (pictures)

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With so many people using LinkedIn for job searching, I was disappointed to find the mobile app to be lacking in this area. It gives you access to recommended jobs as well as your own saved jobs, but it doesn't let you search for any posted openings on the network. Nor does the app let you share jobs or apply to jobs, like the Web site does.

But my biggest issue with the LinkedIn app is its weak search tool. I already mentioned that the app can't search for jobs, but more than that, it can't search for groups or companies, and it doesn't autocomplete or offer search suggestions. Altogether, this makes for a huge gap in functionality between the full Web site and the mobile app, and I can't imagine it will stay this way for much longer.

Many of these issues and features also exist in the Android version of LinkedIn, as the two apps were updated at the same time.

linkedin_ios_sidebyside.jpg
7.5

LinkedIn for iOS

Score Breakdown

Setup 10Features 6Interface 9Performance 10