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How Do I Switch Back to the Old Facebook Layout?

Dealing with things that keep changing.

Every time Facebook makes a change to its interface, many people want to go back to what was. I'll discuss just how realistic that desire is.
Question: I want the old Facebook. I hate the way it is now. How do I switch back to the old Facebook layout?

Here’s the brutally honest answer that most people won’t tell you: you can’t.

Even if you can for a while, eventually you can’t.

With that out of the way, I do have some recommendations for making your Facebook experience less frustrating.

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Facebook often makes changes to its user interface. While they may make an old version available for a while, it eventually disappears for good. Aside from leaving Facebook, your only alternative is to learn to live with it — and perhaps use browser extensions to tame it a little.

Facebook changes

I’m not going to reference any specific Facebook change because no matter what change we just experienced, it’ll change again someday in the future. My answer here will apply as equally then as it does now: you can’t go back.

Even if Facebook gives you an option to go back for a while after a new design rolls out, eventually that option will be removed and you’ll be stuck with “the new Facebook” from then on.

It’s their platform and they can do what they want with it. There’s no requirement that they maintain an old version of whatever they change.

The only thing they’d respond to would be a massive exodus of users, and I don’t see that happening, either — at least not in response to a user interface change.

“Works 100%” — not

As someone who tries to help people, I get frustrated with answers on the internet that claim they have a fix and it “works 100%”, or is guaranteed, or something else.

Yes. For a brief shining moment in time, their solution, whatever it might have been, probably worked. Until it didn’t.

Facebook keeps changing. There’s a strong possibility that they even change in ways to intentionally prevent these solutions from working.

There’s nothing you can do about that.

Facebook is what it is. You can take it as it is, or you can go somewhere else. Most people choose the former.

Living with Facebook

There is one approach to dealing with Facebook that can make it significantly more tolerable. This is an approach that is generally updated shortly after Facebook makes changes.

There are two browser plugins to consider using:

Each of these plugins adds a host of configuration and customization options to your Facebook experience. Many of the annoyances we face every day using Facebook are addressed by options in these tools.

I’m currently using F.B.Purity, but I’ve used both, and would happily use either for my needs.

The catch? They’re not available for mobile devices.

Mobile Facebook is just awful

I have no idea what Facebook is trying to accomplish with its mobile app. All I can say is that in my opinion, the experience is horrid.

Mobile Facebook rarely shows me what I want. In fact, it rarely shows me anything even remotely relevant to what I’m interested in. It seems to default to showing me posts that are several days old. I have no idea why.

The mobile app is fine if I know exactly where I’m going — a specific person, page, or post — but for casual consumption, it is just a waste of my time. I rarely use it.

This leads to one of my other recommendations.

Use Facebook in a browser, on a desktop or laptop

It doesn’t matter much which browser, but you’ll have a significantly better experience using Facebook via the website rather than a mobile app.

Not only can you use customization extensions, as mentioned above; but even without them, the desktop experience just feels better and more on-target than what gets displayed on mobile.

Change is not for change’s sake

One of the comments I always get when I talk about any change is “They’re just changing for the sake of change.”

No. Just … no.

That makes absolutely no sense, and especially no business sense. Don’t think for a minute that every change isn’t somehow a business-related decision.

We may not know the reason, we may not agree with the reason, and we may not agree with the change, but there is always a reason.

You don’t risk destabilizing your product and pissing off your users for no reason.

What to do?

Facebook will make changes as Facebook sees fit.

You can get angry, but that won’t help.

You can leave Facebook. Many people try, and some succeed. The problem, of course, is that many people have established important relationships on the platform that are not easily replaced with alternatives.

You can try working around it with temporary “get the old version” hacks that eventually stop working.

You can learn to live with it.

You can learn to live with it and consider some of the customization extensions to tailor it a little more to your liking.

But no, you can’t switch back to the old Facebook layout.

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1 thought on “How Do I Switch Back to the Old Facebook Layout?”

  1. Thanks for the info. The latest site “redesign” sent me packing but there are other reasons I detest that site. I don’t use Facebook although I maintain a “just in case” account there.


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