Facebook has just updated its popular iOS app with new photo sharing and chat features.

On the chat side, users can now swipe left anywhere in the app to quickly see who is available and send a message. When sending messages, you can see who is active to gauge how soon to expect a reply.

Version 5.1 of the app also allows you to place the friends you message most at the top of Favorites.

And in a welcome change, users can actually share more than one photo quickly. When you choose the photo button in the app, you are taken directly to the Camera Roll to select exactly what photos you want to share. Photos can also be cropped and edited before sharing.

If you’re in a generous mood, U.S. users can give real gifts to friends using the Facebook Gifts platform.

Facebook is a universal app designed for the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad. It can be downloaded free in the App Store now.

Just last month, the company announced that it had more than 1 billion active users, many using the Facebook iOS app. The app got a much needed burst of speed in August when Facebook unveiled version 5.0 of the app that was redesigned from the ground up using Apple’s iOS SDK.