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It’s nearly impossible to try to calibrate the influence that Twitter has had in its 13 years on the planet. It’s the current era’s be-all, end-all, you-heard-it-here-first megaphone for breaking news, entertainment, sports, politics, and everything in between. With Twitter, you track all the data in real time, observe and join in conversations, and get the perspectives you want from the parties you trust.
In a little over a decade, Twitter evolved from a simple microblogging platform to a communications powerhouse that now — for better or worse — profoundly affects the course of history. What started out as a fun, cool, in-crowd way to tell the world what you ate for lunch, Twitter is now used by governments, corporations, and press outlets, as well as propaganda charlatans and malicious gossipers, to do everything from hand out marching orders to spread disinformation, fear, and loathing.
Whether you consider Twitter’s communications dominance over the social fabric of the planet just a harmless free-speech mechanism or a distressing conduit for bullying, lies, and abuse, Twitter is ultimately an inherently neutral medium, and the apps that you can use to improve its usefulness, flexibility, and delivery pass no judgment. Here are a few of our favorite Twitter clients for iOS and Android, some of which are free.
Twitter — the official app by and from Twitter — is the default all-purpose client for both platforms. Unless you need something really specialized, the basic Twitter app does everything you need to do on the platform. A basic timeline sets the stage for universal discovery of any topic you are interested in. You can communicate via tweet or live video, as well as stream photos, GIFs, audio, and video directly within the app from any location, and enable a sleek dark mode interface. Check out what’s going on in your universe right now, catch up with news and cultural events, and get notifications of who is following, liking, sharing, or responding to your tweets — the works. The app also facilitates both private and group chats with followers.
Like many social networks, for Twitter to remain a free app, it is awash in ads and promoted posts. With the free Twitterific, you can get a customized promotion-free, chronological tweet presentation and the ability to search for just the right meme or GIF to accompany your own tweets. A theme panel lets you tweak the app’s appearance, including color scheme, images, thumbnails, and fonts. You can filter out material and people you don’t want to hear from or about and sync reading between mobile devices to pick up where you left off. The app makes it easy to respond to tweets, view conversations, or post from different accounts. It even lets you use the iOS VoiceOver accessibility feature, 3D Touch, list management, and external keyboards.
Tweetbot, for $5, gives you the flexibility to annotate your Twitter feed in any way that suits you. Made exclusively for iOS (and the Mac), it offers timeline and mute filters to customize what and who you see. You are free to create your own keyword or rules-based filter to hide tweets by specific users, keywords, hashtags, or even the client that publishes tweets. A Profile Notes feature lets you privately annotate user profiles to remind you about people you follow or who follow you. Custom timelines let you create and manage public or private lists and then use them as curated timelines.
With Tweetbot, you can quickly switch between lists and even use one as your main timeline. The iCloud Sync feature lets you sync your reading position and much more so your experience in switching from desktop to mobile is flawless. You can even start tweet topics to automatically link multiple tweets together, use hashtags, and create tweetstorms.
Plume, the app formerly known as Touiteur, is both customizable and easy on the eyes to make your Twitter experience highly aesthetically pleasing. With Plume, you can colorize your timeline or friends, set up multiple accounts, share tweets to Facebook, and live stream video from the app. A smart discussion reader isolates the conversations you’re interested in or have contributed to. Plume’s suite of widgets make it easy to send tweets, even if you’re not in the app. Plume also has Bitly URL support, swipe scrolling, geotagging, and support for inline conversations.
If you want the most up-to-date Material Design style presentation for your Twitter feed, look no further than Talon, which prides itself on its attractive layouts, dynamic animations, and ad-free smooth operation. The app’s theme engine offers fine color control, custom swipe-ready pages for the main screen, the ability to save lists and searches, removal of unneeded features like direct messages, the ability to find GIFs and edit photos before posting, and Night and Do Not Disturb modes.
A compact timeline layout option helps you use screen real estate to its best advantage. You can choose to see tweets from favorite people and get notified whenever they post a new tweet, and the app offers powerful mute options for users, retweets, hashtags, Twitter clients, and expressions. The app, which costs $3, supports two accounts and teams up with Wear OS on your Android smartwatch.
Fenix 2 provides a new and modern Twitter experience. For $4, it supports multiple accounts, a customizable main screen where your lists and saved searches are a swipe away, images and video previews, and support for YouTube, Instagram, and Flickr. There’s a pleasing layout for conversations, and the ability to mute bothersome users, hashtags, or keywords. You have your choice from a selection of light and dark themes.
TwitPane is a powerful Twitter app that’s quick and light on its feet. It supports customizable design and tabs, three free Twitter accounts, and filtering, account switching with the compose dialog, and auto pagination. The app also lets you share multiple photos and GIFs, reply to multiple tweets, search tweets and view trends, engage in conversations, edit lists, and more.