As a very heavy Twitter user, for years I was a fan of Tweetbot on iOS, an independent Twitter app made by Tapbots. Using an independent app made sense as I could configure how everything would display according to my needs, rather than Twitter chose that for the sake of its advertisers. But back in 2018 Twitter’s API changes restricted what Tweetbot could do, rendering it inappropriate for my purposes.
But yesterday I was alerted to the new version of the app – Tweetbot 6 for iOS – that uses Twitter’s new API and was supposed to overcome the shortcomings dating back to 2018. I was not the only one – old nerd friend of mine Simon Wheatley was happy to see Tweetbot back as well – and this blog post is as a result of both of us running our critical eye over it.
There is a new subscription model too – either €0.99 a month, or €6.49 a year. Were the app to be my main Twitter app again I would be happy to pay it…
The crux of it: Tweetbot 6 puts some of the problems of previous versions right, but not enough of them to mean it’s ripe for switching from Twitter’s own iOS app just yet.
This review was conducted on 22 June 2021, using Tweetbot 6.1.2 on an iPhone 6s running iOS 14.6
It looks really nice, and the app is fast and snappy.
Timelines are all chronological.
There is no advertising anywhere in sight. And the ugly Twitter stories bar from the official app is not shown. I am happy with all of these points!
Then onto some specifics…
Highlighting hashtags in a different colour is actually really sensible.
The “Mentions” screen (note: rather than Notifications in the regular Twitter app!) has a search field. This is so handy to find those things I recall discussing, but were a little way down my timeline.
There is a function where you can add a private note on each of your followers – handy!
Composing single tweets and replies is nice, and a proper character count is better than Twitter’s strange circle thingy
Searching is still a joy in Tweetbot – very good
Tweetbot in the past used to excel with its management of lists. Sadly this is no longer the case. In the official Twitter app I can scroll sideways to access my lists, whereas in Tweetbot 6 I need to tap around a lot to get to them.
There is a further problem in Lists – there is no quick way to scroll to the latest tweet in a list, in the same way there is in the regular Timeline, where a double tap on the icon takes you to the top. A busy list means lots of scrolling.
Somewhat strangely who retweeted a tweet is shown below the tweet. Maybe it’s just habit, but I would prefer this to be shown above a tweet.
I am not too bothered by Likes and Retweets, but seeing if someone has Quote Tweeted a tweet of mine is really important, and I cannot find a way to get these to display along with my mentions
There is a filter option for Mentions:
But even if I create custom filters, I cannot get Quote tweets that do not mention me to show
For example I would need a tweet like this – @PhotoTestEU quote tweeting me @jonworth – to appear in my Mentions, but I cannot find a way to make that work
I instead only get quote tweets that also mention me:
Group DMs do not work
This is from Tweetbot 6:
And this is from the official app:
Twitter polls show in Tweetbot:
But cannot be voted on:
Also how Tweets with images display is really weird in Tweetbot 6
This is a quote tweet, with an image in the quoted tweet:
And in comparison on the official app:
Also what does and does not work with regard to images in posts is really weird in Tweetbot 6:
Meanwhile on the official app:
And on the web:
And the biggest shortcoming of all: no proper Twitter threads option! Yes, you read that right. There is only a function called Topics that’s buried deep in the app, and makes no sense for making threads.
So I am sorry, Tapbots, but Tweetbot 6 does not hit the mark – or at least not yet. Some of the functions are brilliant, but there are a slew of pretty major shortcomings – although probably none of them are insurmountable. Work to overcome them and I will, once more, be your biggest supporters!