iPhone Twitter app roundup

So you have an iPhone and you use Twitter, but with the plethora of Twitter applications available in the App Store (including one that just went official), which do you chose? TiPb is here to help with a Twitter app roundup! Now this is not your typical top 5 or top 10 must-have, best Twitter app list. This is about options and alternatives, and Ally, Leanna, and guest writer Alli Flowers have chosen the following 12 to review and help narrow your search:

  • Twitter for iPhone
  • Twitbit
  • Tweeterena
  • Osfoora
  • HootSuite
  • SimplyTweet 3
  • Tweetdeck
  • Twitterrific
  • Twitbird Pro
  • Twittelator Pro
  • Echofon
  • Fluttr

To see what we had to say, follow us after the break!

Twitter for iPhone

tweetie1

Previously known as Tweetie, Twitter for iPhone [Free - iTunes link] is the official Twitter application from Twitter. It is full featured and easy to use. Swiping a tweet will get you reply options, and tapping the tweet will allow you to view attached photos or url’s. The swipe to reply seems so natural, and it’s uncluttered. Likewise with Tweetie’s settings - you know exactly what you’re looking at and what will happen if you turn something OFF or ON.

— Alli

tweetie2 tweetie3 tweetie4

Twitbit

If you're looking for a Twitter client with fast and reliable push, Twitbit [$2.99 - iTunes link] is the app for you. However, an excellent push notification system isn't the only thing appealing about Twitbit. The UI is very clean and clutter free. On the bottom toolbar, you will find tabs for your timeline, mentions, messages, lists, and more. Twitbit comes with 4 themes: Gradients, Dark, Plain, and Chat.

The two main complaints about Twitbit is the lack of "quick reply" from the timeline and no option to "reply all". The most impressive feature is how quickly notifications are pushed to your iPhone. Notifications are received within seconds of them being sent.

The developers of Twitbit regularly release updates and do an excellent job of replying to users and adding requested features.

— Leanna

Tweeterena Series

tweeterena7

Tweeterena currently comes in 3 flavors; Tweeterena Lite [Free - iTunes link], Tweeterena [$0.99 - iTunes link], and Tweeterena Pro [$3.99 - iTunes link]. The free version is ad-supported while the $0.99 version is sans ads. Tweeterena Pro will get you the following features, which the cheaper versions leave out:

  • Multiple Account Support
  • Facebook integration
  • Custom Backgrounds
  • Quick watch user functionality
  • Friend grouping

I spent most of my time with the Pro version. As far as I’m concerned, Tweeterena (Pro version or not) has little improvement since I last evaluated it. In terms of functionality, it doesn’t offer anything some other clients offer for a lower price or even free. My biggest issue with Tweeterena was honestly the general layout and color schemes. They just don’t work well. You get funky shading that just doesn’t look right over the backgrounds. Also, custom backgrounds are somewhat very misleading. You don’t get to customize your background throughout the entire layout, only in the compose screen. So to me, that just doesn’t cut it when several other clients that offer that allow it through the entire thing. And lastly, the settings are split up. Part are found in-app and part are in settings, which to me makes no sense. My honest opinion is that there are much better clients out there for cheaper that are a much better value.

— Ally

SimplyTweet1 tweeterena2 tweeterena4 tweeterena5 tweeterena6 tweeterena9

Osfoora for Twitter

osfoora1

Osfoora [$2.99 - iTunes link] offeres a clean UI with all the features anyone could want. “Borrowing” from Tweetie, Osfoora allows you to pull down to refresh in any view. While Osfoora has been my primary Twitter client for about a month, my main complaint is that you must tap on a tweet in order to Reply All. Otherwise, tap/hold will get you the typical reply options. I have two favorite things about Osfoora. One: it does a super job of showing conversation threads. Two: the Osfoora developer is extremely active on Twitter, and very responsive to user requests.

— Alli

osfoora2 tweetie3 osfoora4

HootSuite

HootSuite [$2.99 - iTunes link] is a cute little twitter app that also supports Facebook integration. If you use ow.ly to shrink your links, HootSuite will display your stats of shared links.

Unlike most Twitter clients, HootSuite uses columns instead of tabs as method of switching between your timeline, mentions, DM's, etc. To switch between columns, just swipe left or right from your current column. The advantage to columns is that you can add and remove and organize custom columns so you can taylor your experience Twitter to you.

HootSuite is missing one important feature: conversation view. Reading conversations is a huge part of my Twitter experience, so I find the lack of support very disappointing. HootSuite also does not support push notifications. Other than those two missing things, HootSuite is an excellent Twitter client.

— Leanna

SimplyTweet 3

SimplyTweet 3 [$4.99 - iTunes link] was honestly one of my favorite clients I reviewed. It’s drop dead simple to navigate around and very similar in style to Tweetie 2. Along the bottom you have all of your essential functions.

One thing I really enjoyed about using SimplyTweet 3 was how fast it was. SimplyTweet also supports all your essential functions. A major plus of SimplyTweet is built-in push. I was a little skeptical at first, but it was extremely quick. And the conversations view is something I really wish other clients would start implementing.

Final thoughts on SimplyTweet 3? It’s an extremely decent twitter client. At $4.99, it’s a bit steep compared to some other respectable options. Either way – if you’d like built-in push bundled with a twitter client with a great UI and easy to navigate interface, SimplyTweet may just be for you.

— Ally

TweetDeck

tweetdeck1

If you like TweetDeck on your desktop, you might very well be happy with TweetDeck [Free -iTunes link] on your iPhone - especially since it’s free. I love being able to view my tweets in columns (similar to Twitter lists). It can save you time when you don’t really want to look through your entire follow timeline - especially if you follow a large number of people. All the basic features of any Twitter client are included in TweetDeck, and I really can find no fault in it. Columns begin zoomed out so that you can scroll left and right between them, and when a column is chosen, it zooms in so that you can scroll up and down through the tweets. TweetDeck’s columns work the same way as the views on every other client, but with a little more flexibility in that you decide exactly who you want in each column. Not much variety in design - you can choose from “dark” or “light.”

— Alli

tweetdeck2 tweetdeck3 tweetdeck4

Twitterrific

Twitterrific was the first Twitter application released with the launch of iPhone OS 2.0. So it has been around for a long time and has seen many improvements and won many design awards. Twitterrific is available in two versions: a free, ad supported version [iTunes link], and a premium ad-free version [$4.99 - iTunes link]. Neither versions include push.

Those design awards were well earned as style is what Twitterrific does best. The UI is beautiful and you can easily change font size with a tap of a button on the timeline. Twitterrific includes 3 themes: Raven, Snowy, and Basic. It also offers the unique option of left-handed controls. Twitterrific is an excellent full-featured Twitter client with a wonderful design.

— Leanna

Twitbird Pro

Another client that showed up on the Twitter scene not too long ago that pleasantly surprised me is Twitbird Pro [$2.99 - iTunes link] Not only is Twitbird Pro rich with features, there are tons of customization options, including changing your wallpaper throughout the entire app, which I enjoyed. Twitbird Pro has a very unique conversations view which was implemented extremely well. Twitbird Pro also has built-in push services. There’s a slight catch though. The push that comes with Twitbird Pro only supports push between Twitbird Pro users. If you’d like global push from all Twitter users, that’ll cost you $2.99 for the upgrade in-app. I did not buy the push service, so if anyone has any hands-on, sound off in the comments about the reliability/speed. Boxcar supports Twitbird Pro, so I just set Boxcar to open Twitbird Pro and had no issues. My verdict is that TwitBird Pro has tons of potential. The implementation and layout is almost there, but not quite.

— Ally

Twittelator Pro

twittelator1

Twittelator Pro [$4.99 - iTunes link] was the first truly great Twitter app for iPhone. There are so many options it can sometimes be confusing. Perhaps when iPhone 4 is released, there will be a real purpose to having sounds on new tweets, but for now it’s a feature that you can’t take much advantage of, and due to the lame nature of the sounds… you probably wouldn’t want to. Nonetheless, Twittelator Pro does everything: sounds, themes, conversations, photos, geotagging, you name it. For some reason, scrolling quickly to the top in Twittelator Pro is disconcerting. One tap goes up a page, two taps goes straight to the top. It just seems like one option too many. Replying to a tweet in Twittelator Pro can be a trial. Double tap the time shown on the right to quick reply, tap the avatar for the full set of options beneath the user’s profile.

— Alli

twittelator2 twittelator3 twittelator4 twittelator5 twittelator6 twittelator7 twittelator8

Echofon

Echofon for Twitter is one of the few Twitter clients that offer push notifications. The free, ad-supported version [iTunes link] only pushes mentions and DMs from other Echofon users. The "pro" ad-free version [$4.99 - iTunes link] sends notifications from all Twitter users.

If you are looking for reliable push notifications, Echofon is not for you. I highly recommend test-driving the free version before purchasing the ad-free version to see if push meets your standards. If you're a FireFox or Mac (or both) user, one great feature of Echofon is that it syncs unread tweets across all platforms.

One thing that some people may love and others may hate is that conversations are viewed with oldest on top. This is obviously the most natural way to read a conversation, but I find it a bit awkward because it goes against the Twitter style.

Other than my disappointment with push notifications, I view Echofon to be a great Twitter client.

— Leanna

Fluttr

My last client was Fluttr [$2.99 – iTunes link]. I somewhat decided to review Fluttr last minute. I was browsing the app store and the layout looked pretty slick.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too much to say at this time. Every time I tried to test it out, I got tons of API errors and it never wanted to load my mentions (see screenshots).

From what I could get out of it, it had the same problem TwitBird Pro has with mentions. You have to click back to the home screen in order to access anything. To me, it’s a bit redundant, as you shouldn’t have to do that for main functions. They should be easily accessible all along the bottom. The UI is put together very nicely and I think it’s a client to definitely keep an eye on. A few good quality updates and it could be a good contender. It does have several features including lists. If I could have used them without getting errors, I may have been more willing to give it more time on my main iPhone home screen. The bugs are what keep me from recommending it as of now. Either way – jump down for screens!

— Ally

Conclusion

Given the packed field of competition amongst Twitter clients, the winner will have to have something very special. Something way beyond push notification or themes. I know several people who continue using the first Twitter client they tried when they got their iPhones. Some of us (like the three of us bringing you this roundup), keep trying new Twitter apps in search of that je ne sais quoi. We’ll know it when we see it, I’m sure. But we have to keep trying them all, and discovering which tiny things we love and which we dislike, waiting for that one perfect app that puts all our favorites together in one beautiful package. Which one is right for you? Heck if we know - we can’t even decide which is right for ourselves. But this is truly a case of it being the trip and not the destination that makes it all worth the ride.

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Reader comments

iPhone Twitter app roundup

45 Comments

Features I have found to be most important are the unread tweet counter. Instapaper integration. and the number of tweets when loading.
Simplytweet is the only client I've found that does all these things correctly.
If I don't get a chance to read Twitter during the day I'll have about 300-500 unread tweet tk go through. Echo phone and tweetie will only load about 200 tweets so then you have to start reading your timeline backwards which is frustrating. Simplytweet will load up to 2000 unread tweets, which I understand is the maximum in the API.
When reading a tweet that is a video not viewable on the iPhone, or a really long article you don't want to read at that time, InstaPaper is the key to keeping track of those items in one nicely organized place until you can get to your computer to view them. The problem with tweetie's integration of InstaPaper is that you have to click the link wait for the page to start loading before you can add it to instapaper. In Simplytweet you can the tweet to instapaper.
How have all the clients not included an unread tweet counter by meow. It seems natural to want to know whether or not you have 50 or 500 unread tweets.

ATM I thing TwitBird Pro is the best. Hope that Twitter for iPhone will have all features there. Wondering what if Apple buy Twitterrific.

One major feature of HootSuite not mentioned in the article is HootSuite's ability to pre-schedule tweets...a great use of Twitter for my needs (publishing announcements for a high school choir). I don't know if any other Twitter app does this. Not that HootSuite is my favorite app--that would probably fall to TweetDeck. I also keep Twittelator Pro on my device for those other options the other Twitter apps don't have.

And you forgot that Fluttr was developed by a 14 year-old lead programmer and a 16 year-old co-dev. :P (sry for double post)

I use Twitbird which I think is easily the best - tried most of them, stuck with them for about a week - and the one I keep coming back to each time is Twitbird - has everything, go to last unread, clear identify what I have read or not - nice integration in the users so you want to follow someone and find out who they follow and all that jazz - overall IMHO the best!!
Other than notifications I am interested to know what it does not do that the other do have - I am aware it's notifications are not great but there is an option which I have also not paid for.

No love for Tweetings or Icebird (which is one of my personal favourite Twitter apps).
Also there's supposed to be Twitterrific 3 news coming today.

I have 3 that i like Tweetie aka Twitter for Iphone, Twitterrific, and Echofon. Im not really concerned about the whole Push Notification cause i use Boxcar and it has not failed me yet. The one thing i wish for is that Twitter for Iphone will bring more Themes. Im bored of the regular white theme and have always been a fan of the Black Theme.

Could you have at least polled the Writers to find out if there was a consensus pick.
"Theyre all good. Try them all." isn't all that helpful.

Once upon a time when Ally and I did the initial comparison chart, we all pretty much liked Twittelator Pro.
Since the official Twitter app (formerly Tweetie 2) was released...it's awful. It's like they took all the stuff we didn't want and shoved it in. The stupid slot machine was only the beginning.
Obviously there are a LOT of Twitter clients we didn't look at, and a few features we left out. Did you really want this article to be longer, or have more than the 90some screenshots it already has? ;)

gah. so much effort, so little help. um, so which ones allow creation of drafts? which ones have instapaper support? which ones support geotagging? which ones support twitlonger? which ones have notifications? the whole purpose of a "roundup" is to make choosing one easier, but if you're not going to be comprehensive or consistent, what's the flipping point?

i use Echofon on my iPhone and Mac but echofon is kind of buggy still on the iPhone. I also have tweetie 3 , i didn't update yet , but i dont use it as often. I dont like how it handles RTs and other things i cant think of right now. I used it to upload videos because echofon was not uploading videos for me.

I use Twitbird Pro, and I totally lucked into it. I had paid for the pro version of Echofon, but then someone retweeted an announcement that Twitbird Pro was free for the day only, so I downloaded it and loved it, and it was no problem paying the upgrade fee for the push notifications. IMO, I get the mentions/DM's fast - I've never had a problem with it. I have never sat and tested it out with another friend, but as soon as I open Twitbird after receiving a notification, my mention/DM is right at the top, the most recent tweet, which means I must have just gotten it and been notified of it at the same time. I understand what the author was saying about having to tab back a page to go see just your mentions, but it's not a dealbreaker for me, since it's integrated right into the timeline. I very rarely need to go just look at my mentions - I see it in my timeline, reply back, and I'm done until the next time. I also LOVE the bubbles and the customizable wallpaper.
And also, in my opinion, it does a great job of giving you the amount of new tweets, and the amount unread. I also like how it's very obvious which tweets haven't been read, since they're a light yellow color, while the read tweets are white.
I have tried many different twitter apps, but I always keep coming back to this one. I love it!

@Alli,
Maybe you can update your comparison spreadsheet with the latest offerings so that people interested in "details" would be able to check out the options and features in a consolidated format? That would be a great addition to this article.
Just my .02.

@Leanna,
That's great. I haven't looked at the spreadsheet in awhile but it would be helpful if some of the items that people mentioned like Twitlonger, Drafts, etc were included in the comparison.

What about Tweetings? I'd like to see it added to your list. Scheduling Tweets... Facebook posting... Multiple themes... Push notifications... Augmented Reality nearby Tweets... custom link shortening API... more!
A couple other newcomers to take a look at include Tweets and Icebird.

Twittelator Pro w/ Boxcar hands down best Twitter client.
here is an option to tap status bar to bring you to top too. Image attachments appear in the tweet as the image, not a link thereby allowing you to save time instead of clicking links. Instapaper integration. Drafts. Geotagging. Customizable themes. Option to change the number of unread tweets loaded. It even translates tweets for you!
Use with Boxcar and you have push notifications.
What else do you guys want? Chances are Twittelator Pro does it.

@Leanne
Nice roundup, but I noticed one mistake in your comparison chart. Twitter for iPhone DOES allow you to add video. You add it the same way as you would add a picture. Nice job otherwise.

Totally and completely overlooked Tweets (http://www.prime31.com/tweets) which blows away the other apps. I couldn't live without one touch links, mentions and hashtags. It feels so '90's to have to go to a separate screen to be able to follow a link....

Great comparison. I've tried just about all of these Twitter clients and the only one I use faithfully is SimplyTweet. It just does it all and well. Give it a try if you haven't already. And what makes it stand out even more is the developer. He listens to what the users want and does his best to implement requests.

I had the global push notifications for Twitbird Pro, and they stunk on ice. They rarely loaded even a few minutes after I got a mention online. Every night at 3:00am I would get a barrage of my last 10 or so notifications. The Twitter for iPhone/Boxcar combination has been working MUCH more efficiently. I have also used Twitbit but the amount of features available didn't match Twitbird or Twitter for iPhone. I just wish Twitter would include a dark profile.

Bought SimplyTweet today and am going
right back to Twitter app. It definately not as polished as Tweetie 2 (Twitter).

I use Echofon (free version) but it has never once notified me of a DM or Reply even though I have push notification turned on. In addition, I have it installed on Firefox and it never syncs the read/unread tweets. I have to bring it up on both Firefox and my phone to mark tweets in both places as read. I would never buy the paid version due to these issues. Seriously, they have NEVER worked for me. I don't know why I seem to be the only one with these issues.

I use Twitter for iPhone, formerly Tweetie2, and find it does everything I need for twitter. For push notification, I use Notifo.

Great overview, thanks!
I would like to know which of the apps do support custom link shorteners, to use your own service.
As far as I know only "Twitter for iPhone" supports this. What about the other apps?

It surprises me how many of these roundups fail to include Tweetings... it's a really nice twitter app, i wouldn't say it's THE best, but it's definitely on the top 5 :)

Since SimplyTweet 3 updated to include List support, I find no reason to use more than 2-4 twitter clients on my iPhone to get what I want. Push notifications are excellent and very fast. Plus, the fact that if I don't check for some time, or for a day or so, I will have all my unread tweets (up to 2000 I hear - never got that far up) - and that rocks! Version also offers supper fast switching between multiple accounts.
Twitterific would be my #2 if they had list support and push (can live without push (by keeping SimplyTweet) - but always have been very fond of twitterific.
It's amazing how Apple took Tweetie and made it less. I tried it for about 10 minutes, and that was enough to know it won't be used again anytime soon. The lack of features is pathetic. Why can every Twitter Client developer realize that people need 3 different twitter themes? Dark, gray-scale, and white? This handles every ones contrast viewing pleasures the best!
Great work on the review! Don't add anymore to the list, unless they become more popular. I also say remove any, that have not had any updates in past 4 to 6 or even 12 months. Not sure how many that may be. I don't want to see a review of every twitter app - I don't want you guys spending your time reviewing 30+ twitter apps. Spend your time on the good stuff, getting the podcasts out, news, hacks, etc. Thx!

@nicole: Echofon does have iPhone/Firefox sync. Make sure you go into the Firefox settings, click the account you want to sync and click "Sync with iPhone" and that should take care of that.
Also some changes to your chart for Echofon 1) It does support multiple accounts 2) It has built in Push 3) It has Instapaper and Read It Later 4) It supports lists. You can view lists, subscribe to lists and create lists.
I really like Echofon. I wish the push was faster, but that isn't a deal breaker for me.

Also, TweetDeck would be my hands down winner if it just synced read tweets across it's platforms. If they stop adding in stupid stuff like Foursquare and just add this one feature that other Twitter apps already do, then I'd switch in a second.

What is missing from Twitter for iPhone now? I know the removed the stupid slot machine, but isn't it really just themes and push that it doesnt' have? I got it when Tweetie 2 came out, and have enjoyed it immensely.
But I want to try something new. I can't decide between TwitBird, TwitBit, and SimplyTweet.

I use Twitbird Pro, and I totally lucked into it. I had paid for the pro version of Echofon, but then someone retweeted an announcement that Twitbird Pro was free for the day only, so I downloaded it and loved it, and it was no problem paying the upgrade fee for the push notifications. IMO, I get the mentions/DM’s fast – I’ve never had a problem with it. I have never sat and tested it out with another friend, but as soon as I open Twitbird after receiving a notification, my mention/DM is right at the top, the most recent tweet, which means I must have just gotten it and been notified of it at the same time. I understand what the author was saying about having to tab back a page to go see just your mentions, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me, since it’s integrated right into the timeline. I very rarely need to go just look at my mentions – I see it in my timeline, reply back, and I’m done until the next time. I also LOVE the bubbles and the customizable wallpaper.
+1

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