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Twitter just broke itself for a ton of people and it doesn't seem to get it [Update]

Twitter
Twitter (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Twitter has removed the option to have the chronological timeline be the default way of reading tweets.
  • The default view when opening Twitter on iPhone and iPad now shows the 'Home' timeline.
  • Third-party apps are not affected by this change.

Update, March 14 (5:30 pm ET): Twitter has rolled back its changes and users can once again see the Latest Tweets by default.

Twitter has removed the option to use the chronological timeline by default, forcing people to switch views if they want to read everything the way nature intended.

The move, which was announced via tweet, means that everyone will now see the 'Home' timeline by default — tweets curated by the Twitter algorithm — rather than the 'Latest Tweets' view that they might prefer. Those tweets are still there, but via a pinned list that has to be selected manually. Every time the Twitter app is closed completely, the algo-generated timeline will come back to the fore.

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While people could previously decide whether to see the 'Home' or 'Latest Tweets' view by default, that option is now gone completely and people aren't happy about that. The change is only taking place on iOS right now, leaving Android users waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The move is one that greatly benefits Twitter because it now has more control over the tweets and interactions that people will see by default. But it's yet another reason that its app is far from the best iPhone app for actually using its service — at least in terms of reading tweets. Twitter continues to move further and further away from what its core audience believes made it so popular in the first place.

While the change isn't one that takes the chronological feed away completely, it adds just enough friction to make the Twitter experience less enjoyable, as The Verge's Jay Peters points out.

This feels like a big step back to me. Now, on iOS, any time I want to scroll through a reverse-ordered feed like I always did before, I'll have to check first to see if I'm looking at the right feed. Fortunately, at least for now, Latest can still be the default on the web for me — including on my iPhone's Safari.

Anyone wanting to avoid the Twitter algorithm can, for now, use the web-based version in Safari or use a third-party app like Tweetbot or Twitterrific.

Update, March 14 (5:30 pm ET) — Twitter has rolled back its changes and users can once again see the Latest Tweets by default

Twitter has announced that it has rolled back its changes and users can once again choose to see the Latest Tweets by default. You can still choose to see Home (which includes top and suggested tweets) instead, by you'll no longer be forced to use Home as the default.

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It's good to see that Twitter recognized the mistake and fixed it so quickly. If you want to go back to the way things were you should only have to force close the Twitter app and reopen it in order to go back to the old way.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.