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12 Twitter Apps for the iPhone

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When our desire to connect and communicate with one another crashed headlong in to the digital behemoth that is the Internet, we ended up with Twitter: a true 21st Century social phenomenon.

Like a chimerical parrot, each head squawking a different one-liner, Twitter can seem odd to the casual observer. Allowing users to post ultra-short updates, a quick tour ’round Twitter will find normal folk, celebrities and even politicians rubbing shoulders and swapping verbs (even TAB is tweeting away).

As a frequent tweeter, I decided it was time to identify the ultimate Twitter app for the iPhone. Diving headlong in to the App Store, I emerged from its murky depths with 12 different apps.

Read on for the definitive roundup of iPhone Twitter apps available from the iTunes App Store including a comparison table and screenshot gallery.

Tweetie ($2.99)
Everything in one app, including multiple accounts, favorites, deleting, following, trends, location, re-tweets, photos and more. Notably, Tweetie is also blazing fast. The interface is lacking in visual-flair, leaving it feeling a little empty, though. Still, it’s robust, quick and all the features to tweet on the go are present and correct.

Tweetsville ($3.99)
Although there’s no location-based functionality or multiple accounts, everything else is present and correct, from retweeting to trends, and search to favorites. The overall presentation is polished yet refined, with a simple box-style list layout or the option to change this to a Tweetie/iChat style bubble design. For four bucks though, Tweetsville has either got to step up to the plate with some new features or back down and drop that price a little.

iTweets ($0.99)
With its iPhone SMS-influenced design, iTweets is an ultra-simple solution, perhaps most appropriate for the infrequent tweeter (with few friends). There’s no photo-support, no trends, no search: just one stream of tweets. Put simply, there are better apps than this available for free. And the app icon is, frankly, a vile blemish on the vibrant and youthful face of my lovely iPhone.

Twittelator Pro ($4.99)
As the name suggest, this is the Pro version of Twittelator (a free app). The app is painfully rich in features, unfortunately to its detriment: it feels cluttered and confusing. The app may be rich in functionality (there’s even a help button, perfect for those Jack Bauer emergency situations), but it’s poor in accessibility and, ultimately, a disappointment.

Twitterrific Premium ($9.99)
The premium version features an alternative theme and is ad-free. The adverts in the free version, though, are unobtrusive and serve as handy bookmarks when scrolling through unwieldy streams (which helps as scrolling is very jerky). Light on features, the appealing, functional interface design and super-cute tweeting sound are plus points. Certainly not worth ten bucks, especially compared to the competition.

Twinkle (free)
From the guys behind Tap Tap Revenge, comes a gorgeous looking Twitter app. It was the first one I used for iPhone but I eventually abandoned it due to various unsolved issues with the obligatory Tapulous ID. Like Twitterific, it’s light on features but has bags of character and also includes an impressive tweet-stream from nearby strangers.

TwitterFon (free)
The focus in this app is on basic features delivered in a speedy, stable package. There are only four screens in the app: a stream of tweets from the folks you follow; replies to you; direct messages; and search (including location-based search). TwitterFon feels a little bare but for purist tweeters, it’s the perfect little package.

NatsuLion (free)
An iPhone version of a functional and compact desktop Twitter-client, NatsuLion is robust and smooth with a simple feature-set for light tweeters. Like TwitterFon, there are four main screens, although instead of search, NatsuLion incorporates a somewhat useless unread tweets page.

Twittervision (free)
Twittervision incorporates an almost useless but nevertheless impressive world map feature: watch people tweet live across a map of the planet. Strange, hypnotic and downright fun. This app is the weird guy at the party who insists on showing you his magic trick — a little odd at first but ultimately amusing and impressive.

Gyazickr (free)
Perfect for iPhone tweeple with a penchant for amateur photography, this app is focused purely on posting pics. With its curious name, Gyazickr allows users to take a photo using the iPhone camera or pick one from the camera roll. Plus, there’s a funky little slideshow that displays other images recently posted to Twitter.

JustUpdate (free)
Forget those sheeple and the constant blah blah of their dreary monotonous lives. The world needs to know about all the important things that you do. This app has no follower feed, no friends, no features: just a text box for you to post directly to Twitter. That’s right, this app is the most efficient way to tell the world about the sandwich you just ate for lunch.

Twitfire (free)
Like JustUpdate, Twitfire is focused solely on getting your message out to the Twitterverse. The app incorporates a mini-browser for posting links, GPS-button for location tweets and access to the iPhone camera for posting photos, all wrapped up in a minimalist icon-driven interface.

iPhone Twitter App Comparison Table

Twitter Apps for iPhone Comparison Table

Before I began my epic journey on the trail of the ideal iPhone Twitter app, my tweeting tool of choice was Twitterrific (the free version, not the vastly over-priced premium edition). Now, after trawling through all the available apps, I’ve moved over to Tweetie. It doesn’t look as fabulous as its more stylish counterparts, but it’s rich in the features I require and easy to use too.

However, maybe Tweetie isn’t right for you. You could be a globe-trotter on the search for new pals, in which case Twinkle’s nearby tweets feature will make you a social star. Perhaps you’re a power-tweeter and want every feature imaginable, Twittelator Pro would be perfect for you (although it’s so ugly it’ll make your eyes sting). Or, maybe you want to get down to business and just tweet, for which Spitefire is the appropriate choice.

In conclusion, there is no perfect Twitter app for the iPhone, however, there’s such a range on offer in the App Store that there’s bound to be something that suits your own particular tweeting habits. With that settled, it’s time you pick one of these fine apps and then go find your place in the Twitterverse.

And by the way, make sure to drop by the comments and let me know which iPhone Twitter app you have chosen.

97 Responses to “12 Twitter Apps for the iPhone”

  1. I go between twitterfon and tweetie. I like tweetie the best, but there’s one thing twifferfon does that tweetie doesn’t, and it’s the ability to select someone’s username and insert it into your tweet. That sounds kinda dirty… haha. Anyway, yeah… I hope they include that feature in tweetie some day, because then it’d be perfect.

  2. WayWard_Shaman

    I loved Twittlelator 1.6.2 . I hate 2.0. Maybe I don’t understand Twitter, when I want to post to
    bunch of tweeters in a specific groups, my tweets goes to the friends and not the group in question.

    Example I did a search for cigars and a bunch of tweeters showed up. So I put a tweet there, but
    my tweets show up in the @friends, not cigats

    • Colleen

      Hi just looked at your comparison chart …. excellent, saved me hours got three apps and unhappy with each one echofon crashes, twitbird if full of sleazy ads and the one I just down loaded makes no sense – I think I will try Tweetie – many thanks

  3. So many great Twitter apps I never knew of. I am a Twitter addict and have 3 apps already on my phone but hadn’t heard of one iPhone app with a decent way to manage multiple twitter accounts. Thanks for posting this.

  4. I was a hard core Twitterfic user since the app came to the iPhone. A few weeks ago I switched over to Tweetie and have not looked back. Tweetie is the only Twitter app that I use on my iphone. Great interface as it looks like iChat on my Mac. Very fast app and offers a lot of features that Twitterific does not. Get yourself a copy if you haven’t already

  5. SMS notification is set through the web page at for each account/person you are following (device updates on/off). You can also choose to receive an email when you receive a direct message.

    I have unlimited texting, so I choose to get Device Updates (SMS notices) for certain friends that I follow on Twitter. You could easily turn off the Device Updates altogether and use Twitter from one of these iPhone apps.

  6. Thanks for the work, but you made a serious error in your evaluation. In your comparison chart, you listed features (columns) that lined up with a 100% for the app which you had chosen. You mentioned features (such as send pic taken with the camera, or location-based tweets), that you omitted from the chart.

  7. Forgive the probably basic question, but do these apps allow the bypass of the SMS text messaging fee? That is, by using the app (even if free) will I be charged for a SMS message for each update?

    I think they would be great, but don’t know how much I’d use them. I don’t have the monthly texting service and don’t want to find myself addicted with a huge phone bill.

    Any help clearing this up would be appreciated.


  8. I’ve settled on TwittelatorPro. The UI is different, but I’m finding it to be an innovative use of the touchscreen, rather than falling back on the tired menu paradigm. Two features that TwittelatorPro has that weren’t mentioned: 1) the ability to tweet a URI from mobile safari by replacing http:// with twit:// in the address bar, 2) returns to the last tweet you read within a grouping of Tweets when you change groups or leave the app within the 200 tweet limit.

  9. lakeshore

    Twitterfon can follow and unfollow persons (the table is wrong in this point). It can also display the persons stats (followings, followers, postings) and allows you to open links with just tapping this blue arrow, instead of “opening” the tweet and then tapping on the url. Twitterfon is optimized for speed. It has an integrated browser, supports retweeting the currently open URL, can open Safari and warns you, when it will open another app, i.e. when the tapped link likes to switch to YouTube. It does feel lightweight because the GUI is very well balanced, but the featureset seems to be very complete.

    I switched from Twinkle to Twitterfon because of the very good performance and the tap-optimized interface. Never looked back. And never got something like “unknown server error” like many times a day on Twinkle.

    I also like, that the dev is *very* responsive, either in Twitter or on his bug tracking system. You even can see which features will be implemented in which version and when this version will be releases. The intransparency of communication also was a point which distracted me from Twinkle.

  10. @Doug: This isn’t a “every twitter app on the face of the earth” article. It’s specifically apps for the iPhone/iPod touch that you can get in the app store. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing was “neglected” in the article…we just chose not to list every twitter app on every platform.

  11. I can’t believe you neglected the best Twitter app out there…Hahlo. It’s a web-based Twitter client that has me banishing all my other Twitter apps from my iPhone. Just because it’s free and not in the Apple App Store doesn’t mean that it’s not worthy.

  12. @9 and 10 I wished Twitterrific had a setting for that, because I also use a Mac client and a Windows client; so opening to the most recent makes more sense for me.

  13. One criterion you did not mention: does the app open at your last read Tweet? That is the killer feature for me and the reason why I am still using Twitterific. I have downloaded (and bought) just about all of the Twitter apps out there but I can’t find any one other than Twitterific that does this.

  14. You found a few I’d missed so many thanks. I started out with Twitterriffic (coming from the desktop app) seemingly a common starting place. Then I paid for Tweetsville but found it incredibly unstable and quite dissatisfying to interact with. I’ve settled for Twitterfon, free but very fast and very stable. It just works as you would expect.


    @pascalw (stalk me as we’re on the subject!)

  15. I think, after reading this, I’ll stick with Twitterlator Pro for iPhone – I like it’s ritch features, and – you neglected to mention – it’s *choice* of several themes (there must be one you like?). I like mine dark, powerful, and full of life – so Twitterlator Pro is the one for me ;)

    Now can you please do a round up of Mac / PC desktop Twitter clients?
    I’m struggling to find something that lets me customise my feed list – Both Twitterific and Adobe Air app: Twurl, show too many saved @messages (which i can’t delete) and not enough friend feeds. Help!

  16. I started out using the free Twitterific and Twinkle.

    Twinkle was cool because of the location based features, and they also have their own pic-posting service (Twinkle Shots) that is integrated nicely into the app’s UI. It also links to a very well designed pic page on the web for those not using the Twinkle app. I found myself using Twinkle to post pics through Twitter because of this. I also experienced some issues with photo orientation when using Twitterific’s third-party pic posting service, TwitPic, though not always. I used Twitterific most of the time for no-nonsense tweeting, but I’ve since found myself needing more features.

    Which is why I’ve now switched to Tweetie.

    Tweetie has completely filled the void of a full-featured and cheap Twitter app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It’s well designed with a familiar iChat-like interface, and at $3 it’s a steal compared to the relatively featureless Twitterific Premium at $10. IMHO, it’s a no-brainer.

  17. I’ve switched to Tweetie as well. I have had up to 5 Twitter apps installed on my iPhone and kept switching back and forth to find the right one. I settled on Tweetie because it’s blazing fast and supports all the major Twitter functions. I’m still shocked at how quickly it loads and pulls down new tweets after using the other apps.

    I wish Tweetie would remember where I was when I switch to Safari or just quit and come back, but the developer has committed to add that functionality soon.