When it comes to social networks, Twitter is one-of-a-kind. One part blog, one part social network, with a bit of news thrown in for good measure make it one of our very favorite apps for exploring in our free time. Twitter’s full of memes, in-jokes, and popular posts, where overnight anyone can spiral into viral popularity. It’s a great way to organize your thoughts, promote your art, or anything else. And while Twitter has one of the steepest learning curves for any social network we’ve used in the past decade, it can also be incredibly rewarding, with tight-knit communities and fan-creator interactions you won’t see anywhere else.
Though Twitter’s become a bit less hospitable to third-party clients in recent years, with limitations on adding certain features and only allowing a specific number of tokens per application for each users, using these third-party apps are still a great way to browse, peruse, and post to your favorite social network. While most users will probably rely on the basic website for their desktop or laptop browsing habits, there are a number of great apps for both Windows and Mac that are worth checking out, loaded with features, brand new settings and fantastic designs. These might not replace the website or standard mobile apps on iOS and Android, but they’re worth checking out and keeping on your laptop for when you’re bored at work or school.
Let’s take a look at our favorite Twitter apps for both Windows and MacOS.
On MacOS, there isn't quite a better desktop client than Tweetbot. Though the price of entry is a bit steep at $9.99, we've found the app to be more than worth the money for its design, functionality, and multiple account support. Tweetbot is an entirely inconspicuous app on MacOS—it can be as active or inactive as you'd like, with settings for half-screen mode, full-screen mode, or background mode. The Tweetbot icon shows up in your Mac's menu bar at the top of your screen, meaning the app can stay in the foreground or background exactly as often as you need. Let's take a look at this award-winning app for MacOS.
Design-wise, Tweetbot is one of a kind, combining the design language of Twitter—whites, blues, grays, round icons, a fluid reverse-chronological timeline—with what we've seen on MacOS in recent years. The app supports Retina displays, meaning all your text, photos, and icons look sharp on even the newest MacBook Pros. All of your settings, tabs, and options are moved to the far-left in a vertical line, making it easy to check your mentions, messages, trending topics, likes, and more. As you expand and explore throughout the app, your content will open in separate windows to the right of your main timeline, making it easy to view your mentions or replies without navigating away from your timeline or your content. Your saved searches, lists, DM's—all of it is moved into their own window, making it easy to control how your experience feels.
In terms of features, Tweetbot is fully packed to the gills with options. One of our favorite features is support for multiple accounts, a must-have if you do any kind of social media management for companies, brands, or accounts that are outside of your own personal account. It's easy to switch back and forth between these two accounts just by tapping on your personal avatar in the top-left corner of your display, making it easy to switch, read, and post from other accounts. It's one of the main reasons to grab Tweetbot—the account management is so solid that it's impossible not to fall in love with the app as you use it.
One of the best options added into Tweetbot is mute support, which allows you to set up and allow muting on specific key phrases, words, and users that you don't want to see. You can mute for a temporary time or forever, and it's easy to keep that stuff out of your field of view. Hate the divide caused by our current political landscape? Set up a filter with your least favorite political hashtags and users! Can't stand entertainment drama? Block any Kardashian you can learn the name of long enough to enter into a textbox within Tweetbot. Not at home to watch the Oscars and don't want to see your feed hijacked by commentary and film-based quips? Not a problem—Tweetbot can block all of this stuff long enough to keep you in the dark and keep your timeline clean and clear.
Tweetbot also has an iOS app (for an extra surcharge) that largely emulates the experience we've described above onto a smaller display. Tweetbot's an excellent Twitter client for iOS and for Mac, and if you've fully invested into the Apple ecosystem, you'll want to make sure you grab both as soon as you can. The two apps feature a syncing functionality that can help the two apps work together, hand in hand. This includes syncing where you left off in your timeline, unread statuses for tweets you haven't seen, and automatically syncing mute filters, so your experience between the two platforms is consistent and easy-to-follow.
Overall, Tweetbot is our favorite Mac desktop client for Twitter by a longshot. No other apps we tested on the Mac App Store can come close to touching the experience, featureset, and customization offered by Tweetbot, and that's why we love it. Tweetbot might be a bit expensive for a Twitter client, but between its muting functionality, cross-device compatibility and syncing between iOS and MacOS, and support for third-party services like Bitly, Droplr, Pocket, and Instapaper, Tweetbot is incredibly easy to use and makes browsing Twitter a lot more capable and fun than what we've seen from the basic Twitter website. If you're on MacOS and you're a Twitter fanatic, you owe it to yourself to grab this one right away—even at $9.99, you won't regret it.
Twitter actually supplies Windows 10 with its very own application, complete with a fairly-modern design matching Microsoft's own design principles, but in our eyes, the best Twitter app you can grab for Windows 8.1 or 10 this year is still Tweetium, a third-party application available on the Windows Store for the low, low price of $2.99, with the option to check out a free trial if you so wish. Like Tweetbot on MacOS, there are some standard limitations to using a third-party Twitter app on Windows instead of the website or official client, but overall, we're really big fans of what Tweetium brings to the table in terms of both design and features, and we think you will be too.
Let's start off with some notes on design. Like Tweetbot, Tweetium is designed entirely around the general design ideas of Windows 10. There's a lot of white space here, with big, bold blue headers and faint lines separating content from itself. The app features a windowed look that opens new content, threads, DMs, and mentions in their own areas inside the client, making it easy to manage your own Twitter notes without the functionality built into Twitter proper. Tweetium's design also takes after the tile-based designs we've seen feature in the last two versions of Windows, making the entire app feel cohesive and compatible with the operating system you're using. Animations are fluid, loading times are short, and multi-thread support is excellent.
Tweetium also has some great customization options, something we haven't quite seem from the likes of apps like Tweetbot. You can change your color options, customize the appearance of the app, and generally make it feel like your own. Solid color options, halo-esque designs and opaque layers, and dark modes all exist to make your experience in Tweetium a little bit better. And we mentioned the animations, but to reiterate—they're fantastic. Every tweet loads in automatically without refreshing, displaying a smooth and subtle transition that looks great and makes the app feel futuristic.
When it comes to features, you're getting a fully-featured package with Tweetium. We mentioned the app doesn't require users to refresh their feeds, with auto-loading tweets appearing in your timeline as they flow in. Live tiles are supported here, making it easy to check your Twitter account without having the app open consistently. You can view unread DMs and mentions right from inside the menu, without the need to keep the app open in the background while you're trying to work. A full-size image viewer is here, absolutely trumping the pitiful standard image viewer offered within Twitter's web client, and we're big fans of the included video player as well.
Unfortunately, some of our favorite features for Twitter apps are locked behind a "Tweetium Pro," which costs an additional $7.99 per year on top of the one-time purchase of the standard Tweetium application. What does the Pro upgrade get you in return for your $8 a year? A ton of additional features, including some that we've come to expect from standard applications. Tweetium Pro unlocks push notifications on your computers, including support for likes, follows, and tweet notifications. You can plug in multiple accounts into Tweetium Pro—up to seven, six more than the plain application's account base. You can sync between devices using Tweetium's pro-only TweetMarker, and there's even an integrated new reader that makes browsing and reading articles and updates within Tweetium a much better experience than it would be otherwise. A lot of these features are included by default in apps like Tweetbot, and though we dislike the $7.99 upcharge, the tiered price strategy means more people can use Tweetium at a lower cost if they don't require those extra features. And that $7.99 charge isn't recurring, a great choice from a solid software company.
Some final thoughts on Tweetium: it's a good app, even if it isn't entirely perfect. The app is slick, easy to use, and available at a solid price for only $2.99 for most users. Those looking to get the most out of their apps will want to pony up for the premium experience with Tweetium Pro, but for the majority of consumers looking for a solid offering for their laptops, Tweetium is the perfect Twitter experience for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.