We love Tweetbot, it’s by far the best Twitter client for iOS, both on the iPhone and the iPad. However, iOS has gone through some changes recently, after Apple gave it a complete visual makeover in iOS 7. Because the refresh is so drastic, it forced developers to alter their apps to fit in with the new design, something Tapbots has done with Tweetbot 3.
However, while many others have chosen to provide their iOS 7 app updates for free, Tapbots has released its new version of Tweetbot as a standalone app. The old edition still works – and very well too – but its design doesn’t fit in with iOS anymore.
Tapbots says it will continue providing bug fixes for the second edition of the app, but only for so long. Ultimately, if you use Twitter, and as Tweetbot is the best iOS client, you’re probably thinking about upgrading. Is it worth the money?
Tapbots has certainly made an effort with Tweetbot 3. It claims the app has been redesigned from the ground up, and although experienced users will find it familiar, there are new features to discover, and a beautiful new interface to enjoy.
The UI is very white, just like iOS 7 generally, while the buttons have been given the minimalist treatment. To help keep the interface simple, several buttons have more than one function, and they’re accessed by a tap and a hold.
The old, square profile pictures have been replaced by new, circular ones, and the in-line images have been given more white space around them, adding to the app’s sparse look. Tap a tweet, and a control panel folds out underneath the highlighted message, where you can reply, retweet, favourite or share it with friends through other means.
Tap a picture, and it appears full size on the screen, while Tweetbot obscures those areas not covered by the image in a fog. It looks fantastic, then gets even better when you swipe the picture away to return to your timeline. It’s beautifully done, and super smooth.
Composing your own tweets also has the option of adding a picture or a hashtag, plus if you select the option, your location too. You can view your feed in the traditional manner or as a photo stream, where only tweets with images show up. It’s a far better way than Twitter’s new in-stream image system seen in the standard Twitter app or online. Swipe to the left on a tweet and you get information on replies, retweets, and general tweet data. It’s all very intuitive, super fast, and extremely well presented.
One change over Tweetbot 2 is the way Twitter Lists are handled. Now they’re accessible through their own tab. It’s a welcome alteration, as it was way too easy to switch views in the old version. It’s not all good news though, as there are some missing features, including a night mode, and a way to alter the text size in the app itself.
At the moment, Tweetbot 3 uses Apple’s dynamic text sizing. It’s fine, but not if you don’t want small text in all compatible apps. Tapbots has promised both these annoyances will be fixed in a future update. Otherwise, expect to find all the usual Twitter mobile app essentials, such as push notifications, Tweetmarker support, drafts and filters, as standard in Tweetbot 3. The final two buttons at the bottom of the screen are customisable too, so you can switch them to provide fast access to the features you use most.
So, is Tweetbot 3 a whole lot different to Tweetbot 2? No, not really. But then, that’s not a terrible thing, as its predecessor was pretty much perfect in the first place. If you’re wondering where the incentive to pay for a new version is, then it’s almost solely in the design - Tweetbot 3 fits in with iOS 7. Depending on how you feel about Apple’s new OS will dictate if you think this is a good thing or not. We quite like Tweetbot 3’s tight integration.
There have been complaints about Tweetbot 3 not being a free upgrade. We, as app users, have been spoiled by free updates for years, and while they’re good for us, they don’t provide developers with much opportunity to make money.
Tweetbot is such a good app – despite the small annoyances – that we don’t begrudge paying the £1.99. Also, as it’s not hugely different to Tweetbot 2, there’s nothing forcing you to upgrade. If you don’t want to pay, stick with the earlier version. What we’re saying is, as long as you’re using one version of Tweetbot to view Twitter on your iPhone, you’re doing it right.