iOS 7 instantly changed the way I do a lot of things on my phone. I was pretty prepared for the OS itself, which was a revelatory experience all the same, but what I wasn’t prepared for was some of my favourite apps becoming instantly outdated. My preferred Twitter app, Tweetbot, suddenly looked dead in the water.
With that in mind, I made the full-blown switch to Twitterrific. I’ve taken a look at the app in the past, but never stuck with it. Today, that’s changed. Let me tell you all about why Twitterrific is the Twitter app for me.
We talked a lot for a while in some of my social circles about how Twitterrific was largely prescient, or so it seemed, of Apple’s iOS 7 update. It was as if the developers knew it was coming and decided it was imperative that they get in on the secret before Apple got it out. Of course, this was before I tried iOS 7, so I had no idea how accurate that was.
There have been some minor updates to the UI with Twitterrific’s update — “buttons” are gone and have been replaced with the now-standardized “text buttons” (we really need to find more apt terminology for this), and the app has some translucency where it didn’t before. But in the simplest terms possible, not much had changed. I had to dig up some old screenshots and compare them to really notice the minor differences, which means that it’s very familiar.
The translucency effects are really nice, and the lack of bordered buttons is actually incredibly appealing. It’s simply stunning to me how well Twitterrific blends in with the iOS 7 aesthetic. It belongs here. People on Twitter are asking about a highly-recommended iOS 7 app for the social network, and this is the one. It’s design is simple without getting rid of any power under the hood.
Speaking of power under the hood, Twitterrific also has notification support for all your accounts. (When we last looked at the app, they were just announcing a limited roll-out beta of the functionality.) It has support for Lists now, but it doesn’t seem to offer any real list management. Try as I might, I haven’t been able to figure out how to add anybody to any of my lists.
The list management problem is a very real one for me, and it’s something that Tweetbot does very well. The problem with Twitterrific is that, while I can access my Lists without a problem, I can’t find a way to add people to or remove them from any of them. Tweetbot still does this better.
The app also supports some great new features for those who want to use them — like Safari Reading List. You can also open links directly in Chrome instead of Safari, if you have it installed. And you can tap and hold links in your timeline to send them straight to your preferred Read Later service or open them in your web browser of choice.
That all being said, the app’s most important new update, at least to me, is background updating. It changes the way the entirety of the app works.
With iOS 7, multitasking is now a “thing” for Apple. To my knowledge, Twitterrific is the first Twitter app to use the feature. It’s very cool. Twitterrific now “learns” when you use the app and updates in the background, so that when you open the app, your Timeline is automatically ready for you without the need to look again. If you use Mail.app, it’s similar to the way that Mail learns how often you check your mail and does it for you.
This isn’t something I can wrap my head around because, in all honesty, we don’t know all the details of how this works. But it’s very magical, and especially so when you’re using iCloud sync between multiple devices.
My two primary sources of Twitter are my iPhone and iPad mini. (I don’t use Twitterrific on my Mac and try to avoid booting up Tweetbot there so I don’t lose productivity.) Thanks to iCloud, my Timelines are meant to stay in sync between the two devices. Multitasking and background updates makes this an actual seamless reality.
When I check Twitterrific on my iPad mini, I open the app and I’m already at the synced position in my Timeline. There’s no need to tap any buttons or wait for the app to catch up and slowly fetch iCloud’s information. It’s instantaneous. The same thing happens when I put my iPad mini down and pick up my iPhone. This all happens without any interaction or wait from the user — it feels really ahead of the game.
There is one apparent downside to this: This requires that you don’t remove Twitterrific from your open apps. In other words, don’t double-tap on the Home button and swipe Twitterrific away from the multitasking pane if you want this feature to work properly. It’s one of those features that, when it does work properly, is seamless. I can’t commend it any further than that.
For me, the only real downside to Twitterrific now is that I can’t keep up with lists and that their Mac client doesn’t support iCloud sync (although Tweet Marker is supported everywhere if you prefer that — I just don’t). iCloud sync between devices is practically perfect and nearly unnoticeable; it “just works.”
The design is leagues ahead of the game too. Where, before, Twitterrific felt like a friendly Twitter app with a lot of future potential, it feels like the future has caught up with. Everybody else has been left behind, and Twitterrific is already forging ground ahead. It’s my default Twitter app on my first home screen now, and I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who are looking for a forward-thinking Twitter experience that matches their new, forward-thinking iOS.