In-Depth Showdown: 5 of the Best Twitter Apps for Mac

In our world of Social Networking, Twitter has emerged as one of the most-used and most useful points of connection to our world. Whether you use Twitter as a news source, celebrity gossip engine, or for just keeping tabs on your friends, having a dedicated app on your Mac can take your experience to a new level.

In this in-depth showdown, we’re going to take a look at a few of the most popular Twitter apps out there, analyse their features, and compare them against one another.

Read on past the break to see how the contenders stacked up.

Our Comparison Criteria

In comparing each of these Twitter apps, time was spent examining them for their unique and respective features. We’ll obviously evaluate the user interface, but each one also needed to compete in 4 main categories:

People love posting pictures to Twitter, and a good Twitter app needs to be great at handling, posting, and displaying these.

A lot of what happens on Twitter are replies and mentions, making Twitter not just a constant feed, but a place to converse. A great Twitter client needs to make it easy to see an entire conversation thread, without searching the Twitter-universe trying to find where a discussion started.

Multiple Accounts:
Twitter has evolved from being simply a personal social network. Today, Twitter is a viable means to broadcast news and information about one’s business and community. Many users have more than one Twitter account, so a good Twitter app needs to be able to handle these with ease.

People don’t love their Macs because of how complicated, complex, or difficult it is to use. We love them because they are easy, elegant, and simple. So a great Twitter app needs to be the same.

With these 4 major qualities in mind, we also kept our eyes open for each app’s unique features. We’ll be sure to tell you what each app does well, as well as what each app offers that is completely unique. Here are the five clients we’re looking at, so you can jump to them as needed:

  1. Echofon
  2. Tweetings
  3. Twitterrific
  4. TweetDeck
  5. Twitter

1. Echofon

After establishing itself as a wildly popular Twitter app for iPhone, Echofon has evolved into a robust, multi-faceted networking platform. But its capability is complimented by its simplicity.

The Beauty of Echofon's Simplicity

The Beauty of Echofon's Simplicity

With a small, concise interface, Echofon keeps little hidden from view. Tabs along the top of the window let you switch between your timeline, replies, direct messages, lists, and searches with ease. A nice clean entry field along the bottom will get you posting to Twitter in seconds, and the paperclip in the entry field lets you add a variety of attachments.


Echofon adds thumbnails for any attached media in your timeline. Clicking the thumbnail pops out a separate window with a large image. Quick and easy is how we like it, and having thumbnails inline is a great feature.

We Love Thumbnails


Tweets that are part of a conversation display a small speech bubble, and clicking the bubble will slide out a conversation view, letting you scroll through every related post. You can also use the arrows in the conversation view to move between the various conversations happening in your timeline. Conversations in Echofon are simple and complete.

Echofon's Conversation View

Multiple Accounts

Setting up multiple accounts requires a simple visit to Echofon’s preferences, and is just like setting up accounts in Apple Mail. You can then switch accounts by clicking your profile picture down in the entry field. A very clean, simple solution for handling accounts.

Adding Your Accounts in Echofon


Echofon is a very clean, very easy to use app. Users new to Twitter will have no trouble diving in and figuring things out, while experienced users will appreciate the unique features Echofon has to offer. If you’re looking for simple, look no further than Echofon

Bonus Points

Echofon Gives Unique Attachment Options

Echofon gets bonus points for a couple of neat features. To start, Echofon is available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. To make the experience complete, Echofon’s own servers will sync the read/unread status of your tweets across all of your devices. This is a great way to make sure you’re always up-to-date.

Echofon also gives some great options for attaching more than just pictures to your tweets. With a single click you can add a link to your current Safari page, add your currently playing iTunes track, or even attach a screenshot. All without leaving Echofon. These may not be huge wins for most users, but we found them to be great inclusions in Echofon.


We applaud Echofon for it’s simple interface, ease of use, excellent media handling, and optional iOS sync. There is very little missing from this app, and it’s a very solid 9/10

Echofon is available from the Mac App Store, and has both a free ad-supported version, and a full version for $19.99.

2. Tweetings

Tweetings is another simple, clean Twitter app for Mac, iPhone, and iPad. While Tweetings doesn’t sync across your platforms, it’s still a nice solution for the Mac. The interface is similar to Echofon, with tabs along the top of the window to take you between your Timeline, Replies, Direct Messages, and Searches.

Tweetings for Mac


Tweetings’ media handling was a standout in this lineup. Tweetings provides you with extra-large thumbnails, giving you a great view of images before opening them in full view.

We Love Extra-Large Thumbnails More


Like Echofon, conversations are denoted by a small speech bubble at the bottom of a Tweet, and a single click will open up the entire conversation for you. However, instead of opening them in an attached drawer or popover, Tweetings opens conversations in a separate window.

This led to a sense of clutter, ruining the clean appeal of the app. The multi-window approach was close, but no cigar for Tweetings.

We Don't Like Windows

Multiple Accounts

Handling accounts was easy in Tweetings. Simply clicking on the Accounts button at the top of your timeline lets you manage, add, or switch between accounts. This was the easiest app reviewed for adding new accounts, and it makes the process a breeze – especially for less savvy users.

Adding Accounts in Tweetings


Using Tweetings is a cinch. Users will have no trouble getting in, getting started, and getting connected. However, some of the multi-window functions of Tweetings cause unnecessary clutter. Also, navigating through Tweetings preferences and menus was surprisingly unfriendly. This app was almost there as far as a perfectly simple interface goes.

Bonus Points

One added bonus was Tweetings’ option of interface themes. Users can opt for a classic light theme, or the stylish dark theme. This may not seem like a deal-breaker, but the option will be a welcome addition for many users.


A solid app with a fairly simple interface and only a few shortcomings. Most users will be at ease, but there are still certain elements that will make life a little harder for less experienced users. But for the price, it’s hard to beat.

Tweetings gains a solid 8/10, and can be purchased for $2.99 from the Mac App Store

3. Twitterrific

The Iconfactory has been developing Twitter apps since before the first days of the App Store, and has made Twitterrific better with each release. The current iteration, Twitterrific 4, borrows heavily from the design of Twitterrific for iPad, and couldn’t be more enjoyable to use.

Twitterrific 4 for Mac


Twitterrific uses, in perfect iPad form, charming popover menus to show you media. While we were disappointed by the lack of thumbnails in Twitterrific, clicking any embedded image link opens a great popover to display the image. Clicking away from the image returns you to your timeline. Clean and simple.

Popover With Joy


Conversations in Twitterrific are brilliant. Simply click on the “in reply to” text in a tweet, and prepare yourself for window-free popover happiness. This is really a great approach to conversation view, and was by far the best of all the apps we tried out.

Your Conversations. Inline.

Multiple Accounts

While Twitterrific does an exceptional job handling multiple accounts, it does so only in the paid version of the app. This may be a definite deal-breaker for many users, especially when all of the other apps we tried supported multiple accounts without any charge. Changing accounts is as simple as clicking the profile picture on top of the window, but paying $10 to do so may not be something most users are willing to do.

Add Your Account and Go.


Being so heavily influenced by Twitterrific for iPad makes Twitterrific for Mac astonishingly simple, easy to use, and beautiful. The app looks great and functions better than any of the apps we reviewed for this showdown. In terms of simplicity, Twitterrific takes the cake.

Bonus Points

Twitterrific wins bonus points for having a customizable toolbar. Users can add the buttons they’ll use most to the Twitterrific window, while removing what they don’t need. In today’s world, customization is often king, and Twitterrific wins in this area hands-down.

Go Ahead. Customize That Toolbar. It's Okay.


Twitterrific could have been a shoe-in 10/10. It’s beautiful, simple, powerful, and truly a joy to use. But without being able to add multiple accounts in the free version, we just can’t quite give it the perfect score it deserves. The free version receives 9/10, but the $9.99 version is a perfect 10/10.

You can buy the full version from the Mac App Store, or the free version can be downloaded from The Iconfactory.

4. TweetDeck

While most Twitter apps aim to be simple and minimalistic, TweetDeck takes a unique approach. The aim of TweetDeck is instead to give you as much of Twitter as you can possibly handle. The interface is divided by a set of user-defined columns, which can display anything from Timelines and Replies to lists of Twitter users. The result is an app which is powerful, feature-rich, but fairly overwhelming.

It's All in the Columns.


TweetDeck seems to follow a function-over-form philosophy of design. There are no thumbnails for images, and the app displays links to embedded images in the same way as normal web links.

This can make finding tweets with pictures a tad difficult. Images do open in-application as long as they’re uploaded with yFrog, TwitPic, or another commonly-used photo sharing service (sorry Instagram users, no built-in support.)

Images in TweetDeck


Clicking the small “in reply to” text in a tweet does open the entire conversation thread. However, it does so by opening a new column at the end of the TweetDeck window.

While the idea of keeping the conversation open and updating is sound in concept, it would only take a very short time before you find yourself with dozens of columns open. Each one has to be manually closed once you’re finished reading the conversation.

This may not seem like a deal-breaker to some, but after spending time with TweetDeck, this process of conversation handling felt very cumbersome.

The Conversation Column

Multiple Accounts

For handling multiple accounts, TweetDeck is the clear champion. While the columns were cumbersome for conversations, they are the best way to handle multiple accounts.

Simply add your accounts in TweetDeck preferences. Once the account is verified, then you can create columns specifically to display timelines, replies, DMs and more for each account.

Instead of switching between accounts, you can just scroll the appropriate column. TweetDeck stole the show when it came time to handle more than one account.

Flow to Your Accounts


TweetDeck is far from simple. At first glance the interface can appear extremely complex, and many inexperienced users will find themselves unsure of where to go or what to do. TweetDeck is extremely powerful and robust, but requires a lot of confidence and commitment to get things running the way you want them. TweetDeck is not for the faint.

Bonus Points

TweetDeck is not just for Twitter! When you go to add new accounts in the preferences, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many social networks can be brought under one roof. TweetDeck supports Twitter, FaceBook, Google Buzz (RIP), Foursquare, and LinkedIn at the time of this writing.

More will likely be added in the months ahead. For people looking for a powerful “command-center” over all things social, TweetDeck is the go-to app.

All Your Social Networks Under One Roof


Power users need look no further than TweetDeck. Users wanting a fast, simple Twitter experience however may want to keep shopping. Despite it’s list of great features, using TweetDeck was surprisingly difficult. Even advanced users will have to spend some time making the app work for them, and it also suffers on account of being an Adobe Air app.

We’re giving TweetDeck a 7/10, and it can be downloaded from

5. Twitter for Mac

It would seem silly to talk about Twitter clients for the Mac without spending quality time with the only official client available. What started as a great indie app called Tweetie, has now become a robust, beautiful application. Twitter for Mac is easy, elegant, and an all-around great Twitter client.


Twitter doesn’t put in any thumbnails, but clicking an embedded image link will open a nice window with the full picture. Clicking away closes the image. The result is clean, simple, and elegant. We miss the thumbnails of Echofon and Tweetings, but Twitter still does a good job.

Pictures in Their Place


When you find a tweet that is part of a conversation, double-clicking will slide out a drawer with the full thread. This felt simple and intuitive, and didn’t add any clutter to the Twitter interface.

Conversations As They Should Be

Multiple Accounts

A quick visit to Twitter preferences will step you through adding more accounts. Switching accounts is as easy as clicking the respective profile picture in the left hand side of Twitter. Again, this is a simple feature handled extremely well in Twitter for Mac.

Just Switch. It's That Simple.


Twitter for Mac is incredibly simple to setup and easy to use. It looks great, and works great. You’ll need only a few minutes to get everything working the way you’d like.


Users may find that Twitter doesn’t go as in-depth or offer as many features as apps like TweetDeck, but if you need quick, easy, and beautiful, Twitter is the way to go.

Twitter for Mac is available for free on the Mac App Store, and is a solid 9/10.

The Big Conclusion

Echofon Tweetings Twitterrific TweetDeck Twitter
Mac App Store Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Image Thumbnails Yes Yes No No No
Conversations Same Window Separate Window Same Window New Column Same Window
Multiple Accounts Yes Yes Paid Only Yes Yes
Cost Free / $19.99 $2.99 Free / $9.99 Free Free
Score 9 8 9 7 9

Hopefully you’ve found this breakdown of Twitter clients insightful enough to go download some new apps, and maybe even make a purchase to support the developers working hard to make the Mac such an exciting platform.

We refrained from naming who we thought was the “winner” in the Twitter client showdown, because much of it depends upon what you’re specifically looking for. Twitterrific took our highest rating, but an application such as TweetDeck might be perfect if you’re a Twitter power-user.

Of course, there are lots more applications available than those covered here today. It wouldn’t be useful to cover every single client on the market in one huge post, so we’ve just picked a handful that we particularly enjoyed using.

Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments!


Add Yours
  • me using nambu.

  • Good review. 3 comments:
    1. Isn’t this review a bit moot? I thought that Twitter has decided not license its API to other twitter-apps. Hence, only the twitter app will be allowed. Or am I wrong?

    2. Kiwi, I think, is the only app that allows multiple tabs.

    3. Tweetdeck is an Adobe Air app. That means you can’t open links in the background.

    • No that is incorrect, they have simply strengthened the rules around third party clients, they are not restricting people from creating clients and have said they will not be shutting them down unless they break the rules.

  • You forgot to mention “mute” option in Echofon.

    • Mute is a handy option and Echofon is also the only app that has the new tweet always visible, in the other apps, I find annoying to press cmd N every time I want to tweet something.

      • And the mute and highlights option in Tweetings too, it even allows muting of entire clients too

  • I am currently using Twitter for Mac and I am not sure if it’s the right decision.

    Could anybody tell me why I should switch to Twitterrific?

    • It’s not the right option simply because it’s annoying to click twice to get the box where we can finally type what we wanna tweet. Besides, Twitter for Mac hasn’t fixed the very annoying bug that causes the program to stick in every space (if you use multiple spaces) you switch to. I think this review is good but not too fair for Echofon which i consider is by large the best twitter client available for Mac. Give it a try and you’ll see.

      Pz out!

  • Hi Sean,

    very nice comparison, I agree with many of your conclusions. My two cents:

    1. I used to be a HUGE fan of Echofon. I own the entire suite for iPhone, iPad and Mac, mostly because it syncs perfectly across all those devices and I hated to see the same tweets over and over with the free twitter app.
    Unfortunately, though, when loading lots of tweets or quickly changing between user accounts, Echofon for Mac used to freeze not just itself but my entire Mac. I had this occurring on a Macbook and two different iMacs. I was always forced to out the Mac to sleep or do a forced restart to get it running again.

    2. That was the reason I switched to Tweetings. It also offers sychronization across all platforms, just as Echofon does. I noticed though, that sometimes this synchronization works and sometimes not. I have no idea why it behaves this way, but at least the app doesn’t freeze on my, so I’m willing to overlook this.

    Regarding @ehd’s question: I’d also be interesting to know just what exactly the current position of Twitter regarding third party apps is. I was so disappointed with their official news release some time ago that I actually purchased the entire Tweetings suite just because of it (the iPhone version is very close UI-wise to the Twitter app).

    • They aren’t shutting down third party apps unless they break the rules, this was clarified some weeks ago on the developer lists… basically it comes down to a badly written email that was clarified over the following days

  • Am I the only person who cares little enough about Twitter to just keep it in an Adium window?

    (Answer: Probably.)

    • I love adium. Especially because I like to have all my “chat” windows in one app.

  • I am using Echofon mostly these days, because it’s on all three. But it had a bug for a while that drove me nuts on the iPhone. (It would hang when sending tweets as email.)

    I think Twitterific is probably my favorite in the past and am thinking of giving it another whirl. In fact, I think I paid for it. Hmmm…

    Tweetdeck I could never get into. Too much annoying “chrome” (programmers’ definition of chrome).

    As for the chart, why is Twitterific rated 9 when the article says 10/10? Just because the free version doesn’t have multiple accounts?

  • Has anyone ever heard about YoruFukurou?
    If not, you should definitely give it a go!

    • Was looking for exactly this comment :-) I use YoruFukurou and am very happy with it

    • This. More people need to give YoruFukurou a go.

      • YoruFukurou is nice but I miss having TwitLonger function and that is why I am looking for an alternative app now for twitter. Until that is added to YoruFukurou, I think I will using Tweetings for now…

  • HootSuite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I think Echofon is the best option. Even better than Twitterrific which is just too heavy visually speaking. The sidebar with the hot topics is just annoying and doesn’t look good. I know we can hide it but still, i don’t really like it. Echofon is simple and full of features. All the bonus that are mentioned here are the reason why i stick with it. I have the paid version and it’s just great, works like a charm!
    And sometimes, depending on my mood, i use Itsy, which is quick, light and simple. :D

  • I love tweetdeck :D

  • The only thing wrong with Twitter for Mac is that the hashtags are light grey, which I personally find very hard to read. If the color could be changed it would be perfect -plus it’s free!

  • My favorite is Echofon !

  • Why no Socialite and no Hibari?

    Socialite simply the best. Hibari very decent.

  • try also

    Filters rule! to hide unwanted content like 4sq check-ins ;)

  • The only thing wrong with Twitter for Mac is that the hashtags are light grey, thanks !!!

  • I used Echofon. Nice tool maybe, but finally i deleted my Twitter!-))

  • Twitter app loses me with its lousy address book. I’m too spoiled by fantastic apps on the iphone like Tweetlogix and Tweetbot that have fantastic user look up functions. Mac not so much. Maybe one of these will be better.

  • Does anyone know an app that open the links in the app itself?

  • Echofon is simple and full of features. All the bonus that are mentioned here are the reason why i stick with it. I have the paid version and it’s just great, works like a charm!

  • TweetDeck wants to be my favourite. The columns are awesome. Makes it so easy to see at a glance what’s been going on in mentions, friends, searches etc.

    However, it has a bad habit of popping into focus when it receives a tweet. So i’ve ditched it for now. Just depends how long i can survive without its columns.

  • Yoy made it seem like echofon had chat style UI for direct messages, which — stupidly — they don’t. But it cost me $19.99 to find that out.

    • Why wouldn’t you just try to the free option/trial? Bizarre.

  • I personally recommend Saezuri which a lot of people don’t know, I suppose.
    Although the official page is in Japanese, its interface is actually in English and it’s simple and pretty. It also supports multiple accounts as well as image preview.

  • Echofon is by far the best client –even better than Tweetdeck–for various reasons not mentioned in this review:

    1) You can mute people you follow, but unlike Tweetdeck (that uses global filters to mute), their replies and direct messages to you are KEPT VISIBLE. This is extremely useful and should be a part of every client.

    2) Echofon allows you to see every time you have been RETWEETED. I’ve tried every client available, and I’ve yet to find one that displays “your tweets, retweeted” correctly. Tweetdeck, Youku foroku, twitteriffic, etc–they only show “mentions,” and many retweets DO NOT show up as mentions. To see what I mean, go to your twitter account online using safari (or your favorite browser), then look at “your tweets, retweeted.” So far, only Echofon displays them correctly.

    The fact that it’s free, has so many useful features, and includes the two no-brainer functions above, echofon is the way to go, IMO.

  • Currently updated my OS Lion, but twitter for mac, tweetdeck is not working for me. Nor is even safari, does anyone know what’s up?

  • Have tried – for a week at a time – most Mac Twitter clients.

    I always come back to Yorufukurou. Kiwi a close second.

  • I miss Nambu, RIP. The iTunes-style left navigation provided a quick scan of multiple accounts and lists, including number of new messages. Socialite tries to do that, but it is very slow when you’re monitoring a half-dozen accounts or more. Otherwise, nothing holds a candle to Nambu.

  • Is it just me or is scoring 9, 8, 9, 7, 9 after that whole writeup just plain stupid? I mean ok sure, there’s 3 that are tied for first, then a close second and a close third. This needs to be nitpicked more. Have a scale from 1-10 not from 7-10. While the article was written well, I came away from this with the idea that I am going to have to try 3 different apps and then figure out which one is better on my own. That’s fine and everything, but why even do a comparison writeup with scores if in the end it’s just gonna result in “They’re all good”.

    Maybe I’m being to anal, but I’m starting to get sick of app review articles like this where the obvious features are pointed out, there’s a bunch of text to read through, then when you get to the end hoping for some sane resolution, it’s like “we don’t want to bum anyone out so we’ll rate everything REALLY close”.

    /end rant

  • Echofon FTW. Tried it and keeping it after only 1 minute of use… I was able to right click on a hash tag and remove all posts with that tag.

    I am following a person that I like but that is watching and tweeting about some obscure English TV show that I don’t know and don’t want to hear about. Muted in Echofon and problem solved!

    The way they did this is perfect.

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