The Mac Twitter App Showdown

Twitter has hit something of a boom recently. From a small tech startup in San Francisco a mere seven years ago, it has blossomed to one of the largest social networks globally and the tenth most visited site on the Net. The influence of Twitter can be seen everywhere — from TV shows with hashtags in the corner to big companies promoting their brands and products with @names and hashtags — and the words “retweet” and “follower” have entered the prestigious Oxford English Dictionary as proper English words.

The Mac certainly isn’t left out here and you’ll be glad to know that there’s plenty of choice when it comes to Twitter clients. In this roundup, I take a look at eight of the best and weigh up the pros and cons of each one. If you’re unsure about which Twitter client to use, or simply fancy switching to another one, then read on for my recommendations.

1. Twitter (official)

Despite the fact it received its last update a year and a half ago (back in June 2011), the official Twitter app for OS X is still going strong. Those who used Tweetie will recognise the interface (Twitter snaffled up the company back in April 2010) and it’s good for first-time Twitter users due to its ease-of-use and simplistic interface.

Twitter Official

The official Twitter app for OS X

The problem with the official app, though, is that it’s lacking many of the features seen in other Twitter clients, such as support for more image services and support for notifications in Mountain Lion. The lack of updates has meant that the app also hasn’t kept pace with the redesign of Twitter and its new Connect and Discover tabs, which is a real shame.

Advantages: Simple, easy-to-use design.
Disadvantages: The app is now starting to show its age. Lack of advanced features.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6 and above

2. Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck is a more powerful and customisable offering than the official client and has retained the old column view from the previous version (which was acquired by Twitter in May 2011). There are plenty of features to keep even the busiest Twitter user happy, including scheduling of tweets, streaming and notifications.

Tweetdeck

Tweetdeck on OS X

Although the reviews on the App Store still lament the app’s change from the original version, there’s still plenty to like about Tweetdeck. I personally find the interface a little too “busy”, especially with the streaming feature however the fact it is owned by Twitter (and benefits from more active development) means that new features are being introduced all the time.

Advantages: Columned view with plenty of powerful features.
Disadvantages: You’ll need a Tweetdeck account in addition to your Twitter account to sign in. The interface can overwhelm at times.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6 and above

3. Tweetbot for Mac

Ever since Tweetbot was released it has become one of the popular alternative Twitter clients for Mac. Tweetbot boasts a wealth of features, including iCloud timeline sync with the iPhone and iPad versions, support for a wide range of third-party image and video services (including Cloudapp and Droplr) and full integration with Mountain Lion.

Tweetbot

Tweetbot for Mac.

Anyone who has used the iPad version of Tweetbot will be familiar with the app’s interface, with easy access to your mentions, direct messages, lists and so on on the left hand side and even the gestures are the same – swipe left to view your conversation and right to view a tweet in a bit more detail. The app has received favourable reviews however the high price may be a slight cause for concern for some customers.

Advantages: Outstanding integration with the iOS version and a wide range of features.
Disadvantages: Interface may not please some. High price and no free trial.

Price: $19.99
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 and above and a 64-bit processor

4. Twitterrific

Twitterrific is a lightweight yet powerful Twitter client for OS X with a nice range of features that will please most Twitter users. The interface is really easy to use and has a nice coloured interface, with different ones for mentions, direct messages and so on. You can also switch between a dark and light theme, depending on your tastes.

Twitterrific

Twitterrific on OS X.

It’s a pity that the Mac version of Twitterrific didn’t receive the same treatment to its interface like the iOS version did a couple of months back, but there’s still hope that this will be refreshed in the near future. And at $9.99, it offers almost precisely the same features as Tweetbot at half the price. There’s also a free (but ad-supported version) if you want to try before you buy.

Advantages: Good range of features in a neat interface.
Disadvantages: Needs more harmonisation with the iOS versions.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 and above

5. Osfoora

Osfoora (don’t ask me where the name comes from!) is a relatively simple Twitter client that is great for people who don’t want to be overwhelmed by fancy interfaces and tonnes of unnecessary features. There’s support for muting particular Twitter users, read later services (including Instapaper and Pocket) and multiple accounts.

Osfoora

Osfoora on OS X.

There are a few limitations to Osfoora, such as no pull-to-refresh but overall it presents itself as a well-rounded Twitter client. My only worry is, though, that at $5.49 there are more powerful Twitter clients out there for OS X and customers may feel inclined either to go for a cheaper option or splash out and get a Twitter client with more features.

Advantages: Decent range of features for such a small app.
Disadvantages: A little too expensive for what it’s offering.

Price: $5.49
Requires: OS X 10.6 and above

6. Socialite

Socialite works with both Twitter and Facebook and also syncs with Google Reader to aggregate your RSS feeds and your Flickr account. Aside the standard features that you would expect from a Twitter account, the app also allows you to organise all your social networks into folders, which is extremely useful if you manage a number of different accounts.

Socialite

Socialite is a very customisable application and you can play around with many different aspects of it – especially the user interface. It also provides full support for notifications in Mountain Lion and integration with third-party services such as Instapaper. For $9.99, it’s great for managing multiple accounts and you could dispense with all other Twitter clients – if you don’t mind the slightly cumbersome Timeline view.

Advantages: Fantastic handling of multiple social networking accounts. A great “all-in-one” application.
Disadvantages: Can be quite awkward to use, especially in the Timeline view. No support for Tweet Marker.

Price: $9.95
Requires: OS X 10.6 and above

Which One To Download?

I hope this roundup has helped you sift through all of the Twitter clients for OS X out there! Of course, I haven’t included all of them – rather my six favourite apps – and there’s still, at least, the Twitter web app that’ll work on almost any Mac, as well as Mountain Lion’s native Twitter integration. And really, each app has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to pick the best one for you. If there’s another app that I’ve forgotten, then please include it in the comments below!


  • http://www.behance.net/khaledib Khaled

    Hahaha ! For Osfoora it’s an Arabic word which simply means bird. :)

    • Mehdi

      Osfoora = Bird (female) Osfoor = Bird (Male) lol

  • PhiBo

    I stumbled upon YoruFukurou (https://sites.google.com/site/yorufukurou/home-en) when I was looking for a free Twitter client with support for Tweet Marker. Have been using it for several months now and I’m quite happy. Replaced the long orphaned Nambu for me. Unfortunately, it lost some nice features like seeing short-url expansion and some aspects of “see replys to this tweet” over Twitter’s recent API changes…

  • David McCormick

    ‘Follower’ is in the OED? Ridiculous.

  • Bilel Mhedhbi

    Osfoora means bird in Arabic.

  • Kent

    yorufukurou is another that has a TON of features.

    https://sites.google.com/site/yorufukurou/home-en

  • Jeremy

    Definitely Tweetbot for me. I love it. Sure, it’s expensive, but Twitter is to blame for that. When you’re only allowed to sell so many copies, you have to raise the price to make up for it. I love the interface/features of Tweetbot. If it didn’t exist, I’d go back to Osfoora. The others.. yuck.

  • AK

    What about “YoruFukurou” (means “Night Owl”)? It’s the best out there.

    https://sites.google.com/site/yorufukurou/home-en

  • http://peterdeltondo.com Peter

    Tweetbot is all you need. I use it daily to keep up on the design world, totally worth the price. Took me awhile to purchase it but so glad I did.

  • Mr. Sausage

    Isn’t this same article published every month?

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      Uh, nope. This is our first new Twitter app article in quite a while, and was actually written at a reader’s request.

  • Paul

    I’m surprised timeline reading position syncing (Tweet Marker or iCloud) isn’t mentioned here. That’s a dealbreaker for many these days. Live streaming is important to some people as well.

  • http://lex.io Lex

    +1 for YoruFukurou. If you not looking for all that fancy UI graphics and effects and just need great twitter client (i can even say “professional” if you running several accounts of your company, for example) – YoruFukurou is great choice.

  • Ayoub

    Thanks for this post, by the way, osfoora is the arabic name for the bird or sparrow.

    • James Cull

      Thanks for that, now I know!

  • Richard

    What about “itsy”?

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