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Tweetbot 2 review: Twitter Mac app has a crisper design but is a work in progress

Glenn Fleishman | June 23, 2015
Twitter client sports a new design but the Mac app still needs some polish

Tweetbot supports multiple columns, each of which can follow a separate stream, yet I've never found its approach particularly effective; most people I know who need multiple streams use (and swear at) Tweetdeck, owned by Twitter.

In version 2, the user interface has been updated to the Yosemite (and now El Capitan) feel. Every element is crisper, and works better with Retina displays. I do find the controls in each message for reply, retweet, fav, share, and miscellaneous to be a bit too small in this release. And when a tweet is faved, its star overlaps the time stamp showing how long ago the tweet was made.

In this update, you can opt to show a verified account blue checkbox directly on avatars, which themselves can be shown framed as squares or circles. Twitter has its own logic about which accounts receive verification (mostly athletes, celebrities, and journalists, including the Macworld staff), but it can be useful in following news to know at a glance whether or not someone's identity has been double-checked.

Retweets now show a shrunken avatar of the person sharing the message, which can again help in deciding whether or not to pay attention to it or follow links.

Numerous small problems in this release need to be fixed for consistency, usability, and aesthetics. When clicking to view an image, a window appears that's better formatted and has more options in its Share menu than Tweetbot 1, but it also cannot be resized. Tweets with multiple images allow no way to show all images without clicking them one at a time. Tweetbot still doesn't support viewing videos or animated GIFs inline or through an in-app pop-up window, and instead opens a browser window.

While you can easily opt to not include your current location, in the previous release this was signaled by a grayed-out Apple-style location icon in a new tweet dialog. In this release, that icon is accompanied by a large lozenge that reads Location Disabled, which seems like too much negative information--how often do we need to be told that strongly what we're not doing?

Every view in Tweetbot allows searching within downloaded tweets in addition to a Twitter search tab, but there's a problem with focus: after entering a search term in version 1, you could press Escape to clear it and show all messages in the view. In version 2, the focus leaves the field, requiring a click and then Escape.

There's a lot to like, though. In the previous version if you were composing a tweet and wanted to navigate through other parts of the timeline or other tabs, you had to first drag the fresh tweet to disconnect it. Now, all new tweets are freestanding, which is a nice improvement.

 

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