TweetCaster: A Powerful and Complete Twitter Client for iOS

Twitter applications aren’t the most difficult ones to find on the App Store, but most people either stick to the official application or popular ones, such as Tweetbot or Twitterrific. There are, however, a certain number of alternative apps that can suit some people better. Examples include clients like Osfoora HD and Echofon, but also TweetCaster, a full-featured iOS Twitter application few people know about.

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First Things First

After setting up TweetCaster, you’ll be presented with a social dashboard that summarizes your accounts — and yes, you can have several. It also displays Twitter trends, nearby tweets, recommendations and saved hashtags. Even though this page looks pretty, there is no way to customize its content to have it display mentions, messages and more relevant information.

The Basics

Like any Twitter client, TweetCaster displays your timeline, mentions and messages. Nevertheless, it offers a certain number of great features that allow you to browse content more comfortably and also to filter it using various criteria.

The timeline displays all tweets posted and shared from the people you follow, but TweetCaster also allows you to filter and only show photos, videos and links. I personally don’t see any great interest in these filters and would have liked to manually set them so that I could truly customize my timeline. They do make a lot more sense in the Favorites list, however, as you could be looking for a picture you liked a few months back, and use a filter to find it more easily.

The Mentions screen is easy to read and can once again be filtered using the same criteria. TweetCaster also supports the Interactions view, which will let you know when someone retweets, favorites or follows you. Regarding your direct messages, they are grouped by user and organized into conversations, making it easier to keep track of previous messages.

The Mentions screen can display all Interactions

The Mentions screen can display all Interactions

TweetCaster can also show a list of your own tweets and retweets. These can be set to either display all tweets or hide posts in which you reply to people. As for retweets, you can display messages retweeted by you, by others or your tweets that have been retweeted by others.

Lastly, TweetCaster integrates with Twitter’s lists and has its own SmartLists, which are supposedly tailored to your personal interests. While this seems to be a great feature, it truly appears to be nothing more than a regular Twitter list. An interesting option in this app is that lists can be merged with your Timeline: you can display tweets from a specific list within your feed, without following users in that particular list.

Posting a Tweet

Sharing posts and content is a breeze with TweetCaster: attaching photos and music to a tweet is very easy. You can either take a new photo or video, share the last one you’ve taken or browse your library to pick one. When sharing a picture, you have the option to change the quality settings and even to edit the image before sending it. Besides, there is an option in the app to automatically post a #NowPlaying tweet by recognizing the song you’re playing in iTunes — the feature doesn’t work with third-party apps.

TweetCaster makes addressing people simpler, as it can automatically complete Twitter handles and hashtags when you write. In addition, you can manually pick from your followers and the people you follow in case you don’t remember their handle.

A combined view of the autocomplete and sharing features

A combined view of the autocomplete and sharing features

Within TweetCaster, you have the ability to save tweets as drafts and access them later on, by tapping the Drafts button at the top. You can also send your tweets to Buffer and have them posted automatically at prescheduled times. Nevertheless, the option to use Buffer only appears when you tap Close, which is rather confusing.

Interacting With Content

TweetCaster offers a certain number of options when it comes to interacting with tweets, images and links. Like many other clients, it has inline preview for most image services, meaning images are displayed directly within your Timeline, without having to click on the links to open them. Similarly, the app has a built-in browser to view webpages without switching apps. The browser also supports Readability, a service that turns heavy pages into uncluttered and easy to read articles.

The built-in browser -- notice the sharing options and the Readability toggle at the bottom

The built-in browser — notice the sharing options and the Readability toggle at the bottom

TweetCaster integrates well with services such as Pocket, Instapaper and Readability. However, finding the option to save a page to read later isn’t easy: you have to open the link first before being shown the option to save it. Tweets can also be shared via SMS, Facebook and Email, directly within the app.

Various interaction options appear when tapping a tweet

Various interaction options appear when tapping a tweet

Posts can be retweeted natively or with comments, in addition to being shared to Buffer. However, you won’t have the possibility to edit what you put in your buffer from TweetCaster and would need to manually edit it from the Buffer website or app before it’s posted.

Advanced Options

TweetCaster offers a certain number of settings so you can customize your experience and the way the application looks. For instance, you can set a custom font size, an automatic signature and even use different themes per account, making it a lot easier to recognize which account you’re tweeting from in case you use several.

The app supports a handful of various services, such as Twitlonger and Twitmore to post tweets longer than 140 characters, but also Tweet Marker to sync your timeline position across platforms and apps. As mentioned earlier, the app can share links with Pocket, Instapaper and Readability for you to read later on any device. You can also pick your favorite link shortener and photo/video sharing service from a different number of providers.

Timeline view -- notice the TweetMarker indicator and the Zipped (muted) tweets

Timeline view — notice the TweetMarker indicator and the Zipped (muted) tweets

For annoying users or tweets, TweetCaster has a very powerful muting system called ZipIt. It lets you mute handles, hashtags, keywords and even clients, so that you can scroll through your timeline without seeing unwanted posts. You can even combine filters, so that tweets from specific people containing predefined keywords and sent from a certain client are automatically muted. This can be useful for automated tweets, such as likes, check-ins and so on.

Limitations

Although TweetCaster is a great Twitter client, it does have some frustrating limitations. The most important one is the absence of push notifications, which means you have no way of knowing about new mentions and direct messages. The developer suggests using Boxcar, a third-party notification app that can be linked to TweetCaster, but we never managed to make it work, even after repeated trials. An important number of users also reported the same issue with Boxcar, which seems to make it impossible to have reliable notifications with the app.

Apart from this limitation, the rest should be seen more as improvements than issues. Indeed, the interface and user experience could be simplified, as many features are currently hidden and hard to find. It seems developers didn’t realize iPads have big screens that can accomodate a couple of extra icons. Similarly, Buffer should be integrated more deeply to make it easier to share tweets, but also to let people edit the posts before adding them to Buffer.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a great Twitter client but are unwilling to pay for popular ones, TweetCaster is a great choice. It is the only Twitter client I have on my iPad, and I hardly complain about it. If you’re fine with not having native notifications — you can always use the official Twitter application for these, you should definitely give this app a try.

There is also a Pro version on the App Store that offers an ad-free experience, but doesn’t add any new features. My suggestion is to give the free app a try, and purchase the paid version if you find ads annoying.


Summary

A full-featured Twitter client for iOS that integrates with a wide range of services

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  • Marc

    Can it post one tweet to multiple accounts at the same time?

    • http://dooid.me/hagop Hagop Kavafian

      Yes, you can actually select the accounts from which you’re sending the tweet on the left.