Skip to main content

Thanks to Tapbots’ Ivory app, I’m finally ready to ditch Twitter for good

Ever since Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter, it’s been one chaotic new thing after another. You literally cannot go a day (or a few days or even a week) without some stupid new change to the site — whether it’s about checkmarks for verified or Twitter Blue subscriber accounts, how links to other social networks are banned and then reversed, view counts on Tweets, or something else. I can’t keep up with every little thing that has happened since the beginning of November, and it feels like the spotlight is always on the toxicity of the site in general.

New Twitter alternatives have been popping up recently, but it seems that the most popular one continues to be Mastodon. I originally made a Mastodon account back in 2018 when it first launched, but it never clicked with me back then, and I eventually went back to Twitter. With the Musk mess, I tried going back to Mastodon, but again, it didn’t really click with me — until Tweetbot developer, Tapbots, revealed its next project: Ivory.

The significance of Tapbots and Tweetbot

Profile displayed on Tweetbot
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’ve been on Twitter for over 15 years — my account says I signed up in April 2007. Twitter has been a big part of my life in general, from helping me meet cool, like-minded people, to professionals who have helped me get where I am in my career. Honestly, I don’t think I would be where I am today if it weren’t for Twitter.

In 2008, there was a little app called Tweetie made by Loren Brichter of atebits, which was one of the best third-party Twitter apps on the iPhone at the time. Tweetie is one of the biggest reasons why we even have “pull to refresh” on iOS, as it appeared in that app first and was a game-changer. However, in 2010, Tweetie was acquired by Twitter and turned into the official app, but I hated the changes that were made.

In 2011, Tapbots came out with Tweetbot on the iPhone (the iPad and Mac versions came later). Tweetbot was dubbed “a Twitter client with personality,” because it emulated a friendly robot like the other apps from Tapbots. In 2012, the Mac version of Tweebot came out, and iCloud timeline sync was implemented in both the iPhone and Mac versions, so you would never lose your place. In 2015, Tweetbot 4.0 added iPad support. Over time, Tweetbot included great features like multiple account switching, inline viewing of images and YouTube videos, and (my personal favorite feature) muting users and topics in the timeline for a set amount of time — or even permanently.

Phil Nickinson's empty Twitter feed.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

I’ve been using Tweetbot ever since it came out in 2011, and I also purchased the Mac version when it launched as well. As time went on, I disliked the native Twitter website and app more and more due to the algorithms and ads, and Tweetbot gave me a chronological timeline with zero ads — a great Twitter experience, in my opinion. I also loved the design and interface, as the navigational swipe gestures just felt natural to me and the mute filters let me get rid of Tweets I didn’t care to see in my timeline (major sporting events, for example).

Even as Twitter got worse with algorithmic changes and more ads, I still enjoyed being there because of Tweetbot. Unfortunately, Twitter crippled its third-party developer API many years ago, so some of the newer features, like polls, would never be supported in third-party apps like Tweetbot. Those were the times when I would need to open up the Twitter app or go to the website, but once I did that, I would immediately go back.

Even so, Tweetbot continued to be the reason that I tolerated Twitter. For me, Tweetbot was Twitter.

Ivory is exactly what Mastodon needed

Ivory app profile display
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

As I tried to make myself use Mastodon over Twitter, I was wishing for a Tweetbot version of Mastodon. Since Tweetbot was how I interacted with and tolerated Twitter for years, and how I was trying to use Mastodon to replace Twitter, I just needed a Tweetbot for Mastodon. Lo and behold, my wish came true: the developers of Tapbots created a new app called Ivory, which is currently only on the iPhone and in alpha through Testflight.

I got in on the alpha, and it has been game-changing. Just as Tweetbot became my home for Twitter, Ivory has become my home for Mastodon. Ivory has the same design and interface as Tweetbot, so all of the interactions, gestures, and functionalities are like second nature for me. Swiping right to like, further right to reply, swiping left to view a conversation thread, and even the search and trends — it’s all just like how I used Twitter.

Timeline view in Ivory
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

But Ivory goes beyond what Tweetbot offered because Mastodon is part of the decentralized web (the “fediverse”) and not centralized like Twitter. Because of this, the developers of Ivory are not limited to silly API restrictions, thus allowing Ivory to do things like polls and view account statistics.

Ivory is still only in an alpha state, so it’s missing a lot of features. But the developers are active on Mastodon and are listening to user feedback, as well as polling users for what they should work on next. The most surprising part, though, is how polished Ivory feels already. Personally, it feels like the current version of Tweetbot that I had been using, and have paid money for. I can’t wait to see how Ivory will be when it finally hits the App Store after a beta stage, because I know I’ll buy it (or subscribe) the minute I can.

If you are on Mastodon and want one of the best iOS app experiences yet, I’d recommend keeping an eye out for open alpha slots for the Ivory Testflight. Make sure to follow the Tapbots Ivory account, as well as the developers themselves, Mark Jardine and Paul Haddad. These alpha slots go very fast (and for good reason!), so you really need to be on top of it to get in.

I’m finally ready to ditch Twitter

Ivory app profile in Ivory
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Ever since I got on the Ivory alpha on my iPhone 14 Pro, I’ve been enjoying Mastodon so much more. I think the reason I didn’t like Mastodon before was that I didn’t really care for the web interface or the apps that I tried, including the official Mastodon app. But since using Ivory, I’ve been checking Mastodon frequently throughout the day (it also helps that it has since become more active with users, so there are a lot of posts). Plus, I think joining a smaller server that’s tailored to your interests also helps (I found a Disney-themed server that lets me add cool Disney emoji to my name.)

In fact, I check Mastodon more than I do Twitter these days, and the only reason I occasionally pop on Twitter is to see what my friends who haven’t moved over have been up to. I’ve stopped going through my main timeline, and I don’t really post there anymore. My tolerance for Twitter will also only last a few minutes, after which I feel icky and hop right back on Ivory to see what I missed.

I never thought I could actually give up Twitter, but Ivory is helping me make that leap.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
Sorry, but allowing third-party iPhone app stores is a bad idea
Apple Arcade page on the Apple Store as seen on the iPhone 14 Pro

Apple has always been known to have tight control over both its hardware and software, such as the iPhone and the iOS that powers it. However, it seems that the European Union continues to get more and more involved in regulating Apple’s most popular device, the iPhone.

So far, the EU has set a deadline for Apple to replace the Lightning port with USB-C by 2024, and more recently, it raised the possibility of opening up iOS to allow for sideloading and alternative app stores from third parties. Though this may seem like a good thing at first, I’m not so sure that’s entirely true. At the very least, it will cause some complications.
The App Store is a secure and trusted place

Read more
Apple may do the unthinkable — allow third-party iPhone app stores
App Store displayed on an iPhone 14 Pro against a pink background

Ever since 2008, Apple has only allowed its own App Store on the iPhone. In the past, if you wanted alternative digital storefronts, you’d have to jailbreak your device. But in response to impending regulations from the European Union, Apple may be allowing alternative app stores on the iPhone and iPad in the near future — potentially as soon as iOS 17 in 2023.

According to a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this will be the very first time that Apple will allow third-party app stores on the iPhone. It seems that Apple is already dedicating a “significant amount of resources to the companywide endeavor.”

Read more
Sunbird looks like the iMessage for Android app you’ve been waiting for
Sunbird Android app screenshots.

The idea of iMessage for Android sounds like a pipe dream, and for the most part, it is. Apps like AirMessage and Bleeper do make it possible to get iMessage on your Android phone today, but they often require complicated networking and Wi-Fi port forwarding, plus a Mac or iPhone to run in the background 24/7.

These apps technically work, but they're not things the average user can comfortably and confidently rely on. A new app — called Sunbird — now promises to change that.
iMessage on Android, now simplified

Read more