Flitter ($2.99) by Shihab Mehboob is a new app for getting your Twitter fix. If you're tired of just having Tweetbot or Twitterrific as third-party options for Twitter on iOS, then you're in luck with Flitter.
As we all probably know by now, Twitter originally came out in March 2006. That's over 12 years ago now. Personally, I signed up for Twitter in 2007, and it's been my go-to social network for years. I've made a few good friends from Twitter, and some I've even met in person (crazy, I know). For years, I've been using Tweetbot as my main Twitter client on both iOS and Mac, with Twitterrific being a close second choice each time an update comes out. In a time where it seems like new third-party Twitter apps are scarce due to the changes in the API, it's a surprise that Flitter was released at all. Still, as I'm always curious about new apps, I had to check it out for myself.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, Flitter is a simple and clean app that carries a minimalist design that should appeal to plenty. It carries an aesthetic that reminds me of most native Apple apps, and everything is laid out in a neat and organized manner. Despite the simplicity on the surface, Flitter also gives users plenty of options for customizing the app's appearance to their own liking, including some themes, accent hues, and even different app icons. Flitter is also fairly fast and easy to navigate.
To use Flitter, you'll need a Twitter account. Just log in with your credentials and then everything gets loaded up. Flitter has quick access to four main sections in the bottom toolbar: Home (Timeline), Mentions, Direct Messages, and Your Profile. Also at the bottom is a "+" button that lets you compose a new tweet.
Now, about that compose button. It's one of Flitter's best features, because you can move it to anywhere that's comfortable for you. To do this, just long press that button and then drag it anywhere you want. IT can float above the toolbar, or go in any of the four corners of your screen so that it's within easy reach of your thumb.
Composing a new tweet is your typical fare, where you have a text box to write a message up to 240 characters. One thing I do like about Flitter is the fact that there is a button on the toolbar that gives you fast access to the emoticons with unique characters. You know, things like the shrug "¯_(ツ)/¯" and the table flip "(╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻)". I love using these emotes quite often, but it's always a pain to type out. So Flitter having these is a nice addition.
Since many get their news from Twitter, viewing trending topics is a must. With Flitter, trending topics is easily viewed by tapping on the icon in the upper left corner. It defaults to worldwide trends, but you can fine-tune it to a specific region that interests you. Flitter's search button is in the upper right corner, and you can do quick searches in your timeline, comb through global tweets, or find specific users.
Going back to your timeline, tweets are organized in chronological order, with newest at the top. If you tap on a tweet, you can view it in more detail, including full threaded conversations. I especially like Flitter's way of handling this because when a tweet is part of a thread, the tweet you viewed gets pushed down to reveal the beginning of the thread at the top, and you read it from top-to-bottom.
Other details Flitter handles well in the tweet detail screen are the number of likes and retweets that a tweet has. It even adds a nice little bit of commentary, such as "triple digits!" or "it's about to enter double digits!" for the number of likes and retweets. It's fun and cute, though it could also be considered distracting for some.
To reply, just tap on the speech bubble icon. To like something, just tap on the heart. Retweet is done with the "recycle" icon, and you can do a normal retweet or quote. There are also other options for sharing, or viewing the original user's profile, adding a bookmark to the user, and more.
Flitter's profile view is also pretty nice. You get a nice big area for the header image, avatar, and bio details. Above the username will be the number of tweets they've made. It's not a big deal, but the emphasis is kind of fun if you care about numbers. Underneath the following and follower counts is a scrollable ribbon of recent media posted by the user, and underneath all of that are recent tweets.
You also access the app's settings from your profile view as well. Just tap on the gear icon. From here, you can change the app icon, tweak general settings (time display, how to show links, etc.), appearance and display (themes, font size, image size, etc.), sounds and haptics, Touch ID and Passcode, and Accounts. Flitter is pretty generous with giving users the ability to customize their Twitter experience, which is nice.
Flitter is a new Twitter app that has a lot of potential, but not quite there yet.
Flitter is a pretty nice app in terms of visuals and functionality. I love the ability to change the aesthetics to fit my needs, and the way it shows threaded conversations is much better than that in Tweetbot (I have to scroll up to read previous replies).
Unfortunately, I have more issues with Flitter that prevent me from using it full time. For one, I noticed that the app has a lot of lag and freezing when you return to it after the device is locked and Flitter was still running. This is especially true if you have it set to automatically change between a dark and light theme. I'm also not a big fan of not being able to use swipe gestures on tweets in the timeline to do quick actions like like or reply. I'm used to this in Tweetbot, and I feel it's much faster than going into a tweet detail screen to do.
And since I use Tweetbot on both my Mac and iOS, I use iCloud for tweet syncing. Flitter doesn't have any kind of timeline syncing (i.e. Tweet Marker), and it always seems to scroll up to the newest tweet when I come back. This is annoying and results in wasted time as I try to find where I last left off.
I've also encountered a lot of crashes during my testing of the app, which prevents me from using it out of frustration.
I've long considered myself a Twitter power user, and while Flitter looks nice, I can't commit to using it right now. At least not in its current state. It's still too buggy, inconsistent, and not as reliable as Tweetbot or Twitterrific. There are other nice features, such as the emoticons and the way the threads are displayed, but there's more cons than pros.