Twitter has finally returned to the Mac with an official desktop app. Based on Project Catalyst, Twitter’s new Mac app takes advantage of the new APIs that macOS Catalina 10.15 offers. It is built using the same code base that the iPad app has, with specific modifications that make it work like a native Mac app. Here is our in-depth look at how the new app holds up.
Twitter used to have a native Mac app that worked really well. However, with time, Twitter started focusing on its mobile apps, which had a newer codebase, not supported by the Mac app. As Twitter kept adding new features to their platform, the Mac app kept becoming horribly outdated, until the company discontinued it.
This is what Twitter said about this new app, back in June.
The new Twitter for Mac app will use our existing iOS codebase, rather than being built from a separate codebase, following the same successful strategy we've used with Web to expand our supported clients. By supporting key Mac-specific behaviors on top of our iOS code, we will be able to maintain feature parity across our iOS and Mac apps with relatively low long term maintenance costs.
This is the kind of issue that Project Catalyst aims to fix. Apple announced a new set of APIs and tools in the form of Catalyst, which would let developers re-use their iPad app's codebase and convert it into a Mac app with minimal amount of effort. Catalyst converts touch gestures to keyboard and mouse friendly input, enables support for drag and drop on desktop and adds support for window resizing.
All these features are now available in the new Twitter app for Mac.
Twitter app for Mac
If you use Twitter on iPhone or iPad, the app is instantly familiar. It has the same icons and typography and there is zero learning curve. Every feature that you use on Twitter works, some of which don't even work on third-party apps. The app might feel like a website in a desktop window app frame, but it works smoothly and without any hiccups.
The app supports macOS's light and dark themes and even switches automatically based on your Mac's global setting.
As the app supports dynamic content and windowing, you can make the app wide enough to see a view like this. This is one of the best uses of the app. Even the iPad app does not utilize the large screen so well.
These are all the features that the app supports for Mac:
- Resizable windows with dynamic content (Split View support)
- Multiple windows support
- Native notifications
- Drag & drop
- Keyboard support
- Share menu integration
If you go to the app's Settings, it has all the same options as its iPad sibling like privacy, security, notifications, etc.
There are still some missing features that long-time Mac users will notice. The app does not have a notification center widget nor is there Touch Bar support. Hopefully, the company will add these features in future updates. For now, it is great to be able to use Twitter on Mac, without using a browser.
Download Twitter from Mac App Store