A fresh UI, new features and a way to manage all your​ forum accounts in the new Tapatalk 4 beta

Tapatalk should be a familiar name to anyone who spends time browsing forums on their Android phone. It’s designed to rework the often tedious process of navigating pages, forums and threads on a small screen, providing a cleaner, phone-friendly layout and some unique features to boot.

Today the Tapatalk team has released the first beta build of an all-new version of their app, Tapatalk 4. We’ve had the chance to preview the new Tapatalk for several days, and get to grips with all the new features. So let's take a look at what’s new in Tapatalk 4 beta. We've got video and more after the break.

A new, cleaner ‘Holo’ layout

The new version of Tapatalk is designed around the Android 4.0 API level. That means you’ll need a phone running Ice Cream Sandwich or later to use it, but building atop newer Android APIs allows for more advanced features, including the completely re-tooled layout. Tapatalk 4 follows Android’s “Holo” design guidelines -- a “Holo light” style is used by default, but a dark option is also available. (This can also help you save battery power on devices with AMOLED screens.)

Tapatalk 4 looks, feels and behaves like a proper, native Android app. There’s an action bar up top, a slide-out menu bar of the sort used by many Google apps, and individual forum posts are arranged in a card layout not unlike those found in Google Now. It’s also a speedy performer and easy to navigate, which helps.

The move up to a higher Android API level also allows Tapatalk to utilize push notifications, as opposed to more battery-intensive pull notifications.

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Single sign-in with Tapatalk ID

As of Tapatalk 4, you can use a single login to manage all your various forum accounts. (Forum owners will have to update to the latest version of the plugin to enable this.) Sign in with a Tapatalk ID and your app will be populated with a list of associated accounts, even if it’s the first time you’ve signed in on that device. This makes life a good deal easier if you have multiple devices -- or if you’re a power user constantly switching between ROMs on your phone.

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New posting and viewing experience

TapatalkAs we’ve already mentioned, posts and threads are arranged into a card-like layout, and once you’re into a thread you can easily change pages by swiping left and right. It’s also possible to backtrack using the dropdown list in the action bar up top and head back to the parent forum.

When it comes to posting messages, you can add a quick reply down below, or press the plus icon to add more detail, including smilies, URLs and images -- and the Tapatalk team has evidently been busy with new image features in this release.

When you post attach a photo, you can apply a wide range of Instagram-like effects, add text, rotate, crop, and tweak things like contrast, saturation, sharpness through an Aviary-powered photo editor. You can even draw on top of your photos if you like.

All in all, it’s a worthy upgrade to the leading forum app for Android, with plenty of new features to get stuck into and a clean new UI that’ll please Android purists. The Tapatalk 4 public beta is available now on Google Play -- hit the Play Store link at the top of this post to grab the app. Share your thoughts down in the comments -- or better still on the Android Central forums through the app itself.


Reader comments

Tapatalk 4 beta released, we go hands-on!


It's a stand alone beta app, not an update. According to the description on Google Play it will be merged into tapatalk HD.

Awesome app but says it come to the tapatalk hd so that mean I'll have to buy again if I use tapatalk 2 on my phone

This asshat is going to make all tapatalk users pay again for this as its going to be part of tapatalk HD. Tapatalk was already overpriced as is and now we have to pay twice.

I know 3 bucks must be a lot of money for you, so all you have is a hope that Tapa 2 will still work when the new version goes live. Poor you.

I do not think it is about 3 bucks or 2 or 1. I for one have purchased tapatalk 2 and then the next day after, tapatalk 4 beta was out, that is one slap in the face. I first thought, "ok if this released right after I bought tapatalk 2, I should be upgraded to this newer one after testing...." Yea right.... The different tapatalks did not even describe the product properly to differentiate between tapa 2 and tapa hd .... Which one is newer? I thought tapa 2 was the newer, apparently not?

As like with what was HD version we paid to upgrade. The way I read it is tapatalk2 will still be available for those who don't want the better design or on older less high end phones and don't feel the need to pay for a upgraded version.

Totally agree I bought a Note 2 when the note 3 comes out Samsung better upgrade me for free.

FYI been out a while close to a month. If you bought the HD you are considered a VIP and can DL beta. I've been waiting for ac to post a review. Glad to see the review.

As much as I dislike the idea that they'll want v2 users to pay to upgrade (is this confirmed? regardless that's what the description indicates) the reality is that I use tapatalk so much I'll probably end up paying. Still that leaves a bad taste in the mouth, I hope they do a good job justifying it.

(As a sidenote, I can't think of any app I've used in the past that has done this. Even my old Blackberry podcast player let me switch the licence to Android when I switched phones.)

Any bets on how long it'll take for XDA to update their app? My bet - 6 months. They're terrible with the app for a dev Mecca of a forum!

Dear Android Central authors,

As a Verizon customer still dumbfounded by their CTIA, erm, "announcement," I request that you no longer use the HTC One in any of your article headers. It makes people like me, who cannot get such a lovely device, very sad

If anyone at Verizon is reading this, I don't care if you name it the HTC DROID Uno porque es en fuego (you know, to go with the Viva Movil thing) as long as you please please please bring this device to your Big Red faithful

That is all :P

Simple solution, leave Verizon and go GSM and you'll never be in the position of missing out on great devices ever again GSM>CDMA

I did and now I am saving over $50 a month and have no contract. I think it was a great decision.

I'm confused, the HD version is the tablet version, right? So if its going to be an update to that version, will it come to phones? Forgive me for the noobish question.

I like it but I wouldn't use it for android central because I don't use the forums here, (my device is pretty much dead here).

But the ac app is awesome for the blog.

They have finally gotten Holo design. Hopefully they will now learn to use fragments so that it works properly on tablets without a stupid separate "hd" version.

I find it ridiculous to be expected to pay multiple times for the same application because the devs can't be bothered to learn to properly support different screen sizes. Android isn't iOS, you don't need separate versions of your app for tablets (especially one with lists of text like this one (master-detail))... And if you find that for your particular app, two separate versions is really the best option, well don't charge your users twice.

I've never used this app but it's always bugged me with the stupid popups on a lot of forums when browsing from a phone telling you to download it. Really god damn annoying. Just put a header on the page or something that isn't so damn obtrusive.

A lot of people are missing the point here on why it costs for the newer version. In order to provide some of the core functionalities, they had to make this using the higher API, which isn't gonna work with the earlier versions of Android so they're leaving the "Legacy" version available (Tapatalk 2) for older phones instead of just telling all of them that they have to buy new phones if they want to keep using it (a $3 app is a lot cheaper than a $50-$300 phone). I feel it's a little similar to the Playstation 4 and XBox One change to x86 processors and how the previous games won't work because of the difference in the core that they run off of. Tapatalk HD was the beginning of this transition and even though that app is currently only working with Tablets, Tapatalk 4 will work on phones as well and looks just as great on the phone as it does the tablet. Keep in mind that this is a paid app in general and will remain so -- they aren't going to make this app free just because you bought Tapatalk 2... I'd chalk it up to supporting the developers for a continued, evolving product. Hell, they might even make it 99 cents for a bit like they did the HD version when it was first released. At that point you'll have the option of staying with the version you already purchased (which will still function) or you can use the newer version.

All of that may be true, but it still leaves a very bad taste in my mouth that they're apparently going to screw over Tapatalk 2 users just because that's the version we bought, and, mind you, we didn't have a choice, since, as you mentioned, the HD version won't work on phones.

And I just looked at the Play Store listing for Tapatalk 2. Do they mention to potential buyers that this version of the app is at a development dead-end? Nope. Do they even mention that Tapatalk 4 is coming? No. I wonder how the folks why buy the current version are going to feel when they find out that they've been abandoned, especially when the developer knew what was about to happen and didn't let them know on the app's page.

But I'll withhold judgement right now. Let's see if the devs do the right thing.

Interesting that this app takes advantage of the newer, Android-only features. I suppose there is no chance of seeing a similar version for IOS then?

That said, I agree that Tapatalk is pretty good at milking their customers. I bought tapatalk for my iphone, only for tapatalk 2 to be released a few months later. I then discovered there were 2 versions (tapatalk 2 and HD), and annoyingly enough, the ipad version doesn't get the push notification features present in tapatalk 2.

It's still not that expensive for an app I use extensively on a daily basis, though.

Tapatalk 2.4.13 has been free on the Amazon App Store for nearly a week now and the posting say, "Now a free app".

I've posted numerous bug reports and suggestions for Tapatalk HD and sadly have never received a single acknowledgement from the developers on their site. In the past they would occasionally respond but the past few months have been silent. I purchased HD when it went on sale for $0.99 so I'm covered w/Tapatalk 4 but until I upgrade my phone (soon) I'm still stuck on GB 2.3.X and therefore cannot use it.

I hope the integration of the Tapatalk 4 phone features into HD goes smoothly. I've yet to beta v4 but right now it seems like HD is just sitting out there in left field being unsupported. bla

The way I read the description is that Tapatalk HD will *become* Tapatalk 4 when the beta is done.

I'm not sure why people are feeling entitled to free upgrades from apps that are releasing major revisions. Users who bought Tapatalk 2 knew they were buying an app with an outdated UI. They've invested significant resources into upgrading their app, so why not try to sell the new features/UI? This might be a newer concept in paid apps, but this might be where we're headed.

Ultimately, an app like this has a limited opportunity to generate more revenue simply by gaining more users. Since it's been around awhile, the users that are going to buy the app are already using it. What incentive do app developers have in making major changes to their app without additional revenue from it? A complete UI overhaul isn't going to change too many minds of people who haven't bought the app to now buy the app, but it may result in current users wanting the newest upgrades. Android app developers already have a problem in capitalizing off of downloads, and I think it's probably smart for developers to start versioning their apps and selling major revisions.

Was there a notation on the play store that I was buying an outdated UI? I finally caved and bought tapatalk not two weeks ago.
I followed the link from a forum I use. HOw the heck was I to know that I was buying a dead end?

Where in the beta are the moderation features present for forum owners in Tapatalk 2? Am I missing something?

Question: What's the different between "Tapatalk: Community Reader" and Tapatalk 4"? Which is better? I'm seeing two versions on Google Play...

When it comes to posting on forums I'd personally suggest using BuzzBundle. I've been using it myself and I love the intuitively clear UI and the many features it offers