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Twitter plans on breaking all third-party apps/clients this June [Update]

Updated 4:57 PM ET — Since this news broke, Twitter's developer account took to the social network with the following message: "Last year we announced our plan to retire Site Streams & User Streams, and replace them with the Account Activity API (currently in beta). We are delaying the scheduled June 19th deprecation date." In other words, third-party clients and apps are safe for the time being. It's unclear at the moment when the Account Activity API will go live, but Twitter does note it'll give 90-days notice before streaming services are officially shut off.

For years, third-party Twitter clients have offered alternative ways to access the popular social network for users that weren't fans of Twitter's official apps. These clients have been hugely popular, particularly in the Android space, but Twitter's going to essentially break each and every one after June 19, 2018.

After that date, Twitter will be eliminating its "streaming services." When this happens, push notifications will no longer work and timelines won't automatically refresh.

Streaming services are being replaced by the new Account Activity API, and while this could be used as a way to keep notifications working as is, the possibility of this happening is looking rather weak. Twitter still hasn't given third-party developers access to the API, and while the free version of it allows for push notifications to work for 35 accounts, pricing details for the Enterprise model that supports an unlimited number of users have yet to be announced.

Also, while the Account Activity API could keep push notifications working, there's currently no way for third-party developers to keep automatic timeline refreshes in place.

Twitter's never been open to developers creating third-party clients that are often better than its own apps, and for years its tried to combat this with a token system (a system that recently killed one of the best Android Twitter apps ever made).

The folks behind Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, and Twitterrific have banded together to raise awareness of this situation, and it's suggesting that users do any of these four things to try and protest the changes:

  1. Ask @TwitterDev to correct this situation
  2. Share your feelings using #BreakingMyTwitter
  3. Talk about it on your podcast or blog
  4. Spread the word with links to this website.

As a long-time fan of apps like Flamingo, Fenix, and Talon, this news is aggravating, to say the least. Twitter's Android app has gotten considerably better over the years, but there are still a lot of things that other apps do much better. By removing push notifications and automatic timeline refreshes, these apps will be impossible to use as a default client for a lot of users.

What's your take on all this?

Best Twitter Apps for Android

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

31 Comments
  • Sucks.
  • If they don't want us using third party apps, maybe they should make their base app up to the quality as the third party apps.
  • I use Uber social because it's the easiest way to cross post to Facebook when I want to. Unfortunately, it's widget after a recent update started killing my battery so I'm not as in love with it as I once was.
  • While I think this matters a great deal for the audience of Android Central, I think we often overestimate how much this will matter to the average person. a lot of people don't even know there are apps *other* than the official client.
  • Great point. It does suck though, especially if you paid money for a third-party one or ones even.
  • Actually you would be wrong about that. Many popular radio hosts (Jim Rome) use third party apps to monitor their twitter streams. If and when this does get applied, you will hear a great uproar from the people who use this function, but are not aware of the coming changes.
  • Does this mean we are going to start seeing Twitter wrappers appear in The Google Play store like we see Facebook wrappers?
  • I've use Falcon Pro and Fenix. I prefer the Twitter app.
  • Does anyone remember when Twitter didn't have an official app?
  • I do.
  • This would be barely acceptable if the official Twitter app was decent. Unfortunately, it's horrific.
  • What in your opinion is bad about the official Twitter app?
  • The "in case you missed it..." and seeing what people you follow liked mixed in with actual tweets. The ads might be a thing too but those 1st two things can be annoying.
  • All valid, especially the second. If only there was a way for people you follow to share something if they think their followers should see it, it wouldn't be necessary to show their likes randomly. They could call it a "retweet". Twitter, you can have this idea for free!
  • Adds
    Lack of customization - font size etc.
    Other third party apps are more polished, refined...
  • I have always hated the official Twitter app. Way back on iPhone I loved Twittelator and Tweetbot. Took me a while to find my fave on Droid, but I prefer Fenix with Talon 2nd. I prefer a black theme, push notifications I choose (mentions, likes, RT's, new followers), compact layout, option to display @ name only. No ads, no "in case you missed it", no in line notice of what my followers liked, no suggested users. I gladly pay for these things. Twitter just won't make their app better and won't accept the fact so many others have beat them at their own game. This is bad news.
  • Twitter is in danger of losing people like me, who use it lightly. It's alright, but it doesn't perform super well. Feels clunky in a number of ways.
  • I'm not a big user of Twitter but it always sticks when the man strangles the little man efforts. Especially when it's better than their own
  • Peace out Twitter. I'm gone when Falcon Pro stops working.
  • Sucks for people who have used 3rd party apps but smart move for their business. All other competitors have done the same. YouTube and Facebook used to have many as well and they have been shut down the same previously.
  • I'm going to hold onto the hope, that just like EVERYTHING else someone will find a work around to this, also. It's the way of the world. It'll happen. 😂
  • Several things: 1) The 1st party app has gotten better at a lot of things. What it sucks the most at nowadays is A) chronological timeline B) Lists aren't 1st class citizens C) You can easily lose your place in your timeline if you go somewhere else in the app
    2) 3rd party apps have been significantly less than useful over the past couple years anyway. Only the official Twitter app can intercept Twitter links on Android, for example. I've never gotten activity notifications to work on a 3rd party app the way they do on the 1st party app since Fenix Classic died. Don't even get me started on 3rd party DM functionality. Of course, much of this is Twitter's own doing
    3) As much as I hate that Twitter's doing this, they might not have a choice. With most users probably coming from mobile devices, if the majority of those use 3rd party apps, Twitter's ad revenue goes through the floor. What they COULD do as an alternative is charge devs for access. Devs would then charge users, which would be a secondary revenue stream. However, it appears ads (read: user data) is more important to Twitter than subscription fees. In light of the Cambridge Analytica debacle, that last part is quite thought provoking.
    4) Just about every such social network is quietly shutting off 3rd party access. G+ has never had a useful 3rd party client because Google never made the API public. FB killed 3rd party API access a while back, limiting 3rd party apps to renders of the mobile website only. IIRC Snapchat actually bans users for using 3rd party apps. Instagram 3rd party apps have never really worked. And Reddit has quietly reserved push notifications and chat for its 1st party client only. Basically, every social network is ensuring their app is the only gateway so they can grab your data and feed you ads while selling your info.
  • This is unnecessary. First used Fenix from its inception & ultimately switched to Flamingo and it's been my go to since. Twitter is doing too much!!!
  • Lame. #BoycottTwitter
  • I use Metal Pro which is, to my understanding, just a wrapper for the web interface. Has served me well for years.
  • The official twitter app needed too many permissions and was missing functions including having a busted layout/menu system, and twitter themselves made it clear years ago that they would keep killing off superior 3rd party apps one way or another, so I never found it feasible to use twitter through my phone.
  • Just one solution to that: Stop using Twitter.
    Set up a free blog at blogger.com and make it a microblog. Setup ifttt to send your "bleeps" (blogging tweets) out to everywhere you like.
    Best: Be free to monetize it all you want, and it takes much, muuuuch longer for Google censoring one of their blogs than Twitter does, if you tweet one wrong sentence. So you have a place to act initially censor-free, post all kind of stuff, having no character-limit, you have your own comment section where YOU moderate.
    Why of why does Twitter even exists?
  • I stopped using Twitter long ago due to this issue. Why use third parties to build your audience, but then cut them off at the knees when they do exactly that? Not the kind of company I want to support.
  • My take on all of this is simply stop using Twitter as it's not important.
  • I am not sure why anyone bothers to make third-party clients given the way Twitter has treated them for years. I used to use a couple really good apps, but since they went away my Twitter use has been very sporadic. If Twitter just ended, I'm not sure anyone would truly care anymore two weeks later.
  • Meh, it's only Twatter. No loss, really.