Okay, so Mastodon has been around long enough for a number of interesting apps to have emerged. There are so many, in fact, that choosing which one to use takes a bit of time and effort. To help me decide which app is best for me, I made a list of features that are important to me, and compared my options against that list. This is a rudimentary approach and does not capture all the features and nuances of every app out there, so this post is a reflection on my own experience only.
There are a few other caveats, too:
- I am sharing my own personal views, and with anything like this, personal taste may sway you in a different direction to me.
- I do not own an Android device, so the apps included here are based on what are available for iPhone.
- The apps below are current versions of what is available right now: newer versions of existing apps and completely new apps will no doubt come along in time.
- I am running a public beta version of iOS (10.3.3) and so some of the apps below crashed during testing. I have chosen to ignore when an app crashed, given that it was probably down to my iOS version.
Okay, now that that’s out of the way, here’s what I think:
For starters, I am going to cut a legitimate (in my view) corner with this review……I am eliminating apps that include adverts and/or are not free. I know this puts a limitation on what I can write, but I see this as a justifiable approach: I have a fundamental problem with apps that include adverts, and moving away from that model is one of the things that makes Mastodon attractive in the first place. I accept that developers have costs to cover, and in time I would be open to paying for a Mastodon app. I have done so in the past for really good quality Twitter clients, so I am not adverse to it. However, I see Mastodon as being so new (and therefore the apps have some room for improvement) that at this early stage developers should be more interested in trying things out and fine-tuning to make a great product instead of trying to make a quick buck of the back of the audience Mastodon is gathering. Sure, when the apps are great, no harm in charging a small fee for the app, but right now? No, I don’t think that’s appropriate.
Right, the currently available free apps that are in the iTunes store (Ireland version) are (in alphabetical order):
Ore2(has adverts) Oyakodon(has adverts)
Toot!don(has adverts) Tooter(version 1.1.0 does not seem to function, possibly a beta iOS issue)
There are certain features that are “must-haves” for me. Different users will have different wants, and may have different views on what they see as essential (I have marked mine with a * in the chart). Having spent the past two months switching around between apps (primarily Amaroq and Mustor), and the past few days re-visiting the others, I can summarise my findings as shown in the table below:
There is no grand conclusion here, other than to say there is no single app that has all the features that I would like to have. I do not intend to criticise any app or developer, the views in this posts are just my own opinion.
So what app am I using, then?
Well, I’m actually using 2 different ones. I use Mustor and Powoo. Neither one ticks all the boxes, but a combination of the two is the best option for me right now. I can delete notifications and copy/paste text within Powoo, two things that if Mustor could do, I’d probably just use Mustor. I’d like a light theme too, but that’s nice, rather than essential, to have.
Over time I am sure that the apps will mature and this chart may become out of date as soon as I publish it. So, I see this as a starting point and I will revise as things develop.
What would you add to the wishlist of features? Have I missed an app that should have been included? Have I misrepresented what a listed app can/cannot do?
As I said, this is just a starting point, so please feel free to get in touch with your thoughts/suggestions.