Editors' note: This review was updated to cover the features added in version 5.9.
The official Twitter app for iOS is great at the basics, but it might leave power users wanting more. That said, its reliable performance and slick design make it a good option to at least consider. Recent updates have added more features such as two-factor authentication and photo galleries on profile pages, but the app is still not on par with other third-party options.
Each time you boot up the Twitter app on your iPhone, it opens to the Home screen and lands on the last tweet that you read. Tap the Home tab to quickly jump to the top, or tap on any individual tweet to pop it out to a new screen. On this new screen, you get options to Reply, Retweet, Favorite, or Share, and in some cases you can view thumbnails images or other rich content contained in the tweet. What I don't like about this system is that you have to press the Back button to return to your timeline from an expanded tweet. I would much prefer to see expanded tweets inline (like you can on the Web site), without having to pop out to a new screen each time. Also, it would've been nice to get collapsible previews of links inline as well.
The Connect tab charts your interactions with your Twitter friends, showing your mentions and letting you know when others retweet or begin following you. Next to that is Discover, which received significant feature tweaks in the latest update, and houses several items including relevant stories, an activity stream (what you're connections are doing on Twitter), trending hash tags, suggestions for who to follow, categories, and more, all in one stream. While you likely won't be spending the majority of your time in these tabs, they are convenient for the more-active Twitter users.
The Twitter app's search features also received some love in the latest version, starting with a new button (magnifying glass) in the upper right of the interface for quick searches. Searches are now more focused, showing more relevant results, with people, tweets, and photos that are more inline with your selected search terms. Your search history is now a little more useful, too, letting you view your last five searches, repeat the same searches to get more-recent results, or you can start fresh by clearing out your search history entirely.
The final tab shows your Twitter profile, which had been refreshed in the last update with Facebook-style "Headline Photos" as a backdrop to your primary avatar. But in the latest version, you can now view a gallery of previously tweeted images by hitting the "View more photos" button under the image carousel. This lets you swipe up and down to quickly navigate through all of a users previous images. And, of course, your profile is where you can see your Direct Messages, manage your lists and favorites, access saved searches, and more, just like before.