I’m a simple man—all I want from Twitter is to see recent posts from the people I follow in reverse chronological order so I can scroll until I stop seeing new tweets. And after that, I just want to close the app.
Unfortunately, it seems like that’s too much to ask. Twitter keeps adding more and more stuff, both to the timeline itself and to the sidebar. The result is a platform that used to be simple, turned into a bloated mess.
So I decided to find a way to bring the old Twitter back.
Turn off the algorithmic timeline
In your quest to bring old Twitter back, the first and most important thing you need to do is turn off the algorithm.
In days of yore, Twitter would show you all of the most recent tweets from the people you follow in the order they posted them. This changed a few years ago, and now the default is to show you an algorithmically curated Home screen. Engagement, or how many times people have seen, liked, or interacted with a tweet in any way, is what determines what you see. Most of the time, these tweets are the ones that upset the most people at any given time, resulting in your timeline feeling angrier than it needs to be.
Happily, there’s a simple fix. Click or tap the sparkle icon at the top of your timeline—On the emerging pop-up, click or tap See latest Tweets instead.
Congratulations—you’ve turned off the algorithmic timeline. This setting should stay this way, but note that you might need to change it again on your other devices.
Remove the sidebars entirely
Twitter’s right-hand sidebar includes the platform’s infamous trending topics. These typically include politicians or celebrities saying terrible things (click to see people giving them attention), the name of an older famous person (click on it to see people asking if the person died), and some random hashtag (click on it to see the chaotic side of the internet at its finest).
But if you don’t want to see any of this, you can install Simplified Twitter. This browser extension works on Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox, and it strips the sidebars out of Twitter, turning this…
Now, your focus is entirely where it needs to be—Kirby eating a cat. Enjoy.
Use an alternative Twitter client
Twitter’s default experience is constantly changing, sometimes in the most annoying ways possible. But this isn’t true of third-party clients, the best of which give you access to a cleaner version of Twitter.
TweetDeck isn’t a third-party client, as it’s owned by Twitter, but it focuses more on actual tweets than Twitter does. Download it to add columns for lists or searches, and generally just enjoy a better version of Twitter.
Tweeten is an app for Windows, macOS, and Chrome that gives you a cleaner user interface than TweetDeck, and more advanced features, like the ability to download videos or customize notifications.
Tweetz is a lightweight client for Windows that shows you your tweets and stays out of the way. That’s it—that’s the tweet.
Tweetbot is the best blend of elegance and power I’ve found for Mac and iOS. You can browse your timeline, mentions, lists, and messages in a single-column interface. I especially love the keyboard shortcuts on the macOS version, which I constantly use to share tweets with friends.
Fenix 2 is a widely respected alternative to the official Android Twitter app with a very clean user interface. It also adds support for viewing YouTube and Instagram posts in your timeline, something the official Twitter client doesn’t offer.
Keep in mind these recommendations are not the only ones you’ll find in the market—a quick search and you’ll see there’s a lot more for you to explore. Also, none of these third-party clients is necessarily better than the other. Try one and see what you like. All of these apps will make it a lot easier to focus on what matters—scrolling through tweets while ignoring all of the stuff that makes Twitter so needlessly noisy.