Mastodon Mac Clients
I've been using Mastodon a lot lately. I'm enjoying the influx of users coming from Twitter, and having fun running my own single-user instance. I was active on Mastodon back in 2018, but things were quieter and weirder then, and I kind of just stopped using it. Now there's almost two million active users. Everything old feels new again.
Tapbots, the small company behind Tweetbot, my favorite iOS/macOS client for Twitter, has begun development of a native app for Mastodon called Ivory. I'm in the TestFlight beta for the iPhone app, and it's fantastic. It's the primary way I consume my Mastodon feeds. Unfortunately though, the Mac client isn't available yet. So I went searching for other native Mac apps for Mastodon. Here's what I found so far. Let me know if I've missed any.
Although Mastonaut hasn't been updated for a year, it's probably my favorite of the bunch. It's pretty minimal feature-wise. It really only lets you view feeds and compose toots, that's about it.
It does at least support multiple columns, similar to the advanced view in Mastodon's stock web interface. However, the app loses the configuration of the columns when you close it! So every time you open it, it's defaulted back to a single column. You have to re-add and configure the columns each time. That's a show-stopper for me.
Sengi is an open source app with a VERY opinionated take. Some of its standout features include support for multiple accounts and a unique featured called labels. The multi-account features are well thought-out. You can even have timelines from different accounts in the same view.
Labels are a feature unique to Sengi. Here's how they are described on their site: "Get a quick insight if a status is part of a thread, has replies, is from a bot, is old, is cross-posted, or is remotely fetched." Here's what they look like:
I'm not sure about the feature. It seems to clutter the UI quite a bit. It wasn't really for me. One other thing I don't like — Sengi is only available in dark mode. I have a feeling others may really like this app though.
Whalebird is an open source project that describes itself as a "Mastodon, Pleroma, and Misskey client for desktop application" with a "UI like Slack". I'm not sure about that last part. Whalebird feels pretty rough and unpolished to me, and unlike a native Mac app. I tried playing around with the themes and fonts, but in the end, just didn't care for the UI.
I didn't bother to try Mast, which hasn't been updated in two years, or Hyperspace, which hasn't been touched in four years.
Ivory (Can't Come Soon Enough)
Today Tapbots' Mac developer shared this teaser image of the macOS app:
I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on it. It's likely the macOS app will sync your position in the timeline with the iPhone app, leading to a seamless transition between the two. There are a lot of other features in Ivory for iOS that are really nice, so we have a lot to look forward to.