How to declutter your Twitter timeline

I recent­ly changed my Twit­ter iPhone app from Tweet­bot 3 to the default Twit­ter iOS app.

Twit­ter for iOS app is large­ly good. But I noticed that my Twit­ter time­line both in the brows­er and iPhone app got noisy than they should be for the fifty peo­ple I fol­low. This is mak­ing me spend (not waste) more time than I would like to spend on Twit­ter. The clut­ter also means the actu­al tweets from the peo­ple I fol­low, the tweets I would love to see, are buried in the noise. This made me feel like I am miss­ing impor­tant tweets.

I only ever want­ed to see the tweets from the peo­ple I very care­ful­ly and delib­er­ate­ly choose to fol­low, in the order they are tweet­ed. Noth­ing more.

On a deep­er look, I noticed that Twit­ter is not just show­ing me the tweets from the peo­ple I fol­low, but also the tweets liked (marked ♥️) by the peo­ple I fol­low as well as the con­ver­sa­tions the peo­ple I fol­low are hav­ing with oth­er peo­ple I don’t fol­low.

This has been a great rev­e­la­tion for me! This is my first-hand expe­ri­ence of Twit­ter’s aggres­sive­ness and set­ting the defaults that work bet­ter for Twit­ter but clev­er­ly wrapped as what I like­ly care about most.

For many weeks I thought there is no way around it and felt like I have to live with it. But hav­ing had enough, this week I decid­ed to check if there is a way to declut­ter my time­line. I poked around the set­tings on my Twit­ter account and found this gem (in the red box) at

Turn off best / top Tweets in Twit­ter web app.

Click­ing the blue Learn more link took me to What’s in your Home time­line page on which I found this:

You can choose between view­ing the top Tweets first or the lat­est Tweets first in your time­line (Twit­ter for iOS and Android only). Top Tweets are ones you are like­ly to care about most, and we choose them based on accounts you inter­act with most, Tweets you engage with, and much more. You can find instruc­tions on how to tog­gle between the two time­line views below.

So instead of show­ing me what I want to see (lat­est Tweets), Twit­ter is show­ing what it wants me to see (top Tweets)!

At the end of the same help page, I also found the instruc­tions to turn off Top Tweets in the iOS and Android apps.

Turn off best / top Tweets in Twit­ter mobile apps.

So chang­ing the Twit­ter’s default set­tings by turn­ing off Show the best Tweets first in the brows­er and tog­gling to lat­est Tweets in the iOS app made my twit­ter time­line much clean­er and calmer in both the places I check my tweets.

Bar­ring these lit­tle annoy­ances, Twit­ter is the only social net­work I use and find real­ly help­ful by being delib­er­ate about who I choose to fol­low, and over­ride some of its default set­tings I men­tioned in this post.

3 responses to “How to declutter your Twitter timeline”

  1. […] I wrote about how I reduced the noise on my Twit­ter time­line by chang­ing the default time­line pref­er­ence from top tweets to the lat­est […]

  2. There’s a prob­lem with switch­ing off the Top Tweets star icon: it only stays that way for a lim­it­ed time. Twit­ter will switch it off. I’m not cer­tain how long it takes, when I last test­ed it was more than 24 hours but less than 48. The pre­vi­ous time was longer. It seems designed to keep you guess­ing.

    1. True, Twit­ter is def­i­nite­ly over­rid­ing user pref­er­ences at some ran­dom fre­quen­cy. Unfor­tu­nate­ly we can’t do much about oth­er than leav­ing Twit­ter alto­geth­er.

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