Twitter is today widely rolling out an update to its iOS app that allows users to switch between the default algorithm-based timeline view and the more popular chronological timeline. Previously, the option was buried in settings, and automatically reverted to the algorithm timeline over time. While this isn’t available yet on its Android app, Twitter has confirmed the feature is on the way.
Twitter started offering the toggle in settings to turn off “Show the best Tweets first” back in September, but this wasn’t exactly what users had in mind. For the many users who want a true chronological timeline, this toggle option has been frustrating as it’s buried in settings, and also automatically reverts back to being turned on after certain amounts of time.
As reported by BuzzFeed, after running a trial of the feature in October, Twitter is now widely rolling out a new “Sparkle” icon on the home screen. It lets users quickly switch between the algorithm-based timeline and a chronological timeline. Twitter is planning on removing the toggle in settings that accomplished the same thing.
This button isn’t a permanent switch, but BuzzFeed says that the more you use it, the longer the Twitter iOS app will keep your timeline in chronological order. So this may be about as close of a true chronological timeline for Twitter’s first-party app as we will see.
The new timeline feature is personalized. As you tap to switch between the two modes, Twitter will learn your preferences. For example, if you switch to latest tweets more often, Twitter will keep you in the chronological view for longer. But, at least at first, Twitter may occasionally revert your timeline back to algorithmic view.
Confirming all the criticism Twitter received over the algorithm timeline, the platform found that users “enjoyed Twitter more” with the sparkle shortcut to switch to a chronological timeline.
The company’s lead of consumer product, Keith Coleman, said that during the test, people who used the icon to switch “enjoyed Twitter more” and participated in more conversations.
Twitter says that it will be releasing the Sparkle button for its Android app “in the next few weeks.”