Nighthawk for Twitter review: Barebones mobile app for less noisy social media

nighthawk for twitter timeline Team Nighthawk

Nighthawk’s so-called “Smart Feed” offers a cleaner view of your Twitter timeline in chronological order without ads or sponsored posts.

Those who favor Twitter over rival social networks probably already have Tweetbot or Twitterrific installed on your iOS devices. Power users prefer such third-party alternatives to the official app, but everyone deserves an environment where branded content isn’t given preferential treatment over tweets from people you actually follow.

Billed as a “personal companion” to the corporate app, Nighthawk offers a stripped-down version of Twitter without the clutter. Sign in and get nothing but the good stuff: tweets displayed in chronological order, dark mode, rich link previews, and most importantly, no ads or other intrusions.

This experience can be further enhanced with Smart Filters, which allow users to hide selected topics like US politics, Star Wars spoilers, support responses, and retweeted content. It’s a novel idea that works surprisingly well, but there are only six filters available, with no option to customize or create others from scratch.

nighthawk for twitter smart filters Team Nighthawk

Smart Filters are a great way to hide certain topics from showing up in your timeline, but there aren’t many to choose from.

If that isn’t calm enough for your liking, Close Friends allows users to view tweets from a curated list of people you follow. This feature is accessed from a dedicated tab at the bottom, but choose wisely. Friends on this list are excluded from Smart Filters too, so you’ll want to exclude buddies who pontificate about hot topics. This list syncs to your Twitter account, where it also shows up in other clients, such as our preferred Tweetbot.

Just the basics

The developers of Nighthawk are quick to note they’re not trying to compete with more robust solutions like Twitterrific. An admirable position to be sure, but even as a basic Twitter client, the app could benefit from additional spit and polish.

nighthawk for twitter close friends Team Nighthawk

Add your best buddies to the Close Friends list, and with a single tap, you’ll be able to see nothing but their tweets.

For starters, searching for Close Friends isn’t always reliable. Nighthawk would find certain users after entering just a few letters, while others required typing a complete Twitter handle before they would surface. There’s no support for multiple accounts or push notifications, and app preferences are confusingly buried on your profile screen. Worse yet, when composing a new tweet you can’t attach a photo or location.

On the plus side, you can customize the home screen icon with one of 17 different options—including eight funky Apple-inspired flavors—and the app is a universal build, so it works equally well on iPad and iPhone.

Bottom line

Pretty barebones as third-party Twitter apps go, but the developers appear committed to continued improvements, so keep this one on your radar.