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Up close with iOS 5: Twitter integration

Lex Friedman | Oct. 14, 2011
Nestled alongside the flashier new features in iOS 5 is a smaller, subtler addition—deep integration with the Twitter microblogging service. Twitter has always teamed up nicely with Apple’s iOS devices, as evidenced by the array of third-party Twitter clients available via the App Store. With iOS 5, the ties run even deeper, as you can now tweet photos, links, and more from wherever you happen to be at the time.

Nestled alongside the flashier new features in iOS 5 is a smaller, subtler addition—deep integration with the Twitter microblogging service. Twitter has always teamed up nicely with Apple’s iOS devices, as evidenced by the array of third-party Twitter clients available via the App Store. With iOS 5, the ties run even deeper, as you can now tweet photos, links, and more from wherever you happen to be at the time.

Setting Up Twitter

Evidence of the Twitter integration can be found the moment you launch the Settings app. You’ll notice a new Twitter option sits snugly between FaceTime and Mail, Contacts, Calendars. From that Twitter pane, you can add one or more Twitter accounts. For each account, you can set whether you’d like your location included by default when you tweet. There’s also a button to install the free official Twitter app, if you don’t already have it installed.

Once you’ve successfully set up at least one Twitter account, you can send tweets from a variety of built-in apps: Safari, Phone, Contacts, Photos, Camera, Maps, and YouTube.

The Twitter settings screen offers two other options as well. When you tap Update Contacts, any contacts in your address book that Twitter can identify (by email address) will get updated with their Twitter username and photo. You can also control—on an app-by-app basis—which apps can use your Twitter credentials. Only those apps that get updated to leverage iOS 5’s built-in Twitter integration will be listed. They show up only after you first use a Twitter action in them—that is, apps will get listed in the settings screen only once you’ve sent a tweet from within them.

Before iOS 5, Twitter clients like Twitterrific could only log you in to your Twitter account by first presenting you with a Twitter Web form, which made setting up multiple accounts especially annoying. Now—once updated—such apps will be able to access your Twitter credentials directly. In time, that should also make it easier to tweet from within other apps, like games (say, for when you achieve a high score) and camera apps (for when you create content elsewhere that’s worth sharing).

Twitter integration

The tweeting experience for apps that leverage iOS 5’s integration remains consistent between apps. In apps that offer the Tweet button, you can bring up the so-called Tweet Sheet, which, unsurprisingly, sits ready for you to compose your tweet.

The Tweet Sheet looks the same regardless of which integrated app you’re tweeting from; it employs a design of Apple’s own and doesn’t match the official Twitter app’s look and feel. If you’ve configured more than one Twitter account, you can switch between accounts.

 

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