I’m very excited about the new Mastodon app Ivory by Tapbots, who are the same people behind the popular third-party Twitter app Tweetbot. As of early January 2022, the app is currently in closed beta and is already very polished—with many calling for it to be released as a public beta immediately! By borrowing much of it’s foundation from Tweetbot, it shares the same quality and polish that Tapbots is known for—driving an impressive amount of hype behind this app with 1000-slot TestFlight releases often exhausting in under 15 seconds.
With no official website up yet, and information about the app scattered all over Mastodon and other places, I thought it would be nice to chuck together an unofficial FAQ. I’ll be covering some questions surrounding the app that the community has asked, and that Tapbots developers have answered, whether it be through the official @ivory account or their own. Mainly, this is to satisfy my own curiosity, however I don’t doubt that others may find it interesting too.
If I’ve missed anything, feel free to toot at me on @email@example.com. I’ve linked to the source @ivory toots in the parenthesis so that the full context around the original question can be ascertained.
(In-)Frequently Asked Questions
Last update: Monday the 2nd of January 2023 AEDT
When is it coming out?
“We are aiming for a January release marked as “Early Access”. There’s still so much work to be done, but we feel like it’s good enough for most people to enjoy. 🙂” (2023-01-02)
Support for other Fediverse services? (Pleroma, etc)
“don’t think it works because we’ve had people asking for it. But we are only focusing on mastodon for the time being. Once things are solid here, we can take a look at others that are pretty similar.” (2022-12-31)
“we are just focusing on mastodon for now. That’s not to say we won’t look into others in the future. But we can’t worry about dealing with issues or bug reports from users not from a mastodon instance right now. We already have a ton of work ahead of us.” (2022-30-12)
When is the macOS beta coming? Is it currently being worked on?
“We will let everyone know when that time comes. It’s being worked on at the same time, just at a slower pace.” (2022-12-31)
“no it’s in development, but not quite ready for TestFlight.” (2022-12-30)
Can the current iOS TestFlight be ran on Apple Silicon Macs?
“no we don’t allow our iOS apps to run on Mac because we have Mac apps coming.” (2022-12-29)
What’s the deal with Ivory on the Google Play Store?
Not by Tapbots, older and unmaintained.
“ivory on android has been around for awhile. We contacted the developer of it and he said he doesn’t maintain that app anymore and we were free to use the name.” (2022-12-28)
Will a roadmap eventually be released?
“we will provide a roadmap when we ship the app.” (2022-12-28)
Are content warnings (CWs) implemented/when will they be implemented?
“we are working on CW’s as we speak and they should be in the next update.” (2023-01-02)
Is alt-text viewable yet?
Viewing the text is yet to be implemented, however screen readers can currently read them.
“We haven’t implemented that part yet.” (2023-01-01)
“Screen reads can read them currently.” (2022-12-29)
Will there be filters for repeatedly/excessively boosted posts?
“it’s on our list to fix. 🙂” (2022-12-31)
Will long posts be automatically folded/divided/numbered?
Has been asked many times so I’ll only include the first few I’ve seen here.
“it’s been in the plans for a long time. Design has been done since summer. I’m sure we’ll get to it at some point.” (2022-12-30)
“yup. It will come. 🙂” (2022-12-29)
“it’s in the plans.” (2022-12-29)
Will the character limit for post splitting in the timeline be user configurable?
“yes it’s been the plan from the beginning. Just haven’t got to that part of the list yet. 🙂” (2022-12-29)
Does Ivory handle filters set in the Mastodon web UI?
“It does. You just don’t see them in our app at the moment because our system is different and more powerful. We didn’t want to degrade ours and adopt the web interface version. We will work on making them work together in our interface in the future.” (2022-12-30)
Why does tapping on a post in the Timeline not open it/why the swiping?
“because currently that opens the action drawer. We’ve done it this way for 10 years and our customers have always loved it. But it will be getting an overhaul soon. 🙂” (2022-12-29)
“we plan on having a hybrid mode.” (2022-12-29)
Will there be indicators added for reply/boost/favourite counts?
“it’s coming. 🙂” (2022-12-29)
Will I be able to swipe the header to switch between Lists, like in Tweetbot?
“we will probably provide an option for this that in the future.” (2022-12-29)
Will my instance’s trends eventually be viewable?
“as long a there’s an api for it, yes it will come. 🙂” (2022-12-27)
Will a character count be added?
“we will definitely be addressing that when we redesign the compose view. 🙂” (2022-12-28)
Can I save a post as a draft?
“not yet… it’s all coming.” (2022-12-28)
Can I edit posts yet?
Not yet. “yes it will come. 🙂” (2022-12-28)
Will I be able to change the language of a post?
“it’s on our list of a million things to do. 🙃” (2022-12-27)
Will the alt-text input be improved/made more prominent?
“we plan to improve this when we redesign the compose view. Remember this is just an alpha product. 🙂” (2022-12-25)
Are profile links viewable yet?
To be implemented. “just not done yet. 🙂” (2023-01-01)
Where do profile badges come from/how do I set a profile badge?
“instance custom emoji in their name. 🙂” (2023-01-01)
Notifications and Sharing
What’s the deal with the split mentions/notification tabs?
“They aren’t tied together and we eventually will get rid of the mentions tab when we make improvements to the notification tab. Just in a weird transition phase at the moment. 🙃” (2022-12-30)
“There will be a way to quickly see mentions only and Private Mentions only.” (2022-12-30)
Will I be able to share posts to other apps as an image/screenshot?
“for sharing posts as images, yes.” (2022-12-29)
“that’s been on our list to do for Tweetbot and the design is ready to be built. It will happen at some point. 🙂” (2022-12-29)
Will DMs/private posts have their own tab?
“yea we plan to have better filtering for private posts.” (2022-12-29)
Mastodon Quality-of-Life improvements
Will the app automatically query original post instances to retrieve a full reply history?
“we aren’t focusing on that now so can’t say for sure what’s involved or if it’s feasible. We are focusing on trying to get parity for the most part with the website for now. Once we are in a good place, we will look into how to make the experience better in those kinds of ways.” (2022-12-29)
Will I be able to browse the local feeds of other instances?
“yes we will have the ability to browse other local feeds in the future.” (2022-12-29)
“most likely at some point. 🙂” (2022-12-28, also was implied that a News feature similar to the official app would also be implemented)
Will there be a federated search that queries popular instances?
“not sure yet. Our goal is to first match what you get with your instance website. So the search results you get there is what you should see in our app. Later we explore other possibilities.” (2022-12-27)
Cheers for reading the post. Of course, a big thanks goes out to all those who asked the questions which have spurred these answers, and all those at Tapbots, especially Paul who has been putting an impressive amount of work into the app over the holiday period, as well as answering lots of questions from the community.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to hear more from me, please consider giving me a follow on Mastodon over at @firstname.lastname@example.org . Happy new year everyone!