iOS 5: How to use iPhone's native Twitter tools

Make the most of the new native Twitter tools in iOS 5 with our video guide full of handy tips, such as how to tweet directly from core apps.

Nik Rawlinson
Nik Rawlinson has been writing about tech since Windows 95 was looking distinctly futuristic. He is a former Editor of MacUser magazine and one-time scribe for Personal Computer World. Nik is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.
Nik Rawlinson
3 min read

Hit play on the video above to discover how to make the most of iOS 5's new integrated Twitter tools. Apple has elevated the popular messaging platform to the same status as email and SMS as far as the iPhone is concerned, enabling users to tweet directly from within two of the core iOS apps.

Over time we can expect to see developers further integrate iOS' Twitter features into their own apps. Watch our full video guide to get to grips with the new features, or take a peek at the article below.

Adding your Twitter credentials

As a central service, Twitter's preferences are found in the Settings app. If you already have the Twitter app installed, it will pick up your username and password from here, but if not you'll need to enter them yourself. Tap within the relevant boxes, type them in and tap Sign In.

Signing in; account screen

You need to add a minimum of one account to use the built-in Twitter tools, but you can add several and choose between them on a tweet-by-tweet basis. Here we've added two accounts, so we can direct tweets that are of interest to only select groups of contacts in different directions.

Tap Update Contacts to authorise iOS to compare your entries in the Contacts app with the Twitter accounts you follow, so that it can update matching contact cards with relevant Twitter usernames.

Sending regular Tweets

If want to you use Twitter as a direct messaging service, tap a contact's username followed by Tweet, to send them a message. By default their username will be preceded by an @, so everyone who follows both them and you will be able to see what you've written. If you want to keep the message private, replace this with a D to send a direct message. If, like us, you've setup more than one Twitter account, tap the From line to switch between them.

Sending a tweet

Keep an eye on the number in the lower-right corner of the entry card, which shows you how much of your 140-character limit remains.

Tweeting photos

The Photos app can directly tweet your snaps, handling both the upload and linking them to a message. Images are uploaded to Twitter's own servers and stored at pic.twitter.com.

To tweet a photo, open the image you want to use in Photos and tap the toolbar's shortcut button (the rectangle with the arrow curling out of it in the bottom left).

Select Tweet and type the message you want to use to accompany the image, which itself will be attached to the tweet as a paper-clipped thumbnail. Note that the number of characters at your disposal will be lower than Twitter's default 140, as some have already been consumed by the address of the image on Twitter's servers.

You can also add your current location to your tweets. This is particularly pertinent when tweeting breaking news, travel delays or, as here, photos, as it allows your followers to see at once the location to which your tweet is related. Some Twitter clients, and the Twitter homepage, present this data on a map, allowing other users to find you through the proximity of your tweets to those of others they're already reading.

Attaching a photo; location settings

As this could constitute a security risk, both by showing that your home may be empty and identifying your precise location, this feature is disabled by default. To enable it, tap Settings > Location Services and then tap the On/Off slider beside Twitter to set it On.

Note that because this feature will only draw data from the device's integrated location features, including GPS, cell triangulation and its IP address, you can't use it to attach an accurate location to an image unless you're still standing at the point where it was taken, despite the iPhone and iPad geotagging images by default. The key, then, is to tweet your images as soon as they're shot, rather than waiting until you return home.

Tweeting videos

You can't tweet your own iPhone-shot videos, but you can tweet links to YouTube movies through the YouTube app. It's not immediately obvious where to find this feature, though.

Start by searching for the video you want to tweet and, having watched it, tap the Done button on the transport toolbar at the top of the video window.

Attaching a video

Tap the name of the video at the top of the screen to step back to its index page and tap Share Video to call up the regular Twitter posting options.