Mastodon, a decentralized social network, now has an official iPhone app. Several third-party apps for iOS, Android, and other platforms have already been launched by the nonprofit behind Mastodon. An iPhone app was launched today to complement the web version and several third-party apps as well.
This app offers a similar set of features to Mastodon’s core service, but does not include Mastodon’s broad local and federated timelines.
According to the company, Mastodon’s app is geared specifically at getting new users onto its nontraditional social platform. In summary, Mastodon’s interface is similar to Twitter’s, but it’s built for independent community development (using ActivityPub) rather than a single central host.
Join a community of your choice, while also following and messaging people in other communities. Offering an official iOS entry point could help ease people into it more easily since the design is uncommon among modern social platforms. There is no estimated timeline for releasing the equivalent Android app, according to CEO Eugen Rochko.
Besides support for polls and sensitive content filters, Mastodon’s iOS app page mentions its ad-free, chronological timeline, one of several differences from bigger services like Twitter.
There is no section for Mastodon’s local and federated timelines – Mastodon’s collection of all public postings from your home community and from communities linked with it.
According to Rochko, those timelines were an inefficient way for users to discover new content, and excluding them also reduced the potential for conflict with Apple, which has required some social networks to limit what users can find through their apps.
If you want a different feature set, you can use the existing iOS app – or just log in through the web. (Reddit’s iOS app, for example, asks you to opt into NSFW content.)