Guide to Mastodon-Pleroma-Gab Social Clients

So, as promised, I’ve put together a guide to various Mastodon clients available on iOS and Android. Sadly, the developers of at least a couple immediately blocked Gab once it went live, so you won’t be able to use those. There are others, however.

Since I am most familiar with iOS, we’ll begin with those apps. I have excluded apps with very low ratings (with one exception, of which I will explain) and apps whose descriptions or interfaces appeared to be in another language. As for Android, I excluded apps that seemed to be in early development. While I don’t have the funds to test paid-for apps, I will include them and whether or not they’ll be friendly to Gab.

For all of these apps, the login procedure is the same – you type the instance name – in this case, gab.com – and then it will bring you to a login screen. Enter your Gab credentials (email address and password), then tap the Login button. It will then take you to a screen that will ask you to allow or deny authorization for the app to access your account details (it will not gain access to your password). Tap Allow or Authorize and your timeline should load.

iOS

Roma

This app looks like a fork of Mast, of which is one of those apps whose developer is hostile to Gab. This is free, and it too is open source. It comes with versions for both iPad and iPhone.

The initial screen is very nice, and once the server issues were resolved, I was able to log in quickly. On my phone, the screen defaults to the Home timeline, which shows posts from everyone I’m following. There are two other timelines – Local, which, I believe, refers to everyone in the instance you’re logged in to, and All, which includes posts from people across the fediverse. New posts are denoted by a gray icon in the top right corner of the screen, along with the number of new posts. Tapping the very top of the screen will take you to the latest posts in whichever timeline you’ve chosen.

Right beneath the search icon are three dots – this loads a list of media for the currently selected timeline. Be warned – anything marked sensitive in the timeline will not be censored when you tap the Media list! I got a good look at some porn that someone posted on another instance. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen, but as I said…be warned.

Roma supports multiple accounts, so if you have an account on another Mastodon instance, you can add it to the app.

This app is packed with features, so kudos to the developer, even if he is, well…not so nice. It’s a gorgeous app. You can choose which timeline to display by default, whether to show Activity or Mentions by default, and whether or not pulling will return you to the top of the screen or retain the current position when loading new posts.

A nice feature of Mastodon, one that is new to Gab and one that Twitter doesn’t have, is that you can change the privacy status of a given post. Roma lets you set a default privacy status for all posts – you can make them unlisted, private, public or direct.

 

Roma lets you customize the appearance of the app, right down to the app icon. I have to admit that the lighter colored icons have dark borders around them, which doesn’t look all that amazing, but it isn’t that big a deal. I changed my icon to pink because I’m a girly-girl. You can change the “App Hue” which refers to the colors of the icons and such. As for the rest of the app, you can switch between five different themes – Day (mostly white), Dusk, Night, Midnight and Midnight Blue.

There’s four different push notifications you can get – Mentions, Likes, Reposts and Follows. You can switch all of them off, or none or any combination you want. You can also control which kinds of in-app notifications you get.

You can also add a biometric lock to the app, or lock notifications only or direct messages only.

Sometimes I wouldn’t get new posts in the Home timeline, but I’d get new posts on the others. I do not think this is an issue with the app, but with Gab, as earlier today I wasn’t able to load new posts in my browser. It’s still early, so we’ll all need to be patient.

The iPad app looks a bit different, and is best viewed in landscape mode. You’ve got several different panes on the iPad – the timeline, your mentions/activity, messages and the Settings app. You scroll side-to-side to get to the other panes. I think it looks rather nice, and is different and might take a bit getting used to.

One more very important thing – you can share links to your Gab account using Roma. This is very, very important to me, as I browse on my iPad and iPhone a lot, and I’d like to share some of the stuff I come across. You’ll have to enable Roma in the share menu, but once you do, you can share links via any app’s Share function. The screen is rather simple, and you cannot set the privacy status of the post, but that’s okay. At least it works!

One issue I came across on both iPads is that the Home timeline would never load. I’d see the Local and All timelines just fine, but Home would never load. Home loads fine on my iPhone, though.

Roma is a gorgeous app, and as new Gab gets stabilized, things will probably load as they should, so this is definitely a good choice if you’re an iDevice user. It is also open source, so if the developers ever decide to block Gab, it can be forked.

Amaroq

This app is iPhone only, and to be honest, I didn’t get to use it that much because it crashed every time I tried loading my timeline. That being said, the developer isn’t exactly friendly to Gab, as you can see from these screenshots.

(Source for screenshots)

The developer also isn’t all that interested in updating the app on a frequent basis, so as of right now, you can probably access Gab, and if it doesn’t crash for you, then that’s cool.

Even though it is designed for the iPhone, you can install it on an iPad, but it’ll look very small on the screen.

Tootle

This app is available for iPad and iPhone. It too hasn’t been updated in a couple of months, but based on the developer’s website, I think using this one should be fine. There’s no open hostility towards using Gab, so there’s a plus.

There are three timeline views – your follows (called Home), your account’s instance posts, and posts from across the fediverse.

You can filter posts, and arrange the menu at the bottom of the screen…and that’s pretty much it. This one is much simpler and there isn’t much in the way of customizing the interface or notifications.

I initially looked at it on an older version running on my iPhone 5c. After dealing with it on my iPad Air, I gave up on that device and installed it on my iPad mini. I finally managed to log onto a different instance, since Gab was still giving me trouble, just to see what the latest version of the app looked like. It wasn’t dramatically different.

Sharing is very good on this app, as you can choose which account to post on, and the post’s visibility.

This app is good if you just need something lightweight and uncomplicated. I had serious problems logging into any instance on my old iPad Air (it’s so old it doesn’t even have Touch ID), but I managed to get it running on my iPad mini, so if you’ve got an older device, it might work, or it might not.

Mustor

This is another iPad/iPhone app, and it does come with ads, but they’re only on the Settings screen and they’re really small. It costs only 99c to remove them.

It is pretty simple and straightforward, much like Tootle. No customizations or anything like that, beyond very simple things. You can choose whether or not to open links in the in-app browser or Safari. I choose Safari because I have ad blockers installed. You see all the ads in the in-app browser, unfortunately. Furthermore, the in-app browser does not have Reader View. You can choose the default privacy setting for all your posts (public, unlisted or private). You can also change the font size.

The main screen has three primary views – Home, Local and Federated. Home view shows posts from all the accounts you follow, whether they’re on the same instance or another instance. Local view shows all the posts from the currently selected instance, and Federated shows all posts from the fediverse.

This app lets you edit your header and user pic, which is nice. It also supports multiple accounts.

If Tootle doesn’t work out for you and you need another lightweight, simple client this one is a good alternative.

Librem Social

This is a fork of Amaroq, but the developers have made an iPad version. Since it is a fork of Amaroq, I had the same problems with this that I had with Amaroq, and that every time I tried loading my Gab timeline, the app would crash.

This one is obviously aimed at users of the Librem Social instance, but it does support multiple accounts. If you want to use this one, it’ll ask you to log into your Librem Social account. Just tap Cancel on that screen, enter in gab.com for the instance and log in that way. If you’re lucky, it won’t crash on you. Unfortunately, I was never able to get this one to work. I do have a Librem Social account, and it works fine with their instance. Even so, trying to access Gab when I’ve already logged in to the Librem Social account resulted in an app crash every time I tried accessing my Gab timeline.

And, according to this post, Librem Social blocks Gab too, but as I said, I was able to log in…the app just crashed every time the timeline tried to load.

Stella

This one looked interesting, but I wasn’t able to get it to work with Gab.  I used an account I have on another instance to take a look at it.

This is a Mastodon and Twitter client, and it is iPhone only. You can also add an RSS feed. I tried adding a site by searching for a keyword, but it wouldn’t accept anything but an actual URL. You can add posts from the URL to your original Home feed, or to its own separate feed.

As far as a Mastodon client, it’s really lacking the features the other ones have. I can’t even access the Local or Federated feeds. It’s a nice-looking app, but all you can do is read your Home feed, your Twitter feed and the feeds of any sites you have added. You can’t search for users or topics. You can respond, repost and favorite posts, but you have to tap the post in order to see those options.

The only thing I really liked is being able to see posts from an RSS feed (in this case, the excellent Project Veritas) mixed in with the posts from QOTO.org (since I could not get Gab to work with it). Plus, the articles loaded in a nice reader view.

It’s certainly interesting, but if you really want to dig into all the features Mastodon/Gab has to offer, you should probably go with something else.

Mast

I purchased this app in late June, in anticipation of Gab going open source. I think the Roma app is a fork of this one, as they look and work the same. Unfortunately, the developer is adamantly anti-Gab, accusing all of us of being hateful bigots, and has blocked its users from accessing Gab using the app. I bought it for 99c, and as of right now it is $4.99. Since you cannot use it with Gab, and since the developer is, frankly, an asshole, there is no point in using it. I did request a refund and got it fairly quickly, so that’s a big credit to Apple. You can see the review I posted – I love how the developer at least saw it, but he clearly doesn’t care about smearing thousands of strangers. Here is where the developer accuses anyone of disagreeing with him of supporting “hate speech” (but conveniently does not define “hate speech”). Here he is rolling his digital eyes at Gab lamenting the fact that he hates all of us. Here he is begging for help in blocking Gab. Here is evidence that by June 21, Gab had been blocked. This jerk has some other apps…since he is such a hypocritical bigot, I would advise against using any of them, since, you know, we’re such evil assholes and he’s such a sinless angel sent from heaven above. God forbid we sully his precious angel droppings with our dreaded, filthy “hate speech.”

Toot!

This is a paid app, and as of this writing, it is priced at $3.99. I have not tried it out, although it looks fairly nice. I checked out the developer’s site, and so far, there’s no word as to whether or not they will block access to Gab. You can check out their Mastodon.social feed here. I would keep an eye on them before actually purchasing the app, since who knows…they might get pressured into declaring all of us as Nazis who should be shot or something.

UPDATE:  Apparently, the developer of this app has, rather quietly, blocked users from accessing Gab via his app.  Since this is a paid app, I highly recommend against bothering with it, and if you’ve already purchased it, ask Apple for a refund.  They gave me a refund for the Mast app, so I trust them to issue refunds upon request.

Android

Fedilab

This app originally had two versions on the Google Play store – one that was free, and one that was priced at about $2. The paid version got frequent updates, but the free version did not. Then, right around the time Gab was to debut as a fork of the Mastodon project, a bunch of whiny crybabies got the free version removed from the Play store due to “payments policy violation” (you can read more about that here).

The paid version is still on the Play store, and you can get the paid version for free through F-Droid, which is a free open source software, or FOSS repository.

The developer seems to be fine with allowing access to Gab, but according to this post, there’s already a campaign to get Fedilab removed from the Play store. Leftists are truly assholes, they really are. The developer of Fedilab simply refuses to block instances at this time.

Anyway, like Roma, this is packed with features. You can schedule posts, access drafts, apply filters to your timeline, access bookmarks, and there’s even a section called Who To Follow, where you can browse users from the fediverse. If you are concerned about your device’s battery getting drained (something that is definitely an issue with my Ellipse tablet), you can go into the Settings section and disable live notifications and the background process. Ooh, and there is also a setting that will split up your posts if they go over a certain amount of characters. The character limit on Gab is very generous, but if that ever changes, this feature will come in very handy. Navigating from one of the other screens, such as the Favorites, is a little confusing, but just tap on the Back button at the bottom of your screen and it should take you back to your main timeline. This one is just so feature-packed that it’s already my favorite. In fact, I’m kind of bummed it’s Android only.

I even got it to work on my Kindle Fire tablet. You really can’t go wrong with this one, especially since the developer seems so reasonable, but it’s not the only Mastodon app for Android. There’s at least two others that are also good alternatives.

Twitlatte

This app is good for Twitter users, as you can use your Twitter account with it, and people who prefer the Twitter experience. It is a well-designed and elegant app that looks right at home with Google’s other native apps.

It seemed to have crashed to the home screen upon authorization, but I opened the app again and saw my timeline. That might have been down to my tablet rather than the app itself, as the tablet is kind of old and was never really a powerhouse like my iPads. It comes with a dark theme, of which can be switched on manually, or set to turn on at a certain time of day. It supports multiple accounts too, which is good. This supports only one timeline, which might be easier for those unused to Mastodon’s three timelines (Home, Local and All). This one also lets you set the privacy of a given post. However, after not using it for a while, getting to the top of my timeline was kind of hard. I am used to iOS, where you can tap the very top of the screen to immediately go to the top, and this works across the entire OS. There is no such thing in Android, so I had to manually scroll up. That being said, this is a good alternative for those looking for something simpler.

The developer is Japanese, and his Twitter feed is in Japanese, so I am not sure if he’s against Gab like other developers. Based on the translations I’ve read, it doesn’t seem as if he is. You can look at the source code for the app, though, at GitHub.

Stegodon

Not a whole lot of features, but you can access your drafts (I like that, the whole concept of saving drafts). You can also access a list of blocked accounts, and rearrange your timelines. It also only supports one account. It also has not been updated since October of 2018, and the developer doesn’t have a website, but for now, you can use it with Gab. It too has a nice, simple design.

The developer doesn’t seem to have a web presence that I can see, but if the others end up blocking Gab, this one should be okay, given that it works and hasn’t been updated for a while.

Conclusion

I know that several people have already forked Tusky and Mast, but they haven’t been released yet, so I haven’t been able to use them just yet. These existing apps should get you started, though, until one of these forked apps is released.

Yes, I believe that these developers can do what they wish with their apps, but blocking Gab is childish and partisan. There’s instances in the fediverse with far worse content. If they were concerned with being removed over allowing access to Gab, I can understand that, but maybe wait to see what the app stores will do before blocking Gab?

Furthermore, I’m more than happy to take the money of my so-called enemies. All they had to do was just give end users the ability to block instances from showing up in their All/Global/Federated feeds, and block all messages from users from blocked instances. Let the user control what they see. Instead, they all want to virtue signal because they’re leftists who believe everything the mainstream media tells them, and they, of course, hate anyone that doesn’t think like them.

I am so deeply grateful for open source software, and this seriously makes me want to at least learn enough code to fork one of these apps myself.