How to Add Twitter to Your Safari Sidebar

Safari Sidebar With Twitter screenshot

Ever since OS X Lion, Apple has been integrating various social media services into the OS, allowing you to use the services from other Mac apps more easily.

With the advent of OS X Mountain Lion, Apple added a Shared Links sidebar to Safari that lets you see tweets and links from people you follow on Twitter. The Shared Links Safari sidebar isn't a full-fledged Twitter client; you'll still need to use the Twitter web site, or a Twitter client, such as Twitterrific, to create posts. But for just monitoring tweets or retweeting recent Twitter activity, the Safari Shared Links sidebar is pretty convenient.

Setting up the Safari Shared Links Sidebar

If you have Safari 6.1 or later, you've probably already noticed that Apple has changed up the way bookmarks and reading lists work with Safari. Bookmarks, Reading Lists, and Shared Links are now centered above the Safari sidebar. This arrangement gives you one-click access to a sidebar that's packed full of useful features.

If you've already tried using the sidebar, you may have only seen your Bookmarks or Reading List entries; that's because the Shared Links feature must be configured in OS X's System Preferences before you can start using it.

Internet Accounts System Preferences

Apple created a central location for adding popular Internet, Mail, and social media accounts to your Mac. By placing all of these account types in one location, Apple made it easy to add, delete, or otherwise control your account details in OS X.

To get the Safari sidebar to work with your Twitter feeds, you need to add your Twitter account to the Internet Accounts list.

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.

  2. Select the Internet Accounts preference pane from the System Preferences window.

  3. The Internet Accounts preference pane is divided into two primary areas. The left-hand pane lists Internet accounts you have previously set up on your Mac. You will probably see your email accounts listed here, along with your Facebook account, if you've already used our guide to Setting Up Facebook on Your Mac. You may also see your iCloud account listed here.

  4. The right-hand pane contains a list of Internet account types that OS X currently supports. Apple actively updates this list of account types with each OS X update, so what is displayed here can change over time. At the time of this writing, there are 10 specific account types and one general-purpose account type supported.

  5. In the righthand pane, click the Twitter account type.

  6. In the drop-down pane that appears, enter your Twitter account user name and password, and then click the Next button.

  7. The drop-down pane will change to explain what will happen when you allow OS X to sign you in to your Twitter account:

    • Allow you to tweet and post photos and links to Twitter.
    • Show links from your Twitter timeline in Safari.
    • Enable apps to work with your Twitter account, with your permission.

    You can disable Contacts syncing, as well as prevent specific apps on your Mac from accessing your Twitter account.

  8. Click the Sign In button to enable Twitter access with your Mac.

  9. Your Twitter account is now configured to allow OS X to make use of the service. You can close the Internet Accounts preference pane.

Use Safari's Shared Links Sidebar

With Twitter set up as an Internet Account in your System Preferences, you're ready to use Safari's Shared Links feature.

  1. Launch Safari if it isn't already open.

  2. You can open the Safari sidebar by using any of the following methods:

    • Select Show Sidebar from the View menu.
    • Click the Show Sidebar icon (the one that looks like an open book) in Safari's Favorites Bar.
    • Select Show Bookmarks from the Bookmarks menu.
  3. Once the sidebar is displayed, you'll see that there are now three tabs at the top of the sidebar: Bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links.

  4. Click the Shared Links tab in the sidebar.

  5. The sidebar will be populated with tweets from your Twitter feed. The first time you open the Shared Links sidebar, it can take a moment for the tweets to be pulled and displayed.

  6. You can display the content of a shared link in a tweet by clicking the tweet in the sidebar.

  7. You can retweet a tweet in your Safari sidebar by right-clicking on the tweet and selecting Retweet from the pop-up menu.

  8. You can also use the pop-up menu to quickly go to Twitter and view a Twitter user's public account information.

You're All Set

With Twitter set up in Safari's sidebar, you're all set to keep up to date on your Twitter account feeds without the need to open a dedicated Twitter app.