How to Use Twitter's Algorithmic Timeline

Learn how it works plus how to turn it on or off

When Twitter first launched, reading its timeline was a fairly simple, easy-to-understand experience. Back then, the Twitter timeline would show you every tweet and retweet from the accounts you followed in chronological order. That was it.

Twitter has since implemented an algorithm and several system-wide features that changed the order in which you see tweets and added several new aspects, changing the social media platform significantly.

Here are the main changes Twitter has made since launch:

  • Non-Chronological Timeline: Twitter will now show users tweets in order of how important its system thinks they are to you. Basically, if you like a lot of tweets from a specific account, Twitter will show you more tweets from them regardless of when they tweeted them.
  • "In case you missed it" Tweets: When you open Twitter after being away for a few hours, you may be greeted with a collection of popular tweets from people you follow grouped together under the phrase, "In case you missed it."
  • Liked By Tweets: Twitter will display tweets people you follow have liked.
  • Twitter Conversations: Originally, Twitter would display @ replies to tweets on their own in your timeline. Now an @ reply will also include a couple of the previous tweets in the conversation regardless of how long ago they were posted.
  • Tweets From Strangers: Occasionally, Twitter will show you tweets in your timeline from accounts you don't follow, but its algorithm thinks you may enjoy based on your activity. For example, if you like or retweet tweets about anime, Twitter may recommend some popular anime accounts to follow.
  • Promoted Tweets: Your Twitter timeline will feature tweets that have been paid to be promoted by companies or individuals.

How to Turn on the Twitter Chronological Timeline

There's an option in your Twitter account settings that will allow you to turn off the Twitter algorithm that displays tweets in your timeline out of order and let you sort tweets by time posted. While this will bring back your chronological Twitter timeline, you'll still see "In case you missed it," promoted tweets, liked tweets, and conversation threads.

Changing the Twitter timeline in Windows 10 Twitter app
This simple setting will make your Twitter timeline chronological again when disabled.  Brad Stephenson 

On Web on Mac and PC

  1. After logging in on the website, select your profile photo in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Settings and privacy from the drop-down menu.
  3. Scroll down the next page and uncheck the box next to Show the best tweets first.
  4. Select Save changes.

On iOS

  1. After logging in on the official Twitter app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap your profile photo in the top-left corner of the screen.
  2. Scroll down the menu and tap Settings and privacy.
  3. Tap Content preferences.
  4. Tap the switch next to Show the best tweets first to turn it off. The switch will slide to the left and turn white if disabled correctly.

On Android

  1. Depending on your app version and Android smartphone or tablet, you will see either your profile photo or an icon that looks like three horizontal lines on top of each other. Tap whichever one you see.
  2. Tap Settings and privacy from the menu that appears.
  3. Tap Content preferences.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Show the best Tweets first.

On Windows 10

  1. Once you're logged into the official Windows 10 Twitter app, select your username in the top-right corner.
  2. Select Settings and privacy.
  3. From the menu on the left, select Content preferences.
  4. Uncheck the box next to Show the best tweets first.

How to Turn off Promoted, Liked, and Recommended Tweets

If you want to get rid of Twitter's promoted tweets, random tweets liked by people you follow, conversation threads, "In case you missed it," and account recommendations, a feature you should check out is Twitter lists.

Lifewire Twitter profile on the Twitter website
Adding a Twitter account to a list is a great way to avoid promoted tweets and see your timeline in chronological order.  Brad Stephenson 

Twitter lists are collections of accounts you can manually add to whenever you like. When viewing a list, every tweet from the accounts you've added will be shown chronologically and without any of the features mentioned above.

  1. To create a Twitter list, simply tap your profile photo in any Twitter app or on the web, tap Lists, then tap the small icon that looks like a notepad with a plus symbol on it. Enter a name and description for your new Twitter list and tap Save.
  2. To add a Twitter account to one of your Twitter lists, tap the gear icon on their Twitter profile, tap Add/remove from Lists, then tap the name of the list you want to add them to.
  3. To view your Twitter lists, simply tap your profile photo, then tap Lists from the drop-down menu in any of the official Twitter apps or on the web.