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How to get the old Twitter web interface back

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If you don’t like the new look, you can do something about it

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Whenever an online application makes substantial changes to its interface, there’s going to be blowback — and Twitter is no exception. Its recent desktop redesign borrows a few elements from the look of its mobile app (a look that some long-term Twitter users aren’t very fond of, to say the least).

The changes are obvious the moment you look at the new UI. The modest command menu that was previously across the top of the page has now been moved to the left of the feed, with startlingly large lettering. The column showing trends that was on the left of the fed is now on the right, while the small profiles box on the upper left corner that showed your tweets and following counts is nowhere to be seen. To get that data, you now have to go to your profile page.

If you preferred the older UI, don’t get too upset. There are a few ways (at least, for now) to return to the old Twitter look.

Try GoodTwitter

An extension called GoodTwitter, contributed by Zusor, can effectively revert your Twitter interface back to a more old-fashioned look. It is available for both Chrome and Firefox.

All you need to do is download the extension from either Chrome’s Web Store or from Firefox’s Add-On Manager. If you then go to your Twitter page and don’t see any immediate change, try deleting your cache and / or reloading the page.

Change your Firefox configuration

If you’re a Firefox user who would prefer more of a do-it-yourself method, you can get the same results by changing your browser’s configuration.

  • In the main address field, type about:config.
  • Firefox may warn you that you’ll void your warranty. (You’re okay with that, right?) Click on the “I accept the risk!” button.
  • Right-click anywhere within the page and select “New” > “String”
  • A pop-up box will ask you to “Enter the preference name.” Type general.useragent.override.twitter.com and hit “OK.”
  • The box will now ask you to “Enter string value” for that preference name. Type Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko.

The line will be added to the other commands listed on the page. Now, when you load Twitter, you’ll get the older UI. (Again, you may need to delete your cache and / or reboot the browser before you’ll see the change.)

By the way, if you change your mind and want to go back to the new UI, it’s easy enough to do. Go back to about:config, right-click on the line you added, and select “Reset.” The value of the line will disappear, and the line itself will be gone the next time you reboot the browser. Twitter will be back to its old new self.

(For more information on this and other methods of tweaking Twitter’s interface in both Firefox and Chrome, there is a very useful thread on Reddit.)

A temporary fix

Finally, if you don’t mind a temporary solution, there is a series of menu selections that will yield up the old interface in any browser — until you reload the app. Just open Twitter and follow this sequence of commands:

  • Click on “(...) More” in the left-hand menu
  • Go to “Settings and privacy” > “About Twitter” > “Directory”
  • A new Twitter tab will open. Click on “Home,” and you’ll find yourself in the old UI.

But remember, if you reload the app, you’ll have to go through the whole thing all over again.

One more thing to keep in mind: Twitter could break any one of these at any time, so these fixes might just be part of a temporary reprieve. Enjoy them while you can.

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