Minimized – My favorite apps at their smallest

I use Apple’s 11” MacBook Air, so screen real estate is precious to me. When I saw Ged Maheux tweet this image from Gavin Nelson, comparing the relative size of three minimized Twitter clients, I wondered about other apps. With that in mind, I’ve minimized the main window of the apps I use most often. I also took a screenshot to represent how they look on MacBook Air’s small screen. Let’s get started.

Twitter Apps

There are more Twitter apps in the world than grains of sand. I picked my favorites long ago (Twitterrific on iPhone and iPad, Twitter on Mac), but still enjoy trying new releases. I also understand that one’s choice of Twitter client is a big deal, so I’ve included several examples for you to look at. Here’s how five Mac Twitter clients look on my 11″ MacBook Air. Note that my display was set at a resolution of 1366×768 in these screenshots.

Osfoora ($4.99)

The sidebar collapses to show only icons and I got the timeline down to just about five tweet’s worth of length. It takes up approximately 2/3 of my display’s width. Not bad but not fantastic.

Tweetbot alpha v. 0.6

Yes, it will likely change before release. But the alpha is public and people are excited about it, so here it is. For now, the sidebar cannot be resized. The toolbar is tall and the chunky “border” makes it feel even larger. It’s a little bit taller than Osfoora with just over five tweets visible. I’d approximate that it takes up 3/4 of my screen’s height.

Twitter for Mac (Free)

Now we’re getting small. Twitter for Mac shrinks down nice and tiny, showing me just about three tweets at a time. It takes up about 1/2 of my display’s height. Unfortunately, the whole reason I use Twitter for Mac — those blue indicator lights in the sidebar — are only visible for a single account when the window is this small. I can use keyboard shortcuts to move between accounts, but I really like seeing those indicators at a glance.

Twitterrific (Free ad-supported, otherwise $9.95)

Now that’s tiny! Twitterrific lets me hide the sidebar completely and shrink the window to show about a tweet-and-a-half. If takes up roughly 1/4 of my 11” display’s height. I doubt I’d use it like this — I want to see at least four or five tweets at a time — but it sure does get small.

Wren ($4.99)

Wren is unique in that it only shows the tweet you’re composing plus up to three drafts. There’s no timeline at all. I use Wren a lot when I want to share but not be distracted by incoming tweets. It’s also a good way to store future tweets. Wren only has two sizes: full-screen and the one you see here. It takes up slightly less than 1/2 my display’s height.

Finally, here’s a look at all five apps side-by-side (note that they wouldn’t all fit on the MacBook Air’s display, so I took this screenshot on my 20” external display:

From left to right: Wren, Twitter, Osfoora, Tweetbot alpha, Twitterrific. Note that Twitterrific is the only one that lets me hide the sidebar completely.

Other Apps

Now here’s a look at the apps I use most often, minimized on the Air.

Colloquy (Free)

Colloquy, my preferred IRC client, will minimize down to almost nothing. Here’s a point at which it’s quite tiny but still usable.

Fantastical ($9.99)

Fantastical lets you determine which calendars are represented as well as how many days are displayed at a time. Choosing “Today and Tomorrow” keeps things to a minimum. Best of all, Fantastical disappears when I don’t need it. What a great little app.

OmniFocus ($39.99)

This is kind of cheating, as it isn’t the full app, but OmniFocus’s quick-entry window is what I see most often. It’s tidy and quick.

Pandora (Free)

Unfortunately, this is as small as Pandora gets. There’s no mini player. The Mac app really stinks, actually.


Lovely! Rdio minimizes into a proper mini player. It even sports a dark theme, which is good news for those who dislike the app’s recent stark-white update.

Reeder ($4.99)

Reeder looks very nice indeed when minimized. Select “Minimized” from the View menu and then shrink the sidebar to turn feed names into those icons. Sharp.

Sparrow ($9.99)

Sparrow also looks great when minimized. Hide the Message Panel and Sidebar to get this sleek list-like look. Keyboard shortcuts come in handy when the app is this small.

There’s a look at some popular Twitter Mac clients and several of the apps I use every day, minimized on a MacBook Air’s screen. Some work really well, some don’t at all. This was a fun little experiment.