Twitter has been making a lot of changes to Direct Messages lately, including removing the 140-character limit, and letting you chat with strangers, send URLs, and create groups. But the one thing that’s missing is a stand-alone direct messaging app. But just because Twitter isn’t working on it — at least not that we know of — doesn’t mean third-party developers aren’t giving it a shot. Direct Messenger is an unofficial Twitter app with a singular purpose — it lets you send and receive Direct Messages.
Once you link Direct Messenger to your Twitter account, the home screen shows you a list of your previously exchanged Direct Messages. Clicking the compose message button pulls up a list of your Twitter followers, and the app gives you a number of ways to communicate with them, including text, emoji, images, location, and even a dedicated button that brings up a cute animated heart and causes it to float around the screen.
Twitter doesn’t support these messaging formats
But don’t expect the target of your DM to see what you see — Twitter itself doesn’t support these messaging formats. When you try to send an image via Direct Messenger, the app converts the image into a link, meaning that unless the person you’re messaging also has the app installed, all they see is a link with a message that reads “Sent an image via Direct Messenger.” Similarly, Direct Messenger’s animated heart appears as a standard blue heart emoticon for Twitter users.
Despite these shortcomings — caused by Twitter’s API limitations — Direct Messenger is a neat way to keep on top of a messaging format that’s growing in functionality. With Facebook focusing so much attention on Facebook Messenger, and Twitter itself adding new features to its vanilla DMs, a stand-alone direct messaging app has been a long time coming. Although it might not be official, Direct Messenger does the job, and is available on the iTunes store for free.