Mammoth is a free mastodon app for iOS that makes it easy to get started

A new mastodon app called Mammoth has already racked up 10,000 downloads in the first few days of its availability on the App Store. The app was developed by a team that includes the developer of the Aviary app for Twitter, which was summarily killed by Twitter earlier this year after new owner Elon Musk decided the broader app ecosystem no longer needed Twitter -Third-party clients had .

That decision abandoned long-time Twitter apps, but prompted several app developers to turn their attention to open-source, decentralized social network Mastodon instead. Last month, for example, the maker of popular Twitter client Tweetbot launched a new mastodon app called Ivory after Elon Musk’s API changes wiped out the company’s Twitter-centric predecessor without warning.

Now, Mammoth is entering the market to offer users another option.

Unlike Ivory, which is an attempt to build a business to help offset losses from Tweetbot’s closure, Mammoth is — at least for now — free with no in-app purchases. However, the company has said it will eventually offer a subscription version of Mammoth and its community, but hasn’t settled on the details yet.

In the meantime, its near-term goal is to encourage mastodon adoption, the company explained in a blog post.

“…we don’t think our subscription will be a paywall or that free users will get a read-only version of the app or Simple: We want to contribute to Mastodon having 10 million active users, then 100 million. We’re still in the early stages and we don’t want to do anything to slow down adoption,” writes Bart Decrem, co-founder of Mammoth. “So we’ll probably have a subscription, but it won’t stop you from enjoying the app if you don’t pay. We haven’t figured out all the details or the timing yet.”

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At launch, the Mammoth app provides access to a wide range of basic features, such as the ability to browse and switch between Mastodon timelines; Post content, including text, images, GIFs, polls; Use features like private messages, lists, and bookmarks; Change app icon and theme; Turn on a dark mode; access multiple accounts; and even undo posts with a custom duration, similar to Twitter. There are many gestures and customization options to make Mammoth feel personal.

The app also has an extensive set of less common features, such as in compose and more. As an iOS app, users can take advantage of things like Siri Shortcuts, Face ID and Touch ID, Share Extensions, and VoiceOver support. The app will soon be available for macOS as well, the company notes.

What’s potentially more interesting than all of Mammoth’s bells and whistles is its approach to user onboarding.

Choosing a server has often been cited as one of the more difficult parts of setting up Mastodon. It adds a layer of complexity to the setup process when users expect to be able to simply create a username and password like they are used to from other social networks. However, joining a server is part of what it means to join Mastodon and the broader group of interconnected servers known as Fediverse, so it cannot be bypassed.

To simplify this process, Mammoth offers a simplified user interface that guides users through the account setup process, including their profile creation. It also addresses the issue of who to follow on Mastodon by presenting an interface for finding suggested users across all categories – something Twitter did back then.

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Mammoth launched just a few days ago, but its 10,000 installs suggest that consumer demand for Mastodon apps persists, despite the competitive landscape that includes Mastodon’s official customers and a number of third-party apps, including the newly launched one Ivory by Tapbots.

While some consumer interest in Mastodon may have waned since Musk’s Twitter acquisition, interest in the broader Fediverse continues to grow.

Before Musk’s Twitter deal went through, the Fediverse — which owns Mastodon and a number of other social apps — had over 570,000 monthly users. Today the network has around 2.57 million. Businesses are also beginning to take notice. Tumblr’s owner has spoken of adopting the same protocol that powers Mastodon, and Flickr has considered the same. Blogging site Medium gained a foothold in Fediverse last month by launching its own community.

Mammoth is optimistic about the potential of the Fediverse and that of a decentralized internet in general.

The company says it will open-source its code in addition to running its own instance, and ultimately aims to make Mastodon easier for the next 10 million users, then the next 100 million. That’s an ambitious goal considering that even in the most recent quarter that it reported as a public company, Twitter had just 237.8 million monetizable daily active users, compared to Facebook’s 2 billion daily active users by most recent earnings. Whether a group of decentralized apps can ever carve out a large enough niche in the shadow of the tech giants remains to be seen. But it’s arguably a more promising development than Web3, which has gambled away consumer trust by allowing scammers and pyramid schemes to proliferate.

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Mammoth is a free download for iPhone and iPad and will be available for Mac soon.