Most people tend to start on Mastodon through the official app, which is simply called “Mastodon” and available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and F-Droid.
However, you don’t need to use the official app at all! You will probably enjoy Mastodon more if you sign up on a server through JoinMastodon.org ⧉ or Fedi.Garden ⧉ and then sign into your account using a third party app.
Mastodon was originally launched in 2016 and all of its apps were third party. The official app was only introduced in 2022 as new people were expecting there to be one, but it was intended just as a beginner’s app and was not meant to replace the third party apps. For these reasons, third party apps tend to have more features than the official app.
Because Mastodon uses open technical standards, all apps have equal access to all of Mastodon’s features. The official app has no special advantages or privileges.
Third party Mastodon apps
There are lots and lots of Mastodon and Fediverse apps out there. The official Mastodon website has a partial list ⧉, but if you just want a few quick simple suggestions here they are:
Mastodon’s web interface
You don’t even need an app at all! You can use Mastodon entirely through your server’s website. The Mastodon web interface is excellent and generally gets the latest features first. It can be used on computer, tablet or phone, and automatically changes to a mobile layout when used on a small screen.
On some phones, you can save the website as an icon and use it just like an app.