Twitter has adjusted its photo-cropping approach, a change it says will deliver “bigger and better images” to mobile users on Android and iOS.
Images with 2:1 and 3:4 aspect ratios will now be displayed in full, rather than in truncated form. The goal is to improve engagement as people scroll through their feeds. As the change has rolled out over the past day, the social media platform has lit up with images, especially of sprawling vistas of national parks, cityscapes and other large-canvas expanses. (See some examples below.)
The company had been testing the adjustment since March. It has recently upgraded image resolution to 4K and had also been sorting out a glitch with its algorithm that resulted in racially biased results.
The Twitter Support handle tweeted the news Wednesday, showing side-by-side images of a long-necked egret, demonstrating the “before” and “after” of the move. “No bird too tall, no crop too short,” the tweet declared.
While reaction to the change seemed largely positive, some longtime users expressed some wistfulness over the demise of a tactic that had been part of Twitter culture since its launch. Some users would tease followers by inviting them to “open for a surprise,” with the cropped image shown in the feed differing significantly from the full image inside the message itself. Because the new cropping setup is designed for mobile, those who treasure those surprise memes can still get their fix on a laptop.
Here is Twitter’s initial tweet, with some illustrated reactions:
no bird too tall, no crop too short
introducing bigger and better images on iOS and Android, now available to everyone pic.twitter.com/2buHfhfRAx
— Twitter (@Twitter) May 5, 2021
— Austin O’Connor (@oco_photo) May 6, 2021
Single photos with no crop? Twitter proving itself elite once again. pic.twitter.com/v0viedHy2g
— Drift (@DrifterShoots) May 5, 2021
Twitter crop is gone so here is the best tall photo ever pic.twitter.com/8WwWEFKb5s
— John Foley (@2008Philz) May 5, 2021
I can't say open for a cute surprise anymore 🤧 pic.twitter.com/UlSuV2Tqt1
— Anabel ⧖⧗ 🌿 (@Anabel_penguin) May 5, 2021
And below is the tweet last week about “Long Boi,” a record-height mallard duck whose photo racked up more than 200,000 likes. Twitter’s new photo cropping setup will allow for images like this to be appreciated in full.
"The tallest mallard duck to have ever lived (since records began) known as 'Long Boi.' He lives on the campus of the University of York, England. He stands just over 1m tall (3.5ft)." pic.twitter.com/YMQVRlfCb5
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) April 29, 2021