How to delete all your tweets with Cardigan

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Tweet tweet, delete delete!
Tweet tweet, delete delete!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Want to delete your tweets? Maybe you don’t like keeping all those years-old opinions hanging around. Or maybe you just don’t like Twitter having so much info on you, all in one place. Or maybe you’re just sick of Twitter and want out, but not without nuking it from orbit before you go.

The trouble is, it takes an age to manually delete all your tweets. Unless you want to drive yourself crazy, you’ll need to use a third-party tool to do it.

While authorizing a third-party service to use your Twitter account might seem a bit scary, if you’re deleting everything anyway, who cares?

I picked Cardigan for this how-to, as it seems like the nicest of the tweet deleters. Here’s how to use it.

Rough guide to Cardigan

One thing to note: This how-to is a rough guide to let you know what you’re getting yourself into. Cardigan has an excellent FAQ, and walks you through the process so you always now what’s about to happen. It seems pointless to duplicate that, so this an overview for the delete-curious.

How to delete your tweets with Cardigan

There are two parts to any tweetpocalypse. First, you can have a service delete your 3,200 most-recent tweets for you. This is a limit set by Twitter. The service — Cardigan, for example — will actually delete your tweets one by one. Apparently there’s no bulk-deletion option, even for bots.

Ready to delete your tweets? Choose your weapon.
Choose your weapon.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you have 3,200 tweets or fewer, then you’re done. If not, you will have to upload an archive of your tweets to Cardigan, and it will get to work.

Let’s go with the first option. Tap the button labeled Fetch from Twitter. Cardigan will collect your most recent 3,200 tweets. It’s pretty quick. After a short while, tap reload in the status screen, and you’ll be able see the progress.

Then, you can browse your tweets and choose which to delete. There is a search function, and you can filter your tweets to narrow them down. You can also choose to delete only your likes, which can be handy. But today we’re here to delete everything, so you just need to tap the Delete All button over at the top right of the page. Then, you’ll get this warning:

Cardigan warns you before you do anything irreversible.

Check the box and hit the Delete button to proceed. Your tweets will now be nuked.

Archive your tweets

This is the button you want.
This is the button you want.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you have more than 3,200 tweets, you’ll need to upload an archive of all your tweets to Cardigan, and it will use that to guide the deletion process. To get your archive, you need to request it from Twitter. This is done from your Twitter account page. On the Twitter site, go to your Settings page, click Account in the sidebar, and scroll down until you see the Your Tweet Archive section. Click to request it. You may need to authenticate with your password.

If you’re viewing the site from an iPad or iPhone, you may only be able to find this section:

Do NOT use this section.
Do NOT use this section.
Photo: Cult of Mac

That’s not the one you want. Go ahead and grab it — it’s a whole bunch of your Twitter data, including some images. But it’s not the archive of all your tweets.

Twitter will gather your tweets into an archive, and then send you a link via email. Once you have that link, download the .zip file. (Important: Do not unzip it.) Keep it somewhere safe. You have 30 days to download the archive before the link expires. Make sure you get the tweet archive, and not your Twitter data

Then, back at Cardigan, you start the process over. Only this time, when you see the How do you want to fetch your tweets? page, choose the archive option. Then follow Cardigan’s instructions.

Delete all your tweets

Once you have successfully uploaded your archive, you can delete your tweets, just like before. The difference this time is that you must pay 99 cents per 10,000 tweets (to cover server costs, says Cardigan). You can pay via PayPal.

And that’s it! Your Twitter history is history. Now you can either put your account into suspended animation, or keep using it, and deleting your older tweets from time to time.