Twitter today updated its social network apps with a synced “read” status for direct messages, and also bundled in a decent spread of other new features. The first to receive the new additions were the iOS and Mac apps; you can download the new versions now directly from Apple’s App Store and Mac App Store.

Today’s updates may have started with Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms but it won’t be long before the others get the same treatment. In fact, Twitter says it is pushing “a coordinated update for seven different apps: Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com and TweetDeck.” Update: The Android update is now live on Google Play.

The direct messages change has been a long-time coming. Twitter users have been complaining for ages that direct messages have to be marked as read across all the apps and sites they access the social network from; I can’t stress how often I have read a direct message on TweetDeck, got excited that I had another one when I visited Twitter.com a bit later, and quickly realized I had been tricked!

Here’s how Twitter explains the new feature:

When you read a DM on your Android phone or iPhone, it will be marked as read in your browser, your desktop apps, or your tablet. And vice versa. Please note that syncing will roll out gradually: you’ll need to get the latest version of each app to ensure it works on all of your devices.

Next up, Twitter’s iOS and Android apps, as well as the mobile site, have received improvements to search results. When you search for people on Twitter, you may now see an expanded user result that shows a full bio. Furthermore, swiping the preview to the left will give you similar accounts. Lastly, a new in-app indicator in the search results will show you when there are new Tweets for your query.

The full Twitter 5.8 for iOS changelog is as follows:

  • When you read a Direct message it will be marked as read in all of your official Twitter apps, including twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for Mac, Twitter for Android and TweetDeck. When you read a message on another official Twitter app, it will be marked as read on iPhone and iPad.
  • It’s easier to join conversations with a new reply composer in the Tweet details view on iPhone.
  • Find new accounts to follow by tapping the new people button in the navigation bar.
  • Richer search results indicate when there are new Tweets for your query and show account results with bios and social context.
  • Report unwanted Tweets via the “More” button.

The second point notes a new reply composer, which looks like this:

IMG 2708 Twitter for Mac, iOS, Android, Web, mobile, and TweetDeck now sync direct messages

The full Twitter 2.30 for Mac changelog is as follows:

  • Now you can see when your Tweets have been retweeted or favorited, when you have a new follower, and when you’ve been added to a list in your @Connect timeline. You can also update your notification settings to see interactions in real time.
  • When you read a Direct message on Twitter for Mac it will be marked as read in all of your official Twitter apps, including Twitter for iPhone, Twitter for iPad, Twitter for Android, twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com and TweetDeck. When you read a message on another official Twitter app, it will be marked as read on your Mac.
  • Support for 6 new languages: Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Thai and Filipino.
  • Real names and @usernames appear together in all parts of the app.
  • Fixed character counting bug in the Tweet composer.
  • Fix for unfavoriting Tweets.
  • Fix for Growl notifications.
  • Other nifty fixes and improvements.

The full Twitter 4.1.2 for Android changelog is as follows:

  • Now when you read a Direct message it will be marked as read in all of your official Twitter apps (including twitter.com, mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for Mac, Twitter for iPad and TweetDeck) and vice versa.
  • As you search you can now see user avatars and clear past searches from the dropdown menu.
  • Richer search results indicate when there are new Tweets for your query and show account results with bios and social context.

This is a big update and will likely take quite some time before everyone has the latest versions to take advantage of all these features (especially the direct message syncing). We’ll continue to update this article as the new releases trickle out.