How to retrieve more than 100 tweets with the Twitter API and Twitter4J

When you call Twitter’s Search API, you can retrieve up to 100 tweets at a time.  Many people, when they first start to work with the API, wonder how they can retrieve more than that.  This is a sample Java program that shows that process.

The basic process is as follows.  You retrieve your first set of tweets using the Search API as you would if you were only looking to pull down a few tweets.  But in processing those tweets, you remember the lowest ID.  Tweet IDs are Java longs, and they are sorted in approximate chronological order.  (For the purposes of the API and our code, it is safe to assume they are in exact chronological order).  Then, you make a second call to Twitter with the same search, except this time you also indicate that the maximum tweet ID you wish to retrieve is one lower than the lowest one you’ve seen already.

You can repeat this process as much as you wish, subject to rate limits that control how fast you make the calls, and subject to how much data Twitter can find for you in the search index.

The following code demonstrates how to do this.  It was tested against Twitter4J 3.0.5, and uses JDK 1.7:

 * 	Demonstration of how to retrieve more than 100 tweets using the Twitter API.
 * 	It is based upon the Application Authentication example, and therefore uses application
 * 	authentication.  It does not matter that much which type of authentication you use, although
 * 	it will effect your rate limits.
 * 	You will note that this code has only the bare minimum of error handling.  A real production application
 * 	would have a lot more code in it to catch, diagnose, and recover from errors at all points of interaction
 * 	with Twitter.
 * 	@author	Charles McGuinness
package us.mcguinness;

import twitter4j.*;
import twitter4j.auth.OAuth2Token;
import twitter4j.conf.ConfigurationBuilder;

import java.util.Map;

public class Main {

	//	Set this to your actual CONSUMER KEY and SECRET for your application as given to you by
	private static final String CONSUMER_KEY		= "--your key goes here--";
	private static final String CONSUMER_SECRET 	= "--your secret goes here--";

	//	How many tweets to retrieve in every call to Twitter. 100 is the maximum allowed in the API
	private static final int TWEETS_PER_QUERY		= 100;

	//	This controls how many queries, maximum, we will make of Twitter before cutting off the results.
	//	You will retrieve up to MAX_QUERIES*TWEETS_PER_QUERY tweets.
	//  If you set MAX_QUERIES high enough (e.g., over 450), you will undoubtedly hit your rate limits
	//  and you an see the program sleep until the rate limits reset
	private static final int MAX_QUERIES			= 5;

	//	What we want to search for in this program.  Justin Bieber always returns as many results as you could
	//	ever want, so it's safe to assume we'll get multiple pages back...
	private static final String SEARCH_TERM			= "Justin Bieber";

	 * Replace newlines and tabs in text with escaped versions to making printing cleaner
	 * @param text	The text of a tweet, sometimes with embedded newlines and tabs
	 * @return		The text passed in, but with the newlines and tabs replaced
	public static String cleanText(String text)
		text = text.replace("\n", "\\n");
		text = text.replace("\t", "\\t");

		return text;

	 * Retrieve the "bearer" token from Twitter in order to make application-authenticated calls.
	 * This is the first step in doing application authentication, as described in Twitter's documentation at
	 * Note that if there's an error in this process, we just print a message and quit.  That's a pretty
	 * dramatic side effect, and a better implementation would pass an error back up the line...
	 * @return	The oAuth2 bearer token
	public static OAuth2Token getOAuth2Token()
		OAuth2Token token = null;
		ConfigurationBuilder cb;

		cb = new ConfigurationBuilder();


			token = new TwitterFactory(;
		catch (Exception e)
			System.out.println("Could not get OAuth2 token");

		return token;

	 * Get a fully application-authenticated Twitter object useful for making subsequent calls.
	 * @return	Twitter4J Twitter object that's ready for API calls
	public static Twitter getTwitter()
		OAuth2Token token;

		//	First step, get a "bearer" token that can be used for our requests
		token = getOAuth2Token();

		//	Now, configure our new Twitter object to use application authentication and provide it with
		//	our CONSUMER key and secret and the bearer token we got back from Twitter
		ConfigurationBuilder cb = new ConfigurationBuilder();




		//	And create the Twitter object!
		return new TwitterFactory(;


	public static void main(String[] args)
		//	We're curious how many tweets, in total, we've retrieved.  Note that TWEETS_PER_QUERY is an upper limit,
		//	but Twitter can and often will retrieve far fewer tweets
		int	totalTweets = 0;

		//	This variable is the key to our retrieving multiple blocks of tweets.  In each batch of tweets we retrieve,
		//	we use this variable to remember the LOWEST tweet ID.  Tweet IDs are (java) longs, and they are roughly
		//	sequential over time.  Without setting the MaxId in the query, Twitter will always retrieve the most
		//	recent tweets.  Thus, to retrieve a second (or third or ...) batch of Tweets, we need to set the Max Id
		//	in the query to be one less than the lowest Tweet ID we've seen already.  This allows us to page backwards
		//	through time to retrieve additional blocks of tweets
		long maxID = -1;

		Twitter twitter = getTwitter();

		//	Now do a simple search to show that the tokens work
			//	There are limits on how fast you can make API calls to Twitter, and if you have hit your limit
			//	and continue to make calls Twitter will get annoyed with you.  I've found that going past your
			//	limits now and then doesn't seem to be problematic, but if you have a program that keeps banging
			//	the API when you're not allowed you will eventually get shut down.
			//	Thus, the proper thing to do is always check your limits BEFORE making a call, and if you have
			//	hit your limits sleeping until you are allowed to make calls again.
			//	Every time you call the Twitter API, it tells you how many calls you have left, so you don't have
			//	to ask about the next call.  But before the first call, we need to find out whether we're already
			//	at our limit.

			//	This returns all the various rate limits in effect for us with the Twitter API
			Map<String, RateLimitStatus> rateLimitStatus = twitter.getRateLimitStatus("search");

			//	This finds the rate limit specifically for doing the search API call we use in this program
			RateLimitStatus searchTweetsRateLimit = rateLimitStatus.get("/search/tweets");

			//	Always nice to see these things when debugging code...
			System.out.printf("You have %d calls remaining out of %d, Limit resets in %d seconds\n",

			//	This is the loop that retrieve multiple blocks of tweets from Twitter
			for (int queryNumber=0;queryNumber < MAX_QUERIES; queryNumber++)
				System.out.printf("\n\n!!! Starting loop %d\n\n", queryNumber);

				//	Do we need to delay because we've already hit our rate limits?
				if (searchTweetsRateLimit.getRemaining() == 0)
					//	Yes we do, unfortunately ...
					System.out.printf("!!! Sleeping for %d seconds due to rate limits\n", searchTweetsRateLimit.getSecondsUntilReset());

					//	If you sleep exactly the number of seconds, you can make your query a bit too early
					//	and still get an error for exceeding rate limitations
					// 	Adding two seconds seems to do the trick. Sadly, even just adding one second still triggers a
					//	rate limit exception more often than not.  I have no idea why, and I know from a Comp Sci
					//	standpoint this is really bad, but just add in 2 seconds and go about your business.  Or else.
					Thread.sleep((searchTweetsRateLimit.getSecondsUntilReset()+2) * 1000l);

				Query q = new Query(SEARCH_TERM);			// Search for tweets that contains this term
				q.setCount(TWEETS_PER_QUERY);				// How many tweets, max, to retrieve
				q.resultType("recent");						// Get all tweets
				q.setLang("en");							// English language tweets, please

				//	If maxID is -1, then this is our first call and we do not want to tell Twitter what the maximum
				//	tweet id is we want to retrieve.  But if it is not -1, then it represents the lowest tweet ID
				//	we've seen, so we want to start at it-1 (if we start at maxID, we would see the lowest tweet
				//	a second time...
				if (maxID != -1)
					q.setMaxId(maxID - 1);

				//	This actually does the search on Twitter and makes the call across the network
				QueryResult r =;

				//	If there are NO tweets in the result set, it is Twitter's way of telling us that there are no
				//	more tweets to be retrieved.  Remember that Twitter's search index only contains about a week's
				//	worth of tweets, and uncommon search terms can run out of week before they run out of tweets
				if (r.getTweets().size() == 0)
					break;			// Nothing? We must be done

				//	loop through all the tweets and process them.  In this sample program, we just print them
				//	out, but in a real application you might save them to a database, a CSV file, do some
				//	analysis on them, whatever...
				for (Status s: r.getTweets())				// Loop through all the tweets...
					//	Increment our count of tweets retrieved

					//	Keep track of the lowest tweet ID.  If you do not do this, you cannot retrieve multiple
					//	blocks of tweets...
					if (maxID == -1 || s.getId() < maxID)
						maxID = s.getId();

					//	Do something with the tweet....
					System.out.printf("At %s, @%-20s said:  %s\n",


				//	As part of what gets returned from Twitter when we make the search API call, we get an updated
				//	status on rate limits.  We save this now so at the top of the loop we can decide whether we need
				//	to sleep or not before making the next call.
				searchTweetsRateLimit = r.getRateLimitStatus();

		catch (Exception e)
			//	Catch all -- you're going to read the stack trace and figure out what needs to be done to fix it
			System.out.println("That didn't work well...wonder why?");



		System.out.printf("\n\nA total of %d tweets retrieved\n", totalTweets);
		//	That's all, folks!


Remember, this is just sample code, and you will want to improve it quite a bit before you use it for production.  You may find that the code does things in ways that seem sub-optimal to you, but beware: sometimes it’s just to make the code simpler, but sometimes it’s because that’s what it took to actually make things work.  So if you improve the code and it breaks, it may be because I had coded around some flakiness in the API.

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