The Best News Apps
Who has the time to read a newspaper these days? With so many of us getting our news from digital sources, if you want to stay on top of current events, then a great news app is going to be one of the first things that you download to your new smart phone. Fortunately, there are a whole bunch to choose from. You can certainly download the app from your favourite news channel (whether that’s the BBC, CNN or a host of others), but if you’re looking to get your news in a personalised way, then you might want to check out some of these…
Flipboard is a great little app, and a popular one with news junkies. Basically, the app lets you design your own magazine. You choose which news sources you want to include, plus you can add in social media content from Facebook, LinkinIn etc. You choose the categories that you’re interested in, and boom, a new issue that’s updated every day, designed around what you want to see. You can even save your favourite articles and read off line.
Flipboard is easy to use, you simply flip between pages as you would in a magazine (as the name implies). And whilst setting up all your preferences can be a little time consuming, the end result is a personalised news app that’s extremely good at predicting what you’re going to want to read. It’s free too, and available for Android and iOS.
News Republic gives you a visual twist on the news. Opening the app presents you with a tiled screen filled with pictures representing different hot stories. As strange as that sounds, it actually works quite well and it’s pretty clear what pictures are referring to. You can drag tiles around and make icons bigger and smaller so you get a view that works for you.
What we like most about News Republic though is the ability to navigate around related stories. By hitting the Tag Nav system you’ll be presented with news that’s linked to the story you’re currently reading, handy if you like to check more than one source before you believe something. News Republic is free, and available for Android, iOS and Windows.
Busy people don’t always have time to scroll through an entire news article, which is where Circa comes in. Rather than sourcing news articles from other sites as many news aggregators do, Circa editors condense stories down to bite size facts, resulting in a full daily news update that can be read in just a few minutes.
You get one news “chunk” at a time, which can take some getting used to, though it does mean that your screen doesn’t get cluttered, and flipping to the next chunk is pretty fast. Plus, this is a relatively new app, so there aren’t tons of news categories to choose from yet, but that’s set to change in the near future. Circa is free and available for Android and iOS.
In a similar way to Flipboard, Pulse pulls news from lots of different sources (that you choose) and in different categories (which again, you choose). The Pulse layout is a little different though. In each category you’ll get a tiled screen, each tile representing a story and each horizontal line representing one news source.
Again, you can add social media feeds and blogs, and save for off line reading. Better yet though, Pulse synchs across devices, meaning that you can read half an article on your phone on your commute and finish it on your PC when you get home. Pulse is free and available for Android, iOS and Windows.
Zite is yet another news aggregator, pulling stories from different web sources, but it’s got a few nice tricks up its sleeve. It is an absolutely beautiful app, with huge pictures displayed on the home page and small headlines. That makes it nice to look at, though loading the page on a slow data connection is a pain.
There are two things that make Zite special. One is that you rate every story with a thumbs up or thumbs down, which allows the app to guess what you’re going to be interested in. The second is it’s immensely detailed category selection. You don’t get the regular ten or so news categories here, you get a full 40,000 topics to choose from, meaning you can be updated on very specific things indeed. Zite is free and available for Android and iOS but won’t be around forever as it was acquired by Flipboard in 2014.
There are a few other, more specific apps that really deserve a mention here. If you’re into getting your news from social news sources, rather than traditional sources, then you might want to consider downloading either the Digg or the Reddit clients that are available for both Android and iOS.
For big news magazine readers, Zinio will let you download digital editions of all the big names and you pay by issue. The app itself is free and available for iOS and Android, though you’ll need to pay either a per issue fee or a subscription for the magazine that you’re interested in.
Finally, there’s a handy little reader app that news junkies should definitely consider getting. Pocket is basically an app that lets you save stories for later. If an article catches your interest somewhere (as long as you’re browsing on your phone of course) then you can click the icon to save it to Pocket and continue doing other things. Pocket downloads the article to your phone, and you can then read it any time you like (even without a data connection). Pocket is free and available for iOS and Android.
There really are plenty of news apps to choose from, and if you’re a digital news hound then any one of the above apps will be a delight for you. So why get all your news from just one source? With these apps you get the best of the news from all over the world, without having to download hundreds of different news site apps. And you get them all for free too!