There’s no shortage of news on the internet no matter what topics or hobbies you’re into, and sometimes it can be tough to stay on top of keeping up with it, especially if you’re busy with families, jobs, or anything else. When you’re browsing your Twitter timeline on a break at work, you might see an interesting article about a new Android phone, but you might not have enough time to actually read it right then and there. You could always bookmark the page in your favorite web browser, but then you’ll end up with a ton of clutter, and managing those would be a headache.
Fortunately, there are several apps and services that try to tackle this problem. These apps give you a separate area to save and bookmark content to read later so they’re not muddled in with your regular bookmarks in Chrome. Plus, they offer a few different things that your typical browser won’t offer, like easy tagging and archiving of articles. We’ll go over a few of the best options to get you started.
Pocket, which actually used to be called Read It Later, is one of the best apps for saving content to check out later. The app itself takes a very simple approach to keeping up with your stuff. Just ind the website, video, or link that you want to save, and share it like you would if you wanted to email it to a friend. Instead of emailing it, though, just use the Add to Pocket button in Android’s contextual sharing menu. Poof, Pocket will hang on to that article indefinitely.
Once content is in Pocket, you can do a few things with it. If you’re an organizational person like I am, you can tag articles and content with any number of user-defined tags to make everything easier to find later. You could tag your saved Android articles with “Android” and “technology,” for example, and then browse through all of your tags later to read up on that particular topic. Once you’re done with an article, you can mark it as done so it’ll disappear to an archive of things you’ve read, or you can favorite it to further separate it from other articles. That’s useful in place of actually bookmarking something you think you’ll come back to more than once.
Pocket also offers a few other nifty features, including being able to save articles for offline viewing, and once you’ve saved enough articles, you’ll have access to the Highlights feature that displays and organizes all of your content in a way that makes it easy to read the important stuff first. It’s almost like your own personal curated news source.
One of the best things about Pocket is how widely available it is. There’s an Android app, iOS app, plus tons of extensions and web pages for any browser you’re using. There’s also a Pocket Premium subscription that brings a few extra features to the app, including quicker tools to organize your library of random articles and videos.
Readability is another fantastic “save for later” app that focuses on building a clean, de-cluttered reading list based on what you want to keep up with. Like Pocket and other apps, all you have to do is add an article to Readability, and let the service handle the rest.
Readability keeps up with saved articles in your reading list, and whenever you want to catch up on your reading, the app will display everything in a very clean style without all of the clutter that’s normally coupled with websites. It removes lots of the extra visual fluff on sites and puts all of the content into a single column view for reading. It can sometimes be distracting to read an article with tons of links and ads all over the sidebar, especially if it’s an article that requires some critical thinking. Readability solves that problem in the most elegant way possible.
Of course, the app wouldn’t be complete without a few customization and sharing options. You can adjust how large or small text is, plus change the fonts completely and use either a day or night mode. And once an article is in your reading list, you can save it as a favorite, archive it for later, or send a link to your friends. Like Pocket, there are apps for most ecosystems and browsers, so you’ll never be without access to your reading list.
If you’re looking for something a little more clean than Pocket, Readability offers an excellent, completely free alternative.
Instapaper started as a paid iOS app before transitioning to a free model, then finally making its way to Android. Since then, it has grown into a clean, effective way to manage articles and information on multiple devices. It sits somewhere between Pocket and Readability, as it offers more features than Readability but a cleaner, simpler interface than Pocket.
Like the other apps, you can quickly save an article to your Instapaper account, which can then be accessed later on the web or any other device with the Instapaper app installed. Instapaper typically only saves the text portions of web sites, so you won’t see the excess clutter or anything else when you’re viewing it later. This cleaned up, text-only look perfectly matches the white interface that Instapaper sports within its app.
Instapaper has a very well optimized tablet interface, plus a slew of customization options for viewing your articles. You can adjust font sizes and types, margins and line spacing, and switch between a light and dark mode, depending on your preference. You also get a handful of sorting options for looking through your clips, such as article length, popularity, or date. There’s also a completely random shuffle mode for articles, too.
A very cool feature that Instapaper offers is its highlighting tool. Since the app only displays site’s text, you can use the tool to highlight specific sentences, paragraphs, or quotes, and save them for later or share them. It’s just like using a highlighter in real life, but significantly more versatile.
Instapaper will hold 500 articles on your device at one time, but on the web, there’s no limit on your account. Pretty cool for a free service.
Any guide isn’t really complete until Evernote manages to work its way in, and yep, the note-taking, jack-of-all-trades application does make a pretty decent bookmarking/read later service. It’s not specifically designed to handle your web content like that, but it does it well enough that it might be just what you need to integrate with everything else you already have on Evernote.
Evernote has complete web clipping functionality built right in, although it’s not quite as obvious to access as the other apps. If you’re looking at an article, you can share the content to Evernote with Android’s built-in sharing menu. If you don’t do anything, Evernote will save that URL in a note with the web page as its title. If you tap the Evernote icon right after sharing it, you’ll have the option to add some tags to your note and clip the entire article instead of just the URL. This works pretty similarly to how the web clipper extension does with a desktop browser. The only problem is that you cannot save a simplified version of the article from your mobile device, but you can on the desktop.
Aside from that, Evernote goes toe-to-toe with all of the other apps with its feature list. You’ll still get a very robust tagging system, simple ways to organize different links into different notebooks, and complete integration with the rest of your Evernote items if you already use the service for other things. This can be extremely useful to have everything in one place, especially if you use it for things like cooking recipes or any kind of research.
Like all of the other apps, Evernote has a presence on every major platform, and there are tons of extensions and add-ons for it, too, so you’ll have complete access to any articles, videos, pictures, or anything else that you need to save. Plus, with some of Evernote’s more advanced tools like Skitch and their Web Clipper, you get more fine-tuned control over exactly what you’re saving. That might be overkill for some people, but power users may appreciate the extra features.
These apps all do an excellent job of saving the important stuff that you want to read. Each one offers something a little different from their competitors, but they’ll all help to keep you organized and on top of your favorite stories.
Do you have another favorite app that I missed? Let me know in the comments.