The legendary Google Reader was discontinued in 2013. That was a year before I discovered the power of using RSS newsreaders. I started using the Feedly newsreader and was quite happy with that. But when I stopped using Feedly I wanted to start over with a well designed and minimalist newsreader for my iPhone and iPad. After reading through a ton of reviews I chose Reeder 4 for iOS. In this blog my review after using the app for a few weeks.
Unfortunately I never used the legendary Google Reader. It was discontinued in 2013, a year before I discovered the power of using RSS newsreaders. Google Reader was launched in 2005 through Google Labs and it was brilliant. The reason it was discontinued was that it had a loyal but declining following and Google wanted to focus on fewer products. The weeks after the announcement, 3 million users switched to the Feedly newsreader. Feedly is also the newsreader I chose in 2014 when I was looking for an efficient way to find, organise and read news. I started with the free version and switched to the paid version a year later.
What is an RSS feed?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a web feed that allows users to access updates to websites in a standardized format. These feeds can allow a user to keep track of many different websites in a single news aggregator (Newsreader). The news aggregator will automatically check the RSS feed for new content.
A few weeks ago I decided to declutter my online life and unfortunately Feedly was one of the victims of my ‘account killing campaign’. The reason I stopped using Feedly was that it was too distracting for me. It was bloated, stuffed with RSS links I barely read and I kept hitting paywalls with many of the links I clicked on.
Reeder 4 for iOS
When I stopped using Feedly I wanted to start over and I started looking for a new small, well designed and minimalist newsreader for my iPhone and iPad. After doing online research and reading through a ton of reviews I chose Reeder 4 for iOS. Reeder started in 2011 when it served as a front end for the Web-based Google Reader. When Google killed Google Reader in 2013, Reeder lived on. This history with Google Reader is the reason that Reeder can pull in not only individual site feeds, but also aggregated feed data from other newsreaders like: Feedly, Feedbin, Feed Wrangler, FeedHQ and NewsBlur.
Reeder has a reputation for being a minimalist tool for efficiently processing RSS feeds, especially for iOS and MacOS users. Reeder 3 was extremely popular but was lacking updates, causing some problems with the newest iOS versions. Fortunately developer Silvio Rizzi has recently released Reeder 4. It is available on the App Store and Mac App Store for $4.99 and $9.99, respectively. The iOS and Mac versions are all but identical in appearance and functionality, which isn’t coincidental: the rebuilt apps now share a codebase. Which is handy for easier and hopefully more frequent updates.
Set it up with quality individual site feeds
I bought the iOS version for my iPhone and iPad and immediately started setting it up. Because I did not want to use an aggregated feed I started looking for quality individual site feeds. One great site I found with a lot of useful RSS links was this one.
I first created a group with ‘International News’ and added the feeds for: BBC News – World, CNN.com – World and Reuters News. Then I created a group with ‘Tech News’ and added the feeds for: Ars Technica, CNET, Engadget, The Verge and Wired. Finally I also added groups for several (personal) blogs I follow and local news and news from official Government (news) sources.
The Reeder 4 app has a great clean and minimalistic design. But still I wanted it to be even more minimalistic. That is why I use the settings: ‘greyscale favicons’ and ‘none image previews’. That gives me a distraction free and calm reading environment.
I have been using Reeder 4 for iOS a few weeks now and I absolutely love it! It is extremely fast and easy to use. The well known Apple ‘rubberbanding’ effect is also great. You can really tell it is optimized for all the latest iOS features and I think it is the best minimalistic newsreader for iOS on the market at the moment.