Instapaper updates with quicker downloads, easier sharing

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Marco Arment's Instapaper is already one of the most-praised offerings in the iOS universe. But Arment continues to make improvements: On Wednesday, he launched an update that makes article downloads quicker, sharing easier, and even automates nighttime reading for users.

The popular app lets users save long-form articles for later, more focused reading than the usual skimming that RSS reading tends to encourage. Although the same app is available for use on both the iPhone and iPad, it acted differently on the two devices. Wednesday's update addresses that issue, adding to the iPhone version features previously available only on the iPad, including text summaries in the article list and the ability to switch to “dark” mode directly from the app's font panel. Not that you’ll need that feature much, because Arment also added another clever tweak: an option to have Instapaper automatically switch to nighttime reading based on sunset times in your location.

But the app's improvements aren't limited to its behavior on the iPhone. Arment promises that iPad downloads will be quicker and the article list has been updated on all devices to indicate the length of each article, along with a row of dots to indicate a user's progress through the article, similar to the Amazon Kindle's home screen.

Sharing is also easier: Articles can now be sent to OmniFocus or QuickReader; bugs in article sharing with Twitter and Twittelator Pro have also been fixed. Saving articles to Instapaper has also been improved: Mobile Safari users need only add an “i” at the beginning of a link's URL and Instapaper launches, offering to save the link to the app's article list.

Other updates to Instapaper include the ability to more easily make username changes, as well as the option to view articles directly in Safari instead of Instapaper's in-app browser.

Instapaper 2.3 costs $5, and is compatible with any device running iOS 3.0 or later. A free version, containing fewer features, is also available in the App Store.

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