Price comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwide
For decades, major software versions were guaranteed to debut new features and fresh eye candy in the form of user interface enhancements. With the current subscription trend, developers have less incentive to wait for the next big release, instead choosing to roll out incremental updates as they’re ready.
But what happens when an app works so well that UI improvements are unnecessary? Such is the conundrum with Unread, an attractive RSS news reader client for iPhone and iPad. After changing hands in 2017, developer Golden Hill Software has finally debuted the long-awaited sequel with almost no changes to the sultry, gesture-based look and feel that made it a hit in the first place.
Despite lacking visual alterations, Unread 2 has plenty going on under the hood, such as the ability to manage feed subscriptions. Although Unread has always required an account with one or more RSS services (Feed Wrangler, Feedbin, Feedly, Fever, Inoreader, and NewsBlur are supported), there was no way to actually add or unsubscribe to feeds, let alone organize existing subscriptions without leaving the app. A glaring omission to be sure.
While inside an account, swiping right to left now reveals the Add Subscription option, where you can paste a new website or feed URL. Tap and hold to modify an existing subscription, which displays options relevant to your particular service—Feedly categories in my case—from which you can unsubscribe or reassign existing subscriptions to another category.
Unread 2 also conveniently includes directly saving articles to read later services Instapaper and Pocket, as well as options to copy the article link or add to Safari Reading List. One of these options can also be initiated by double tapping on an article, or you can configure this action to save or toggle read/unread status.
Full article text
One of the less intuitive aspects of RSS is how article summaries are displayed by default, rather than the entire text of a webpage. This is by design, of course, and allows a reader to quickly browse articles until something catches your eye, at which point the full article can be loaded and read in Safari.
Unread 2 eases this limitation by automatically loading the entire text of an article in the background from the get-go. This is one of those features that just works, and so seamlessly you won’t want to live without it. There is one exception, however: websites that lock the full text of articles behind a paywall, but thankfully I rarely hit this limitation in testing.
Version 2.0 is also a big update for iPad owners, kicking off with excellent keyboard support. If you frequently connect an external keyboard to your tablet, Unread is delightfully easy to navigate without ever touching the screen, especially when scrolling up or down through articles with the arrow keys.
Unread likewise takes full advantage of new iPadOS features, including multiple windows, allowing users to scroll through a list of feeds in one column while reading articles on the other, for example. And that’s not all: you can now drag and drop links into other apps, customize the app icon from 14 choices, and there’s also support for contextual menus.
While little may have changed visually, Unread 2 is completely different when it comes to cost. Instead of the “pay once, use forever” business model of the previous version, after reading 50 articles you’ll have to subscribe for $20 annually or settle for only three articles per day with no text or image caching.
Although the overall look and feel remains the same, Unread 2 is a significant update that’s well worth the annual subscription, especially for iPad owners.