Keeping up on current events in important but in a 24-hour news cycle it can be hard to keep up. Downloading an app and setting up notifications is a good way to stay updated. Of course you can download an app from your favorite newspaper or website, but many have paywalls and sometimes you just want to scan headlines and not read full articles. These five free apps pull together stories from different places so you never miss anything, and are all available for Apple or Android.
1. Circa News
Gather all your favorite news sites in one place with Circa News. The app keeps things short, only wanting fast facts. Use this to catch up with what’s been going on in the morning or evening. Set up notifications for even faster updates. Upon opening the app, you can make an account and choose the kinds of articles you want to be updated on. You can continue on without signing in and browse the most recent headlines. Articles are laid out with bullet points of the most important facts. When you find a story you’re particularly interested in you can choose to follow the story and receive updates about that particular one. You can even share it by text, email, Twitter or Facebook. If you have even less time, check out the new Wire feature that provide seven or eight extra brief articles. After you’ve viewed a post, the app check marks it so you know you’ve read it.
- Ability to customize topics based on your interests
- Informative combination of quotes, facts and photos
- No ads
- A bit difficult to search for a particular story
- Few updates on the weekend
- Can’t mark stories as unread
2. Yahoo News Digest
Yahoo takes important articles and summarizes them into easily digestible bites. The app delivers several stories twice a day. Each one is color coded much like Trivial Pursuit, so you can easily decide which to read. Under the headline, it states where the information came from and has icons that say whether or not it includes photos, videos, tweets or charts. At the bottom of the page, there is a chart saying how many of the current ones you’ve read. You look at all the articles in a list or open one then swipe right to see the others. If you missed an update, go to the calendar and choose a day and time to see more stories. It also has a countdown of when the next digest will come. Choose between the US, UK, Canada and International edition and learn about the world. Click share halfway down the post to send an article by email, Facebook or Twitter.
- Easy to use interface
- Icons and color coding show what each article holds at a glance
- Updates twice a day
- Can’t search for certain stories or topics
- Can’t customize categories
- Only get ten articles in each update
Digg compiles articles from around the web into one convenient spot. It captures a snapshot of what is most popular on the Internet so you don’t have to look around. Read articles from New Republic, Gizmodo, ESPN and others without switching between apps. Digg displays the articles on their original site so the format doesn’t get distorted. Sign in with Facebook, Twitter and Google to prioritize the articles your friends are talking about the most. Sometimes reading off a screen in the dark can strain your eyes, so Digg allows you to switch to Dark or Auto mode to adjust to the environment. If you have the app downloaded on multiple devices, activate Reading Sync to pick up where you left off an article when switching between a phone or tablet. Save, like and share articles using the icons at the top of any page. Flip a switch to just see the text version of a story. It gets rid of the ads and colors, which makes reading easier. The user can even add a favorite publication based on different categories. If you like business more than sports, load up your feed with mostly business sites.
- Displays how many likes each story gets
- Has a way to display all video posts
- Compiles saved articles
- Can’t customize topics
- Search function isn’t very helpful
- Displays ads from other sites
The first menu thing News360 asks you to do is choose your favorite topics. Pick your favorite things to read about and the app will pull articles about those. Browse through the main feed on the homepage to look at stories from all of the categories you marked. If you’re just interested in entertainment or technology, swipe down to view different topics, choose one and look through all the stories that fit under that. Articles are displayed in the News360 reader, so all the ads and colors are gone leaving just text. If you want to view its original form, scroll to the bottom and hit the icon of the publication it came from. When you open a story, it will have a number in the upper corner that will lead to the other posts about that specific topic. With the menu at the bottom, make the text bigger or smaller and switch the screen from day to night. The app needs an internet connection to work but if you save an article to favorites, you can read it offline. Hit like or dislike on a story and the app will begin to learn your habits and format your feed around them.
- App changes according to user preference
- Ability to change edition to many places around the world
- Set notifications for particular categories
- Only shows two stories at a time
- Doesn’t have archive or articles from the day
- Hard to search for specific stories or ideas
Newsify is completely customizable. Made for people who have too many social profiles, you can pull in any website or blog you want. Make it your one-stop for news. Search for sites by name or by going through categories. The home page is a compilation of the sites you’ve chosen or you can go to a certain topic or site. Stories are displayed in blocks, so you can easily see the headline and photo. Click on one and you are able to save it to favorites to read later or share it with friends. Select the circle icon and the article will be marked as unread. Whenever a new article is posted, a note will appear at the bottom of the page letting you know and then to it will refresh. This note is on top of an ad so be careful when you click on it. The app marks articles you’ve read and you can go through just those. Customize the theme depending on what is easier to read for you. Though the app is only available for Apple at this time, the company is in the process of developing an Android one that should be released within the next few months. Check back for updates.
- Extremely customizable
- Displays any website in feed
- Has option to refresh when new articles appear
- Images sometimes don’t load
- Feed is a little clunky at times
- Has banner ads