Read-later apps are a convenient way to bookmark digital content that you want to return to. Such apps can save articles, Twitter threads, and even entire websites so that you can revisit them.
This can come in handy when you don’t immediately have spare time to browse, but you’ll have a moment later to catch up on current affairs — say during your commute. As a bonus, they allow you to access content when you don’t have an internet connection. We’re highlighting five tried-and-tested read-later apps that we strongly recommend, presented in alphabetical order.
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All these apps have a free tier, so you can find a read later solution that offers the right layout, and has the features you need before deciding to go premium.
Credit: Screenshot / Apple
Instapaper is a very popular app that offers a highly rated way of saving and storing articles to read later. Instapaper’s formatting is one of its major strengths. The app saves the content of web pages into iOS-optimized formatting, making it easy to read, especially on a small screen.
Adding to that ease of reading is that you can customize how your content appears on screen, with various fonts to choose from, different color themes, and various spacing options. It’s simple to organize your Instapaper content too, with folders to sort your saved articles into categories, and the ability to sort articles by popularity, date, and article length.
Instapaper works offline, offers the ability to highlight text and add up to five notes a month, and gives you text-to-speech functionality so you can listen to your saved content, giving your eyes a break.
Instapaper’s free offering is a robust option that will suit most average users. However, if you want to take things further you can opt into an Instapaper Premium subscription for $2.99 a month, or $29.99 a year. Premium gets you full-text search for articles you’ve saved, unlimited highlights and notes, a text-to-speech playlist to listen to multiple articles, and unlimited use of the speed reading feature.
Instapaper is available for iPhone on the Apple App Store(opens in a new tab).
Credit: Screenshot / Apple
Matter is an iOS and Mac “reader” app that its creators call a “powerful reading tool for active and demanding readers.” Matter allows you to save articles, Twitter threads, and PDFs into your Matter “Queue” to check out later even if you’re offline. You can also listen to your saved content with a human-sounding voice.
In Matter, you can also subscribe to individual writers wherever they publish. Matter currently says it offers “over 10,000 leading journalists, bloggers, and authors” that you can subscribe to, getting their fresh content in your feed.
Matter is also designed so that you can get all your newsletter subscriptions – free and paid – delivered straight to the app. To do this, you can either connect your Gmail account or, when you sign up for a new subscription, use your unique Matter email address to receive content directly into the app.
Matter offers friction-free highlighting by long-pressing and dragging your finger across your screen. The app can also generate what Matter calls “Quoteshots,” snippets of text that are optimized for sharing on Twitter.
Matter also offers discovery options. The app has a tab that is dedicated to “Staff Picks.” Every day, Matter handpicks between five and 10 recommendations from across Twitter that you can choose to peruse.
Matter is available for iPhone on the Apple App Store(opens in a new tab).
Credit: Screenshot / Apple
NewsPal is an absolutely fab “offline browser” tool that has a free tier but is well worth shelling out the $0.99 a month, or $7.99 annual fee, that the full-fat premium offering currently costs. Premium takes away the 200MB download limit, giving you more capacity for more content.
NewsPal was created after the developer was “sick and tired” of being forced to play games when they were stuck on the subway. This offline reader will ensure you have something to read wherever you may be with its ability to download entire websites to your device, and then instantly load an ad-free version for you to browse.
NewsPal provides the useful ability to set download schedulers. This means that you can set NewsPal to automatically download the latest version of your favorite websites overnight, then be able to browse fresh content on your morning commute — even without any cellular coverage.
The app employs an AI-powered auto-update feature, which learns your NewsPal usage pattern, and will adjust your content refresh time respectively.
NewsPal is available for iPhone in the Apple App Store(opens in a new tab).
Credit: Screenshot / Apple
PaperSpan gives you the ability to save articles to read or listen to at any time that suits you, even when you have no internet connection. PaperSpan offers a clean, “no noise,” ad-free layout that is easy to read on both phones and tablets, with the option to choose a dark or light theme, change the font, and adjust brightness.
PaperSpan’s organization functionality is strong — the app automatically auto-categorizes content so you can select your next read to match your mood. You can search content by only seeing unread articles, and you can also filter content by reading time, so if you only have five minutes to spare, you can tailor your next read or listen to suit that timeframe. You can also organize your articles into folders.
The free tools within the PaperSpan app include the ability to highlight text, create notes, and send single articles to your Kindle device. PaperSpan offers some interesting analytics; how many articles you’ve read, how many you have to read, and a snapshot of your reading habits by creating a word cloud.
If your reading statistics are something you’re interested in, you may want to consider PaperSpan Premium for $8.99 a year. This offers further insights into your reading routine showing you your read rate, daily peak reading time, categories you read, and your most popular sites. It also brings advanced search, playlist creation for audio, and the ability to send multiple articles to your Kindle.
PaperSpan is available for iPhone in the Apple App Store(opens in a new tab) and for Android in the Google Play Store(opens in a new tab).
We’re fans of Pocket’s “Save. Read. Grow.” mantra. In the developers’ words, Pocket has been designed to capture the content that comes at you all day long, allowing you to curate your own space filled with only the topics you care about. You can use Pocket to save stories, articles, news, sports, and videos from anywhere online to access later, even if you’re offline.
Pocket is another option that boasts a clutter-free, clean layout that can be customized to suit your preference. It offers a dark theme, as well as a sepia theme that’s specially designed to “reduce visual stimulation” before you sleep. Pocket has a “listen” feature that turns text into a hands-free, and eyes-free, audio experience. Pocket also provides estimated reading times.
Pocket’s discovery options are high-quality and a great way of finding new content. Pocket offers up “Best of the Web” content that’s been discovered by Pocket users and approved by Pocket curators.
As with all these read-later apps, Pocket, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is free to download and use. If you want to go ad-free and premium, for $4.99 a month, or $49.99 a year, you can enjoy a permanent library of your saves, even if they disappear from the web, see suggested tags, carry out full-text searches, be able to make unlimited highlights (the free version limits you to three per article), and get access to premium fonts.
Pocket is available for iPhone in the Apple App Store(opens in a new tab) and for Android in the Google Play Store(opens in a new tab).