Read 'em and heap
iOS App of the Week Instapaper has been around on Macs, PCs and various mobile platforms for a few years now and I’d started to take it for granted, only using it to save the occasional long or important article that I knew I’d want to come back to at a later date. However, the iOS app has just had a big update to version 4 that has reworked the interface and reminded me how useful it can be.
Saved stories are presented with a newspaper look
Like Safari’s Reader option, the Instapaper app reformats articles on web pages to make them easier to read. However, Instapaper’s Read Later command also allows you to save articles and download them for offline reading at your leisure.
You can archive stories, saving them onto the Instapaper servers in order to save space on your iDevice. And you can sync stories across multiple devices so that you can switch from computer to iPad or iPhone as required.
Read articles later, with fewer distractions
The app has its own built-in browser, so you can find and save stories entirely within the app, but you also have the option of adding the Read Later command to Safari if you prefer.
Version 4 has primarily been redesigned for the iPad, where your saved stories are now presented in a neat ‘front page’ format rather than as a simple list, while the various settings and options are tucked into a toolbar running down the left-hand side of the screen.
Instapaper gives you pop-up reference info
The new format works well on the iPad, giving it more of a newspaper feel, and there are some nice additional touches, such as the ability to quickly view footnotes and links as inline pop-ups.
The iPhone interface has been tidied up too, although the smaller screen means that it retains the simpler list format for your stories.
The iPhone UI has been refreshed too
I recommend Instapaper to anyone who likes to save stories from around the web, either for research or entertainment, and the £2.99 price tag is peanuts given the amount of use I’ve had out of it over the years.
My only niggle is that there’s no search option – unless you pay an additional subscription of £1.99 every three months. ®
We make our selection of the best iOS smartphone and tablet downloads every Thursday. It you think there's an app we should be considering, please let us know.
More iOS App of the Week Winners
Look at Read It Later instead
When I did a serious comparison of InstaPaper versus Read It Later a few months back, RIL won hands down. There are RIL clients for iOS and Android, integrations with IE, Firefox, Chrome and probably Safari. All with offline access and synchronization between all your input sources.
You get integration with the built-in Safari web browser, with a "Tap to Save" mode that makes it very easy to quickly browse your favourite sites for new offline content before heading into areas of no reception like the London Tube. Reading articles offline saves your battery, as your device can leave its radio idling.
There is also an awesome feature called Digest that will automatically put your reading list into categories, or you can manually tag the articles you save. It gives you a specialized newspaper, filled with articles you've picked earlier.
What I really want to know after reading this review...
...is why Elisabeth Sladen vomited on Edwina Currie!
Because it's Edwina Currie!
Been using Instapaper on the iPhone for ages, and the iPad version is just brilliant.
Easily my most used app on my iOS devices and while i'm at work :-)
Tried it, don't understand it
What is this 'offline' of which you speak?