The past year has been all about the technology industry infiltrating the publication world. Facebook announced Instant Articles, Google launched an open source platform for publishers with Twitter, and Apple announced its own proprietary News app. At the same time, Flipboard, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and AOL all issued major updates to their respective news apps, showing there is a lot of interest in the world of news on mobile platforms. That said, below are our top picks for the best news apps, whether you’re a die-hard news junkie or merely a casual purveyor of the world affairs.
New York Times Now
The New York Times has one of the best news apps around in NYT Now. Not only does the app sport a cool icon, but it also offers free access to the most important news stories of the day, including those from other sources. A simple refresh will bring up new stories throughout the day, and you can read briefings for different times of day. Sadly, it’s not available for Android (yet).
Download now from: iTunes
BuzzFeed took the world by storm with its viral listicals and other fun content. The app consolidates everything in one place, while allowing to customize the types of articles you see to suit your tastes. You can also browse the menu to view quizzes, what’s trending, or news if you want to further hone your search. BuzzFeed also has a hard news app, which you can get here.
SmartNews brings you trending stories and categorizes them based on the subject. It’s clutter-free, easy to browse through, and good at digging up fresh content that you’ll actually want to read. Partners include NBC News, Medium, USA Today, TIME, Bleacher Report, Quartz, VICE, Reuters, AP, Perez Hilton, and more.
Google News & Weather
It isn’t Google Reader, but Google News & Weather offers a wide variation of news stories from multiple publishers. Alongside the headlines and local weather, users can browse “Suggested for you,” an area for news stories catered to your most recent searches. Users are also able to highlight an individual topic, such as technology, for all of the current news.
Yahoo News Digest
Yahoo’s $30 million acquisition of Summly was all about redesigning News Digest, and the finished product is a marvel. It offers 10 of the top stories in your region, capitalizing on Summly’s artificial intelligence technology as it does to present the information in a tidy package. The news changes every few hours, too, giving you important updates throughout the day.
There are plenty of options for Reddit, but we recommend Alien Blue for iOS and Reddit Relay for Android. For anyone that hasn’t tried Reddit, users submit posts to relevant subreddits — Android news would be submitted to /r/Android, for instance — and users upvote popular content and comment on it.
Apple News comes pre-loaded on every iOS device, and sadly, like most of Apple’s apps, it remains unavailable on Android platforms. The News app places a big focus on images and quick loading videos, and publications such as The New York Times and National Geographic have partnered with the company to make their content readily available. Users are also able to follow trends or individual topics, ranging from vague areas like politics to niche topics such as HTML5.
Download now from: iTunes
Inside uses human curators to find the best news on the Web, with 270-word updates giving all of the important information. Users are able to quickly view the top curated pieces and topics, alongside a rotating feed of trending articles. The service prides itself on finding the very best articles for any given topic, while offering you a wide selection of publications to choose from.
LinkedIn Pulse received a much needed update a few months ago, but most of the functionality remains the same. Users are able to select articles from publishers or people, and use their LinkedIn account to sign in. Pulse also touts its own video player and staff, which allows the team to curate the most important stories in the business world.
AOL Mail, News & Video
AOL is still kicking, even if it is now a small segment in Verizon’s media empire. Thankfully, since the acquisition, there have been regular updates to its Mail, Weather, and News app. The app even offers a dedicated news feed lined with local weather, topical news, and video sections.
News Republic offers a collection of articles based on trends and personal preferences, letting you see what everyone else is reading and what you’re interested in. For users with limited time, the service also offers a digest, so you can casually check the headlines without having to delve into the full article.
Ever read an interesting headline, but don’t have time to dive into the story? Pocket is the perfect app for you. The popular app lets you store news for later reading, and offers a simple user interface that lets find the articles you saved, bookmark them, and archive others you want to come back to. Pocket recently launched a Recommended feature, too, which lets you check what friends and other users have saved.
Associated Press covers news from all around the world, with a huge team of dedicated reporters that focus on all manners of topics and trends. The service’s companion app comes free of the usual glist and glam that other news services offer, but for people who enjoy getting the facts and little else, it’s a useful resource.
The BBC is another worldwide news organization dedicated to keeping you up to date on the latest topics and news stories. Unlike AP Mobile, however, the BBC News app offers a bit more fun with its articles, along with a live-streaming news channel that’s baked directly into its app.
CNN was the first 24-hour cable news channel, and its official app essentially functions as a condensed version of the site. It offers a wide variety of articles, primarily with a on U.S. audiences. Video also plays a larger part on CNN than it does on the BBC, so for fans of video news, this is the app for you.
Al Jazeera English
Al Jazeera was the first 24-hour news channel to cover the Middle East, and has become one of the most popular and established publications in the region. Thankfully, it also reports on news from around the globe, whether talking the effects of El Niño in California or the education rate of kids in rural Sudan.