The best apps for saving online content to read later

The best apps for saving content to read later

App Cafe  Details

Apps reviewed:

  • Pocket
  • Instapaper
  • Evernote
The best apps for saving content to read later
Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote – The best apps for saving content to read later?

What are the benefits of using such apps?

  • The internet is brimming with amazing things to read, but a computer is not a great device for reading. It’s far better to save content and then read it later in comfort on a sofa with a mobile device like a phone or a tablet.
  • Even more importantly, you don’t always have time to read an article after first discovering it. You need a place to store and then easily retrieve articles for later viewing at a more suitable time.
  • Depending on the website, reading on the web can often be a hostile experience with distracting flashing ads, annoying requests to sign up for newsletters, spammy “promoted stories from around the web” or other general hodgepodge cluttering up your reading.
  • Read-it-later services solve all of these problems, helping you save articles to read on your preferred device in a much friendlier, clearer format.
  • As you browse the web, you can pick and choose the things you want to read, so that when the time is right to give them your full attention, your hand-picked selection of great material is within easy reach within a read-it-later service.

Problems these apps can help address:

  • If you keep finding good content online that you mean to read but never actually get round to it
  • If you’ve simply saved too much content that has now become unwieldy and unmanageable
  • If you want to improve and filter content that you can read.
  • If you want to read without clutter, add-ons and so on.
  • You want ideas to find related or interesting content to read.
  • You want to connect with others, see what others are reading and sharing, or share interesting content that you’ve found with friends and colleagues.

Guides, tutorials, tips, hints and reviews

Below is a quick run-down of the features and benefits of Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote that were explored during the App Cafe.

Please see related links further below to in-depth explanations of app features, screenshots, videos, reviews, pros and cons and more.

Pocket

Pocket logo
Pocket
  • Available for Android, iOS, Blackberry, Kindle Fire, Windows Phone, and more.
  • Additionally, it can be installed as an app or extension on most browsers such as Chrome or Firefox.

Sharing /saving content into Pocket

  • On an Apple Device – you’ll need to enable the option for Pocket within the Share menu.
  • On your tablet, go to a web browser then click on the share button (usually in top right), then the More button. You can rearrange the order of the apps within this shared list.
  • You can then share to Pocket from anywhere – such as a browser, or even from within another app.
  • During the App Cafe we practised finding content and sharing to the app.

Within the Pocket App

  • Within the Pocket app you can view all your saved articles. These include text, images and video. These can all be accessed away from a wifi zone as the app automatically downloads content to your device.
  • Via the 3 dots in the top right you can change the view eg. switch to list view and back to tile view. Can Refresh if any previously saved content hasn’t appeared yet.
Pocket - altering the layout
Use the top right three dots to access options to alter the Layout and to Refresh

  • Via the top left ‘burger menu’ you can view ‘My list’ which is basically everything not archived yet, as well as anything that has been Archived, Favourites, or anything Shared to Me. You can also apply filters to view just articles, videos, images or content with a particular tag.
Pocket - filtering content
Use the top left ‘burger menu’ to switch between My list and your Archive, plus Favourites, and Shared to Me. Apply filters to view just articles, videos, images or content with a particular tag.
  • ‘My List’ returns to viewing all/default view. The ‘My List’ option within the bottom menu bar does exactly the same – [see further below within this article for a run through of the bottom menu bar].

Within an article

  • Click into an article to view it. Within an article, via the top left you can click the back button to return to My List.
  • The Tick archives content which simply moves it to the archived section and doesn’t delete it. This helps to organise content.
  • You can also Comment on the article which then includes it in your Recommended Feed that others can follow.
Pocket - within an article, options top left
Within an article, use the options in top left to return to My List, Archive the content or Comment on content.

  • Within an article, via the options in the top right you can alter all sorts, such as the font, the text size, the background shading or alter the brightness, plus line height and margins.
Pocket - within an article, options top right
Pocket has great choice in altering the reading experience
  • You can also add relevant tags to help organise your content. Add as many tags as you like.
  • Via the share button you can Recommend, Send a link to others (so they view the content within Pocket – they’d need the app), Open in a browser and more.
Pocket - within an article, options top right
Within the top right also use the Tag button and Share buttons

  • Within an article, via top right 3 dots, you can switch to web view (if for example article view is doing something funny to the content), can Refresh, can Favourite the article or Delete it,
  • You can even listen to the article – TTS or text to speech – is a great feature whereby you can alter the speed of the speech, or skip paragraphs. Useful for when out running or at the gym or any other activity whereby you need to use your hands.
Pocket - within an article, options top right
Within an article, via top right 3 dots, you can Refresh, Favourite the article or Delete it, plus even listen to the article via text to speech.

  • Within the bottom menu bar – My List returns to viewing all/default view.

Pocket - bottom bar options

  • Within the bottom menu bar – Recommended shows content that you may find interesting based on what you’ve previously read and the people you’re following. The plus + symbol in the top left here gives suggestions for people to follow. Can also connect to others via your address book, Twitter and Face Book. Can follow others and see what they promote via the recommend feature.
  • Within the bottom menu bar – Notifications lists any new followers.
  • Within the bottom menu bar – Profile shows your feed of Recommended Content that you;re promoting and that that others will be following (more on that below), plus allows access to Settings. Can Edit Profile. Upload a photo or add a Bio. Alter email address. Can also Upgrade and Go Premium. Currently £35 a year for what we all felt to be not that much more!
  • Lastly – you can Email content to Pocket by emailing ‘add@getpocket.com’. Need to use an email address listed within your profile.

Links:

Instapaper

Instapaper logo
Instapaper
  • Virtually similar in layout and functionality, we reviewed what was different within this app. For example the look and feel is slightly different.
  • Used to have more of a focus on reading, such as giving more options for altering the reading experience – but Pocket has caught up.
  • Within an article – use the top right page icon ‘Pagination’ which alters the way you can read articles – can swipe right to left to go to next page instead. Which is a useful feature.
  • Within an article – One major difference is that in Instapaper there is the ability to select text and highlight it or add your own notes. Which is very useful for helping with research etc.

Links:

Evernote

Evernote logo
Evernote
  • This app offers something different for a read it later service, in that you can save content to Evernote and then edit it as much as you want. For example you can add, edit or delete text, images, videos or attachments. Or can format content by adding bullets, headers, tick boxes, highlighted content and more. Can then organise saved content far more easily via adding tags and assigning a category to that note/article.
  • When saving content, you can either save it as ‘simplified text’ – similar to Pocket and Instapaper where the text is distraction-free and devoid of clutter – or you can save as a ‘full page’, so as-is where the entire web page is saved into Evernote.
  • However, you can only save into Evernote as ‘simplified text’ via the Chrome or Firefox extensions on a PC! If you share content to Evernote within an app on a tablet or phone, it can only save the content ‘as-is’. So this limits its usefulness.
  • Another difference and benefit is that you have far more options when sharing links to individual notes or to ‘categories’ (notebooks) that contain whatever you’ve placed into that notebook.

Get involved

  1. Share your thoughts by adding a comment below within this WordPress site.
  2. Visit the Apps for Productivity G+ Community to comment and share advice – using the Pocket, Instapaper or Evernote entries.
  3. Take part in a Tricider to vote for the best app for saving content to read later.
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About Jim

Staff trainer and e-learning developer working for the University of Northampton, UK. All views my own, aside from those shamelessly taken from others.

One thought on “The best apps for saving online content to read later

  1. Thanks for this useful post, Jim. One of the reasons I prefer pocket, is because of it’s seamless usage over different interfaces. In the past, I have encountered errors with Evernote, where the syncing of a note across devices didn’t occur properly and so multiple versions of a note were generated, causing confusion.

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