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Top 5 reasons to get a dedicated reader app for Android or iOS

Ben Patterson | July 13, 2015
As good as they are at loading web pages quickly and precisely on smaller screens, both Safari for iOS and Chrome for Android are terrible when it comes to loading a massive page-turner of an article--you know, that one you want to curl up with on a lazy Sunday.

If you're a fan of scrolling, you can even set Instapaper to scroll up or down whenever you tilt your phone one way or the other, perfect for straphangers who only have one hand free.

3. They save your articles for "offline" reading

Whether you're spending a week on a tropical island or lazing about in a remote ski lodge, there's nothing more enticing (for me, anyway) than teeing up a lengthy feature article on your phone--assuming you've got an Internet connection, that is.

The best dedicated reader apps will save your bookmarked articles for offline reading, meaning you'll have something to read even if you're miles away from the nearest Wi-Fi or cellular network.

4. They'll save your place

if you were just about to protest that Safari for iOS can, in fact, save web pages for offline reading thanks to its "Reading List" feature, well, that's true. But there's a catch.

See, Reading List has a serious drawback when it comes to longer web articles: if you leave the story and come back later, Safari will typically reload the entire page, losing your place in the process--pretty annoying if you're 10,000 words into a 30,000-word article.

One of my favorite features of reader apps like Instapaper, Pocket and Readability is that they'll always remember to save your place, even across devices and no matter how long you've waited to come back to a particular story.

5. You can bookmark articles on your phone, tablet or desktop browser

Once you've installed a reading app, it's time to start bookmarking articles to save. The easiest way to do so is directly from Safari in iOS or Android's Chrome browser.

To save an article you're viewing in Safari, tap the Action button--the square one with the upward arrow--and find the specific Action button for your reader app of choice. Don't see it? Tap the three-dot "More" button to find and enable the right button.

For the Chrome browser on Android, tap the three-dot menu button in the corner of the screen, tap "Share," then find the "Add to" button for your particular reading app.

What if you find a story on your desktop browser that you want to read later? All you need is a browser "bookmarklet" for your favorite reader app. Instapaper, Pocket, and Readability all have them, and they generally support popular browsers like Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox. Just drag the right bookmarklet into your browser's toolbar, and you should be all set.

Bonus tip: If you're looking for articles to add to Instapaper, Pocket, Readability, or another reader app, check out Longreads, a curated list of gotta-read long-form web articles on a wide variety of topics. The Longreads website boasts "Read Later" buttons that'll automatically add stories to Instapaper and Pocket, and there's a Longreads iOS app, too. As an alternative, visit the Readability site for a list of recommended articles, or follow other Readability users for their top picks.

 

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