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GoodReader 4 review: An excellent universal app for PDF management

Jeff Merron | Aug. 5, 2014
iOS apps are, for me, a lot like cable channels: No matter how many I have on my iPad or my iPod touch, I only use a dozen or so on a regular basis. The others I don't delete because they give me some feeling of comfort, as in, "I may need this one day."

iOS apps are, for me, a lot like cable channels: No matter how many I have on my iPad or my iPod touch, I only use a dozen or so on a regular basis. The others I don't delete because they give me some feeling of comfort, as in, "I may need this one day."

GoodReader, which I've been using for more than four years, has been one of the few that I've never even considered deleting, because it's proven useful in so many ways. Its core functions have been, and remain, in the realms of PDF file management, viewing, and annotation.

The $7 GoodReader 4, released recently by Good.iWare, is an entirely new app in the sense that it must be paid for and downloaded from the App Store even if you've already purchased earlier versions for the iPhone or iPad. After downloading, upgraders can use GoodReader 4's built-in migration assistant to transfer files, folders, and settings from the earlier version.

Perhaps it requires a separate download because this version is a universal app, unlike its still-available predecessors. It also includes PDF file creation, extraction, merge, and editing functions not available in GoodReader for iPhone and GoodReader for iPad versions 3.21 and earlier.

The newer version of GoodReader has, in addition to new capabilities, a slick new look and feel. Often a striking visual update accompanied by added functionality comes with a steep learning curve for long-time users, but GoodReader 4's design is clearly built upon that of earlier versions. In short, if you're upgrading, you can get right to work (or play) with the new version and learn the app's new features as you go. New users will be treated to an elegant, largely intuitive interface that deftly accommodates the app's many and complex capabilities.

While there are a number of other good PDF readers and editors for iOS, as well as robust apps for viewing videos and listening to audio files, GoodReader for iPhone and GoodReader for iPad have long stood out for doing all of these things well, and GoodReader 4 is a clear improvement from earlier versions.

GoodReader 4 builds on the earlier versions' already excellent file and folder management tools. Users can import PDF files from Mobile Safari using the "Open In..." extension (known technically as iOS's inter-app Document Interchange), and you can also import Web pages and PDFs using GoodReader 4's built-in (but bare-bones) browser. That said, the app works most smoothly when used in conjunction with Dropbox, Google Drive, box.net, iCloud, and other cloud storage services. You can set up GoodReader to download, upload, and automatically sync files and folders to these services; the app also supports downloading attachments from email accounts.

 

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