Unread: Is This the Best RSS Reader on iOS?

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RSS apps are dime a dozen on the iPhone. While each promises to deliver you the news, Unread is one of the best-looking readers out there. Developed by Jared Sinclair aka Nice Boy, Unread is a news app that promises to be the best RSS reader on iOS.

After swiping through a few introductory screens Unread will ask readers to link their Feedly, Feedwrangler, or Feedbin accounts. It’s a bit of an extra step for those without preexisting accounts, but after signing in the app will instantly populate with new, unread articles.

The home screen should look familiar to anyone who has used a RSS reader before as it shows a list of feeds and the number of unread articles emblazoned in red text. The overall look of Unread blends into iOS flat aesthetic seamlessly. For those who prefer a brighter appearance, users can swipe left to change the theme for a white background or other “fun hidden” ones.

Unread App Image.jpg

Unread is otherwise a lot like the other RSS readers out there. It gives readers the list of news with a small blurb, which can be expanded into a longer story or read in their entirety with an accompanying web browser. But the most pleasing thing about Unread is the way it ditches traditional buttons for almost all gesture-based navigation. Swipe down to refresh, swipe left to view the menu, or swipe right to go back a menu.

Unfortunately there’s no gesture to simply continuing reading onto the next article. Unlike Feedly, pulling a story to the left won’t open up the next article in the queue, forcing you to swipe back to the news list before tapping on the next item you want to read. It’s a minor gripe but it becomes a major annoyance when reading through 100 consecutive posts.

What’s even more disheartening is that the app does not work perfectly with all stories, and will sometimes leave out images or interpret some article formatting. RSS coding isn’t perfect but in certain cases like Kotaku, images that were missing in Unread appeared just fine in Feedly.

Unread has a simple, clean aesthetic that’s really attractive to the eye. But underneath the neat look, the app still has a couple of rough edges. It’s too early to say Unread is ready dethrone Feedly and Mr. Reader as the RSS readers kings, but this new app has a great foundation to build upon. If it can work out these kinks in a few upcoming updates, we would definitely recommend this gesture-based app as your next RSS reader.

Unread is an iOS app available for free in the App Store.

Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.