xbox avatar mikeyp logo

Comparing RSS Readers on Mac and iOS


Last week mako ( asked about RSS reader alternatives to Reeder 5. I cheerfully replied that I used NetNewsWire on MacOS, and Unread Premium on iOS. But later, it struck me that I haven’t used Reeder on MacOS in years, and I hadn’t consider why I still pay for Unread Premium. So my opinion wasn’t really well-informed, and I deleted my reply.

Reeder 5


Unread: An RSS Reader

I decided to compare NetNewsWire to Reeder on the Mac. Reeder 5 is priced affordably at only $10, so I gave it a try, and it’s really nice. It feels very polished, and I was able to easily customize it to fit my desired use-cases. Compared to NetNewsWire, they both have some minor advantages over the other, but are generally more similar than different. NetNewsWire feels more responsive, has a faster reader mode that’s easier to configure at the feed level, and can show multiple feed sources in one list. Reeder has many more custom configuration options, smoother scrolling, and is arguably more attractive and “Mac-like.” Reeder also might use less memory, based on anecdotal testing, though I did manage to get the to app hang at one point (NetNewsWire has never crashed on me). If you already use one of these two apps and like it, there’s no major reason to switch to the other.

My opinion: if you have $10, try Reeder 5. If not, grab NetNewsWire.

I then asked myself why I was paying $20/year for Unread Premium, when the base Unread app is free. I love the Unread UI on iOS, and much preferred it when I last compared Unread to Reeder 4 and the Feedly app. It also has an excellent reader mode, and the app is actively maintained. Since I’ve been a user of Unread for several years, I probably subscribed to Premium for two reasons: I wanted to support the developer since I use the app daily, and I wanted to use custom article actions. (I also like the darker app icon alternatives.) I think the iOS share sheet feature was still a bit clumsy when I first subscribed, so the article actions feature was the best way to send posts to Pinboard and Pocket or Instapaper. Today, share sheet is pretty powerful, and I use Matter instead of Pocket or Instapaper, so I don’t use the article actions feature at all.

While I’d like to keep supporting the Unread developer, I won’t resubscribe for the next year unless there is a more affordable option. Reeder 5 for iOS is a one-time $5 purchase, for comparison.

Read more entries like this one

Comments are provided by Disqus. You may need to update your ad-blocker to see them. Firefox users might need to disable or customize Enhanced Privacy Protection.