I'm not alone in my Read-It-Later indecision

After seeing M.G. Siegler’s annual post of his Home Screen I’m happy to see others struggle with what Read-It-Later services to use. I jump back and forth between Pocket, Instapaper, Reeder, and Safari Reading List. I also use Medium and Apple News Saved Stories as well. I’m actually good at keeping up with everything and I love them all for different reasons. I’d give anything for Apple to update Safari Reading List and incorporate some of the features of the other services but I’m not holding my breath. Anyone else struggle with this? Did you finally settle on one or keep jumping back and forth? Not sure I’ll ever have the day where I use just one service but I was glad to see M.G. doing the same things I’m doing.

I ended up going back to Pocket from Safari Reading List. Safari would never reliably download local copies. And I like the synced reading location of Pocket.


Add me to the club. Currently using Safari Reading List. I bounce between that, Instapaper and Pocket.

I’ve been a paying Pocket user for years. Jumped ship from Instapaper when Marco Arment, who still owned it, refused to save video (and I hated the too-monochrome UI) when Pocket did, and when Pocket archived articles so that they were saved even if the article disappeared or went behind a paywall. I use it a lot: every year I get a reading report from them, and I’m told I’m in the top 5% of Pocket users.

If you pay the subscription price you get access to the Mac Pocket app (they bought out the venerable Mac app ‘Read It Later’ and renamed it), from which I print to PDF to save articles in ad-stripped, formatted form. (FYI the $9.99 ReadKit Mac RSS feed reader app can also pull your Pocket articles, as well as Pinboard feeds.)

I found Safari’s reading list pretty flimsy in comparison.

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Safari reading list for “urgent” stuff. Pinboard for everything else. (Great API for shortcuts)

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Good tip, using Reading List for “urgent,” something else for everything else.

Although I’d call it “timely,” rather than “urgent.” The latest news on the impeachment will be obsolete tomorrow, but an article about the history of coffee will still be worth reading in a few months. In journalism, we call those “evergreen.”

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Great tip! Right now I save most Apple/Tech related articles to Reading List along with any NYT article. I use instapaper for mostly long form articles and pocket for everything else.

If you are enough of a power user to ponder it to this extent, how about using Devonthink instead?

This way you will own the data - and you can organize it and search it to your heart’s content.

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With my Pocket subscription I regularly ‘save to pocket’ articles that are just links without visiting them - especially useful for sites to which I don’t have article access but Pocket does (eg NYTimes articles beyond the free articles I always have used up). And saving them allows me to print to pdf, so I do own them as well, if I like. (And can save them to DevonThink, or EagleFiler, or just to anywhere on my HD.) Pretty power user-y, no?


The tip with Pocket to read NYT and other subscription sites is excellent - thanks.

FYI - you can enter links for Pocket (and probably the other services) as bookmarks in Devonthink and then read those sites inside Devonthink - that way you can get the best of all worlds and keep track of and organize your articles spread over multiple services.

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Did you get your yearly reading report in 2019? I don’t pay, but I always got a report saying I’m in the top 5%, but didn’t get one in 2019 and was wondering what was going on, as I’m pretty sure I’ve used it more in 2019 than any other year.

I use it extensively with Nuzzel.com and the iOS app, for popular shared URLs on Twitter accounts I follow - I have Pocket configured as my ReadLater account and articles go right into it.

Finally settled for good on Instapaper. Reasons:

  • Beautiful page layout and attention to typography (this is a reading app, after all)
  • Solarized theme (easier on the eyes)
  • And above all, ease of annotation and commenting (I want to read with a critical mind so that I remember what I read) and the annotations can be perfectly exported in Markdown, for instance towards Drafts from where they can then be stored in their final place (Evernote in my case).

I’m with you on Instapaper for attention to typography and smooth ‘Fast Pagination’ page flipping.

I’ve tried to like Pocket on many occasions and keep coming back to Instapaper (Liked articles automatically sent to Pinboard, my central link archiving).

I didn’t know about the Pocket Premium feature to access articles behind paywalls like NYT!
Curious if anyone has found the same with Instapaper Premium? Might be worth me trying again for a month to find out.

This is a slightly bizarre habit, but I only use Safari Reading List for links I need to open later on my Mac (since it’s so readily accessible there). Things like Mac software to try out, items that can be processed on computer easier than iOS (this is obviously less and less a concern).

Anyway…siloed purposes of any kind always good :+1:


The RSS app Reeder frequently gets past the paywalls as well.

I don’t think Pocket requires a premium account to get by paywalls - at least for NYT links. It works fine for me without a premium account.

Up until recently, I used to bounce between Pocket and Instapaper. Over the holidays I just discovered that not only does Reeder facilitate access to both, but it also offers its own “read it later” function, synced via iCloud. That’s what I’m primarily using now, while knowing I can dip into my Instapaper or Pocket reading lists all within the same app.

Also: for iOS, I threw together a shortcut that allows me to easily surface a random item from my Reeder reading list, which I find really useful for getting over the fact that I’ve already saved many more items than I’ll ever actually read. That wasn’t so easy to do with Pocket or Instapaper— as far as I can see, you have to specify the number of items you want to select from, and the shortcut result is an item’s URL, rather than a link to open the URL in the host application (meaning no easy way to mark that item as read). Reeder makes it much easier, so suits my workflow nicely.

Oh, and if something I need/want to read is “mission critical” I’m more likely to add it to a task list ensure it gets done. :wink:

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same here, bounced between pocket, instapaper, safari reading list, pinboard :scream:

Nowadays i use reeder’s “read later” feature for things to read later (and try to add way less than before) and pinboard to store links that need to be referenced in future.

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I am curious about Reeder’s read it later feature but it seems you cannot highlight nor annotate stuff in there – am I mistaken?

No, as far as I know it’s only a mean to save articles (as apple’s reading list)
I use it mainly because I use only reeder as rss reader, so it looked a natural fit