Even though RSS technology is over two decades old, enough people are still using RSS readers to read its content. Mainly because it gives them control over source selection. While there are popular RSS feed reader apps for the iPhone, some of them are higher among the avid users. Out of them, NetNewsWire and Reeder are the best RSS readers for iOS and we will compare them in this post.
NetNewsWire is an open source project with an interesting story. The developers released a Mac version last year and last month NetNewsWire v5.0 debuted on the App Store.
Every version of Reeder is now appreciated by enthusiastic fans of the app and RSS feeds.
The confusion of choosing the best of the two is natural. That is why we highlight the most important differences in this comparison.
Both Reeder and NetNewsWire are only available on iPhone, iPad and Mac.
However, if you really want to enjoy a truly cross-platform experience, take advantage of RSS aggregation services like Feedly.
The user interface plays an important role in an RSS reader app. Because if a user does not find the appropriate option, he switches to a competing service. The years of hard work by shipowners shine here. Allow us to elaborate on this.
We can describe shipowners with one word – minimal. Almost all of the menus, options, and buttons keep the user interface simple. The animations are smooth and flawless, and when you switch from one post to another it feels like you’re flipping through the physical pages of the book.
We also appreciate the variety of topic options. You can choose between light, dark, black, light with a dark title bar, and so on.
NetNewsWire isn’t far behind either. It’s just the finish and execution by Shipowner is a step above anything else in the RSS market. The app supports both light and dark themes.
Services and Integration
Reeder has left no stone unturned when it comes to service. You can hook up a number of services like RSS, Instapaper, Pocket, Feedbin, Feedly, FeedHQ, NewsBlur, Inroreader, and even self-hosted services FreshRDD, Reader, Fever, and more. Tap the + symbol and add the account in Reeder.
NetNewsWire only supports two services – Feedbin and Feedly. However, you can import OPML backups to continue reading the same feeds to which you have subscribed.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – the reading experience. A well-executed reading experience can take an RSS app to the next level. And oh boy! Shipowner did it.
When you open the shipowner app, it syncs the data of the added accounts and shows the unread / new items in advance. You can tap an article and start reading in a clean environment. Tap the down arrow to switch from one post to another.
You may have noticed that some websites use the Read More button to expand the article. In Reeder you can tap on the reading mode. This bypasses the Read More button and allows you to read the entire article without leaving the interface.
You can also tap the three-dot menu at the top and change the font, size, spacing, title size, and more. Most of you will be fine with the default settings, but it’s always good to see options.
NetNewsWire did a good job too. However, the transition from one post to another feels more natural and intuitive with Reeder. Unlike Reeder, there is no way to adjust the text style and size. You need to dive into the app settings to make changes. However, you will only find a couple of options.
Reeder added widget support. The app’s Latest Articles widget comes in small, medium, and large sizes. You can configure it to display articles from any source you set up in the app, including the app’s built-in Read Later service and all RSS services.
Reeder’s widgets can also be displayed in four fonts: System, Rounded, Serif and Compact.
NetNewsWire is a newbie to the block. There are no widgets or the “Read later” service. We hope to see such essentials develop quickly in future builds.
Shipowner costs a one-time fee of $ 4.99 in the App Store. For macOS, the app costs $ 9.99 in the Mac App Store.
NetNewsWire is completely free to use on iPhone and Mac.
Enhance your reading experience
The bottom line here couldn’t be simpler. Reeder outperforms NetNewsWire for user interface, reading experience, and third-party integration, but comes with a price tag. Choose NetNewWire if you are new to the RSS world and you are not sure whether you want to read long term.
The Mac ecosystem is also full of useful RSS apps. Read the following post to learn more about the five most popular RSS reader apps for Mac.