Read the article later – how it works!

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Truly interesting things come to the screen whenever you have no time to deal with them. Read-it-later services want to ensure that you can devote yourself to readings at a later date. In this guide, we show you how to move the browsing to later with on-board resources or additional services.

Read it later?

The name “Read it Later” goes back to the web service of the same name, which the programmer Nathan Weiner introduced in 2007. Following the example of a video recorder, its service should store interesting content and make it available to users on any device. Above all, the success of the iPhone and iPad, for which Read it Later made their own apps available, boosted the popularity of the offering, which continues today under the name “Pocket”. Since February 2017 Pocket belongs to the Mozilla Corporation, which among other things markets the web browser Firefox.

Reach much with in-vehicle resources

In 2013, Apple integrated the so-called read-list function into the Mac version of its Safari web browser. It is a mix of bookmarks and read-later service, which is comparable to comparable offers, but still deserves attention as a free and well-established in the system solution. Safaris reading list is especially suitable as an introduction to the later reading theme.

The reading list is located in the hidden sidebar of Safari, which you can use with the key combination [shift] + [cmd] + [L] Show. Alternatively, you can make these visible via the menu sequence “Appearance> Show sidebar”. The third way to fade in is to click on the Sidebar icon in the Safari toolbar. If this button is not visible, you can integrate it into the toolbar with the menu command “Appearance> Customize Toolbar”. In the header area of ​​the sidebar, be sure to select the eyewear icon to switch from the bookmark view to the reading list.

There are four ways to add a Safari safelist web page. By pressing the key combination [shift] + [cmd] + [D] you add the currently opened website to the reading list. Alternatively, you can use the menu item “Bookmarks> Add to Reading List” or click on a small plus symbol that appears when you move the mouse over the field with the URL. You can also use the “Share” button to add a square with an up arrow. After clicking on this button, a menu opens that contains, among other things, the entry “Add to reading list”. If the entry is missing, you should make a detour to the system settings of macOS. Under the “Extensions” entry, you can configure which items should be visible in the sharing menu.

Set up reading list

In the reading list Safari displays all added articles in a chronological list in descending order For better orientation, Apple’s web browser prefaces each post with a thumbnail of each post. After selecting an article, Safari loads the post into the main window on the right. The width of the sidebar can be adjusted by moving the vertical separator to the content window. In the sidebar header, you have the option of restricting the view to previously unread articles.

If you use the reading list extensively, the search function proves to be handy, allowing you to search through the headings and the first words of the entries. If you click on an article, you can use the context menu to remove this or all articles from the reading list.

You can find a recommended improvement in Safari’s settings. In the “Advanced” tab you should activate the option “Automatically back up articles automatically”. So you make sure that you can dedicate yourself to the content even without an Internet connection – for example, when you finally have the time on holiday.

Browse on the go

Is in the macOS control panel under ” iCloud “option” Safari “is activated, the entries in the reading list are automatically loaded into Apple’s online storage service. If Safari iCloud Sync is also enabled in the Control Panel of iOS devices, the Reading List items will be available on those devices after a short time – if you are associated with the same Apple ID. So you can also read on the iPad, what you have marked as interesting on the Mac and vice versa.

While the addition of new entries on iPhone and iPad is similar to the Mac with the sharing menu in Safari, is the access to the reading list is hidden on the mobile devices. This will appear after a tap on the bookmarks icon in the Safari toolbar and the subsequent selection of the glasses icon. Also on iPhone and iPad, you can browse the content and restrict the ad to unread. In addition, it pays off on the tablet and smartphone in the settings, where you should enable the option “Automatically backup offline” in the section “Reading list” under “Safari”.

More reading comfort thanks to Apple’s Reader function

Safari provides a way to make reading articles on Mac, iPhone, and iPad more enjoyable. By activating the so-called reader presentation, Safari throws the appearance of a website overboard and displays only pictures and text. Advertisements are also filtered out. You activate the reader view on the Mac either with the key combination [shift] + [cmd] + [R]via the menu sequence “Display> Show Reader” or with a click on the button with four vertical lines, the Safari with compatible Internet pages to the left of the URL. A hint on this symbol at the same place also displays the reader view of a page on iPhone and iPad. By tapping on the “A” button to the right of the URL, you can adjust the font size, style and color of the display.

Powerful Alternatives

As convenient as Apple’s reading list is, it remains limited to Apple’s web browser. If you prefer Chrome, Firefox, or another Safari browser, you can not use the reading list. But there are alternatives that also understand the interaction with other browsers and thus also build bridges to other operating systems. The two most important candidates are Pocket and Instapaper. Both services have a lot in common: both Pocket and Instapaper are basically free web services.

All you need to do is create a free user account. The comparison between Mac, iPhone and iPad as well as the corresponding Android and Web apps is done automatically like in the reading list in the background. Offline storage of the articles works even more reliably with both Pocket and Instapaper than with Apple’s system solution.

Doing Preliminary Work

Like Safaris Reading List, you can add URLs of interesting articles to Pocket and Instapaper. Since the web services are not natively integrated in macOS and iOS, however, it requires some preliminary work. The most convenient way to integrate with Mac is through browser extensions that integrate a Pocket or Instapaper button into the toolbar. These are available for Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Opera.

For iPhone and iPad, the operators of Pocket and Instapaper offer free universal apps. These also bring extensions for the sharing menu with them. So you can basically send URLs to Pocket and Instapaper from any browser after installation of the iOS apps.

Another way to add articles to the reading lists of Pocket and Instapaper is via individual e-mail addresses , Any link sent to the personal e-mail pocket and instapaper addresses will result in the corresponding article automatically appearing in the article lists of the applications. On devices running iOS 11, Instapaper also lets you use drag-and-drop or split-screen mode to pass URLs to the application.

Presentation and Multimedia

The presentation of the article is very appealing in both web services and apps. The apps display the overview of the articles optionally in a list or tile view. In addition, both services attach great importance to tasteful reading and offer various fonts and appearances. The Pocket app hides the “premium reading experience” with selected fonts as well as options for adjusting marginal column, line height and spacing behind a payment barrier.

Both services filter out all the accompanying material from the original contributions and reduce them to images and texts in a reader-friendly formatting. Both offers track themselves when incoming URLs refer to videos. Such links are automatically collected in a separate register so that you can dedicate yourself to them. Finally, should the last article be read, Pocket and Instapaper make recommendations for further reading. Pocket recommends articles and videos based on previously stored files, Instapaper relies on social networking links to offer what other Instapaper-using friends and acquaintances read.

Using the If If Then That Service (IFTTT) to Concatenate Different Web Services

For example, it is possible to automatically send any Internet address that is added to Pocket to Instapaper through an IFTTT rule. So both services are always on a consistent footing and you can get a picture of which service ultimately pleases you better. The registration for IFTTT is free, the operation largely self-explanatory. IFTTT opens up numerous other possibilities. For example, you can configure the service to automatically propagate links to favorite Instapaper items via Twitter. This way, the social network can automatically share interesting information.

Fine Differences

The subtle differences between Pocket and Instapaper are inconspicuous, but they are crucial for long-term use. Pocket has given Instapaper the ability to tag articles with tags. This can make searching and finding easier for large volumes of articles. Instapaper relies on less flexible folders in which users can collect articles on a topic.

In the test, Instapaper proves to be more reliable in reading the contents than Pocket, who occasionally refused to serve. So it happens over and over again that Pocket is not able to load preview views of articles.

Quick readers are in the right place with Instapaper, because the service can represent articles word for word. What sounds nonsensical at first turns out to be practical at the latest if you allow it to arrive at a trial and concentrate on reading 400 words or more per minute. In addition, Instapaper offers a connection to Amazon’s Kindle: Instapaper can automatically send up to 50 articles to the e-book reader. Although it is not without good reason that Pocket can be persuaded to use this combination: Pocket2Kindle or En2kindle.

After all, the two web services also differ in terms of price. Basically, Pocket offers additional features for a monthly fee of 4,49 Euro (40 Euro / year). For example, the payment creates an archive in which all content remains stored, even if the pages from which it originated disappear. Other chargeable functions are a full-text search and suggestions in keyword allocation. Instapaper is completely free and is funded since 2016 by the company Pinterest. How long they can or will afford this service will be shown.


If you find interesting articles always on inappropriate opportunities under the mouse pointer, offer the reading list of Safari, Pocket and Instapaper a way out. Above all the tasteful preparation of the texts by the Instapaper and Pocket apps as well as the possibility of a connection to Amazon’s eBook reader are the best prerequisites for quietly reading what is otherwise left behind.

Workshop: Move to Instapaper with the reading list from Pocket

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