Unread, you know, that RSS reader offering an unequaled feed reading experience on your iPhone, just went version 1.5. It's not a big update, well a big update perhaps behind the scenes with bug squashing, adjustments, and fixes o' plenty, but not a big update visually. Instead version 1.5 focuses on improving several aspects of the user experience, while largely leaving its elegant visuals perfectly intact, which is just fine with me.
To backup just a bit, I've reviewed Unread before:
So back to where I started: Unread has replaced Reeder 2 on my home screen and has rekindled my interest in reading RSS on the iPhone. The app is beautiful, background refresh is brilliant, the reading experience relaxing, and the sharing options almost perfect. It isn't the workflow dynamo that Mr. Reader is, and should that app ever make it to iPhone, Unread would definitely be tested. Until then I recommend settling in with Sinclair's Unread… you're just not going to find a better looking, smoother feeling, easier reading RSS reader for your iPhone.
Other than Unread being handed over to the skilled hands of Supertop (the devs behind the sexy Castro podcast player app), the above remains largely true. Despite continuing to use Mr. Reader on my iPad, I still like using Unread on my iPhone for select feeds because it remains a lovely reading experience. The typography is perfect, the layouts, the swiping… it all feels and looks so good, especially now on the 6 Plus, there's just so much room for articles to breathe. Looks good, feels good, check and check, but works good too? Well yes, mostly.
When first released Unread had its share of minor annoyances, the lack of article advance and slow in-app web browser chief among them, but looking back at all my 1.0 critiques, nearly all of them have since been addressed. Article advance: fixed. Web browser: fixed. Sticky swipes: less sticky. And on the seventh day they rested, right? Well, err… no.
Enter version 1.5. In additon to the aforementioned bug fixes, under-the-hood-improvements, proper GIF sharing (!), etcetera, and et alia, Unread now sports a proper iOS 8 share sheet. Once a strength, Unread's reliance on OvershareKit for sharing options gradually became a liability of sorts when compared to the possiblities of iOS 8's share sheet. Instead of relying on a developer's predetermined options, the share sheet allows you to stack your own deck with app sharing extensions of your choosing and in your order. And there was much rejoicing.
Also added: proper 1Password support, allowing new users to connect their feed accounts easier and faster, plus 1Password support in Unread's browser too, allowing for easy creation of, or access to, passwords for protected pages and accounts.
Landscape support, already supported on the iPad version of Unread, arrives for iPhones with version 1.5. This not only makes sense, but also happens to look great on phones that might as well be tablets in size, like the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
Finally, Unread 1.5 offers a new readability view for those growing numbers of link list blogs (possibly this one, but who's naming names?) and oh-so-evil websites with truncated feeds, giving you access to the content you fully expected to read with just a swipe and press. And again, there was much rejoicing.
So, Unread 1.5: perfection perfected? For a feed reader, or more accurately: "for one who just reads feeds,” there's little to not like. Unread is easily the best looking, most intimate way to read content from the sources and authors you subscribe to. Its weakness remains with the nerdcore who want do something very specific with what they've read, especially when it comes to the bloggerazzi who just want to move info from one source to another with the least amount of hoop jumping possible. Oddly this means that a large portion of Unread's biggest fans end up supplementing Unread with another RSS reader (ahem, yours truly), because if Unread has one true weakness relative to “that other app” (Mr. Reader), it's that Unread doesn't allow for the creation of custom actions using URL schemes. If I lost you at “URL scheme”, no worries: Unread is definitely right for you. Otherwise you'd know that despite how nice and lovely it is to have access to iOS 8's share sheet, you're still limited by what other app developers give you access to with their apps' extensions. Need to format that text just so for your Markdown link list that you're writing in Drafts or Editorial? Not so easily done in Unread with just the iOS share sheet, but definitely possible via custom actions in Mr. Reader. Extreme usage case? Maybe, but reading RSS in 2015 is pretty darn nerdy, actions and URL schemes are pretty darn nerdy, so let's just say there's definitely some overlap there that would love to have a slightly more powerful Unread. Oh, and one more thing: as with Unread 1.0, version 1.5 still offers no way to manage your feed subscriptions, so if you want to add or subtract a particular feed, well you just can't. Not a dealbreaker by any means, but wouldn't it be cool if…
All that is a long-winded way of saying that yes, Unread 1.5 is much improved, easier to use, and still as handsome as ever. It may not be quite up to snuff for some power users, but it remains, more so than ever, the perfect place for power reading. If you haven't tried Unread yet, definitely give it a spin. In an App Store full of well intentioned RSS readers for the iPhone, Unread is easily your best bet.
Requires iOS 8.0 or later. Compatible with iPad. Unread is free to try. Users can read up to 50 articles and after that 3 per day. A $4.99 IAP unlocks unlimited reading. In other words, to really use Unread, it's going to cost you $4.99. We think it's worth it.