iPhone Apps I Actually Use: Part IV – Instapaper

Instapaper’s clean, no-nonsense browser interface makes online reading a pleasure…

Application: InstaPaper
Developer: Marco Arment
Price as Tested: InstaPaper – FREE; InstaPaper Pro – $4.99
(Caution: Clicking on the APP links will want to launch iTunes and go to the App Store)

The one thing that the iPhone is indisputably useful for is killing time. Whether or not you should be killing time is a matter for your own conscience, however we all end up in situations where we have no alternative… for example – commuting on public transit. Initially, listening to BBC World News podcasts would help pass my daily 2 hour commute but I soon craved something more substantial, something I could read!

Around the same time I began looking for better ways to manage my growing collection of browser bookmarks. Like most people, I really didn’t want to keep all the pages I’d bookmarked – many were just online articles I hadn’t finished reading… I needed a way to bookmark these sites temporarily so as not to clutter my permanent collection.

Instapaper turned out to be the solution to BOTH problems! As stated on their website, Instapaper is…  “a simple tool to save webpages for reading later.” Setup is pretty straightforward – just go to the Instapaper website and enter a username for a free account. Then, drag the READ LATER bookmarklet up to your browser’s bookmarks bar – that’s it! While browsing, when you come across an article you want to save just hit the READ LATER bookmarklet in your browser to store the page in your Instapaper archive. The archive can be accessed through a your browser, through the free iPhone app, the Pro iPad app or even a Kindle. The big advantage to using Instapaper is that all the website clutter is removed and the article is presented in a nice, clean, readable font.

Instapaper on the iPhone

The Instapaper Free iPhone app is limited to 10 articles and is supported by Ads but still offers enough functionality to help you decide whether you want to go with the paid version. Instapaper Pro offers iPad compatibility in addition to multiple tools to improve readability, access to folders for organization as well as a 250 article capacity. Once you’ve accessed your archive, both the Free and Pro versions of the Instapaper iPhone app will download your articles for offline reading.

Lately I’ve been using Instapaper to compile an hours worth of reading for my commute, then accessing it on my iPhone – effectively building my own custom newspaper. Instapaper is easy to use and currently the best way I’ve found to read an online article on my iPhone. Give it a shot and let me know what you think (especially if you’re an iPad user).

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2 Responses

  1. Yonathan says:

    It’s a great app which I’ve been using for quite some time now.
    I read that the iPad app let’s you change the color of the text and background – can the iPhone app do that as well?

  2. zac says:

    I’ve only got the free version on my iPhone, so it’s pretty basic. However, I really don’t like reading too much on the small screen anyways so I’m not sure I’d bother to upgrade. The paid version offers a “dark mode” for night reading and the ability to change the fonts and sizes. I find that my primary use for Instapaper is browser based on my laptop. I find it a convenient way to gather research for magazine articles I’m working without cluttering up my browser with a bunch of bookmarks.

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