I am excited to report that Unread 3 is coming soon! Unread 3 will add support for standalone accounts. Standalone accounts are based on a cloud service that I have been working on and using myself for over a year. The cloud service polls feeds periodically looking for new articles. Unread then downloads the articles from the cloud service. Your feed subscriptions, read/unread status values, saved articles, and even webpage text settings will be synced across devices.

I am most excited about the improved first run experience for new customers. Today a new customer cannot get started without first obtaining an account from an external service. With Unread 3, you can quickly create a standalone account that syncs across devices from inside the app.

Why a Cloud Service?

The cloud service adds a variety of benefits over the app retrieving articles directly from feeds:

  • Refreshing the list of articles is much faster, and uses less battery power and bandwidth.
  • Some feeds age out articles after only a few hours. The cloud service ensures that you do not miss articles.
  • The cloud service takes advantage of the webpage text service to incorporate hero images and author names into articles when feeds omit them.
  • Since the cloud service is independent of iCloud, syncing is not subject to iCloud’s throttling and does not consume iCloud storage.

External Feed Services

Support for external feed services such as Feedly and Feedbin remains important for Unread. If you are happy using an external feed service, you can continue doing so. You will not need to change anything.

You will want to continue using your external feed service if you use it to keep Unread in sync with other RSS readers or if you use the website that your feed service provides. The cloud service for standalone accounts is focused on article retrieval and syncing for Unread.

Feed Wrangler

Feed Wrangler recently announced that it is shutting down on March 1, 2023. Standalone accounts will be available before Feed Wrangler shuts down. If you are using Feed Wrangler and are using it only as a backend for Unread, Unread’s standalone accounts will provide a suitable replacement. If you also sync to other RSS readers or if you also need a web interface, Unread supports Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, and NewsBlur.

I thank Feed Wrangler’s developer, David Smith, for his work on Feed Wrangler and for giving a generous amount of advanced notice before the shutdown.

Stay Up to Date

There is not yet an estimated release date for Unread 3, and there is no room for additional beta testers right now. But I am excited to announce that standalone accounts are coming soon. For updates, follow this blog via RSS or follow @unread_app on Twitter.

I just released Unread 2.8.6 with these improvements:

  • Feedly recently started referring to feed groupings as folders. Previously Feedly referred to them as categories. With this update, Unread now refers to feed groupings in Feedly accounts as folders in order to be consistent with Feedly’s nomenclature.
  • This update adds modest improvements to article list thumbnail selection for articles with embedded YouTube videos.
  • This update fixes a crash.

The update is available in the App Store.

Unread 2.8.4 is available through the App Store. This update incorporates these improvements:

  • For customers who have not yet purchased a subscription, there is now an Upgrade menu item in place of the Light/Dark Mode Theme menu item in the swipe left menu of the article list and the subscription list. This change does not apply to customers with an active subscription.
  • This update fixes a bug that prevented steampowered.com images from being displayed under some circumstances.
  • This update improves discovery of Reddit feeds.
  • This update fixes a bug that would cause a crash when tapping a GIF from the article view under some circumstances.
  • This update fixes a background crash.

2021 brought significant updates to Unread:

  • Version 2.5 expanded Unread’s free tier.
  • Version 2.6 added full text search capabilities and a compact article list option for iPhone. Both features were in high demand and have been well received.
  • Version 2.7 improved handling of linked list articles. When, for example, a Daring Fireball article is a link to a MacStories article, the full text of both the Daring Fireball article and the linked MacStories article will appear on Unread’s article screen. This works with most websites that publish linked list articles including Daring Fireball, Hacker News, The Loop, MacStories, Michael Tsai’s blog, and Six Colors.
  • Version 2.8 added extra large widgets for iPad, support for Quick Notes on iPad, handoff between two devices running Unread, support for Siri Suggestions and Siri Search, and more.

I also released the Webpage Text API that powers Unread’s webpage text parsing and caching system as a standalone service.

Last year I wrote that I was working on Unread 3, trying to spend half my time on a big area of focus for Unread 3 and half my time on incremental updates. I am now working full time on Unread 3 functionality. While the pace of incremental updates has slowed over the past few months, the pace of development work on Unread has not. I still cannot promise a release date, and I hesitate to describe the new functionality before it is ready. However development work is progressing well. I hope to share my work soon.

Have a happy and healthy 2022.

Unread 2.8.3 is available from the App Store with these improvements:

  • When sharing an article to Discord via the share sheet, Unread will now send only a link to the article. Unread will let Discord generate its own link preview.
  • This update fixes a bug that could cause a crash under some circumstances.
  • Unread no longer uses a third-party crash reporting service. The privacy policy has been updated accordingly.

Unread 2.8.2 is available from the App Store with these improvements:

  • This update fixes a bug that could cause a background crash or a crash at startup under some circumstances.
  • This update fixes a bug that prevented the feed title from appearing in the article view under some circumstances.
  • This update fixes bugs around saving the webpage text vs. feed text setting for an individual article when it varies from the setting for its feed.
  • The General font size setting now has text indicating that it is a legacy option. I intend to remove this setting when I can require iOS 15 or iPadOS 15. iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 let one specify system type sizes for individual apps, making the General font size setting redundant. The Article Lists and Article View type size settings will remain.

Unread 2.8.1 is available from the App Store. This update incorporates these improvements:

  • This update fixes bugs around refreshing an account on a new device after migrating or restoring data from an old device.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused some videos to be invisible under some circumstances on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused broken thumbnail images for some articles from abc.net.au.
  • This update removes support for entering credentials via the 1Password share sheet extension. AgileBits discontinued that extension. You can still enter credentials from 1Password via AutoFill.

iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 are here, and Unread is ready. Unread 2.8 is available from the App Store with these improvements:

  • On an iPad running iPadOS 15, Unread now includes an extra large Articles widget and an extra large Unread Counts widget.
  • This update adds support for Quick Notes on iPadOS 15.
  • This update adds support for handoff, allowing you to start reading an article on one device and continue reading it on another.
  • This update adds support for Siri suggestions and Siri search.
  • This update adds a monthly pricing option of $2.99 (USD)/month for Unread subscriptions.

Additional Changes

  • The Recent Articles widget is now called Articles.
  • The Context Menus setting is now on the Advanced settings screen.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused the Clear Read Articles menu item to be unavailable while refreshing an account.
  • Unread now downloads new articles more quickly from Feedly accounts that have large numbers of Read Later articles.
  • This update improves the formatting of articles from drive.com.au.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused articles from sloanreview.mit.edu to contain author names with HTML tags.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused broken images in articles from higashihonganjiusa.org.
  • This update fixes a bug that caused iframe elements in articles from thebestsocial.media to be cut off.

If you enjoy using Unread or are happy about this update, please consider leaving a review, writing about it on your blog, or telling your friends on social media.