The 10 best news apps to stay informed without all the doomscrolling

If you want to stay informed on current affairs, you could download every single news app out there. But that would be overwhelming. Instead, make it easier on yourself and find a great news aggregator.

These news apps collect articles from a large pool of sources, and incorporate different types of reporting, so instead of getting stories just from the New York Times or a local news station, you’ll get a good mix.

If you really only want updates from your regional newspaper, go ahead and download that dedicated app. But for news stories from around the world and across topics including entertainment, science, tech, politics, and beyond, find yourself the best news app for you that’s customizable.

If you use notifications you’ll be glad you stuck with just a few news apps to save your entire screen from blowing up with constant “breaking” alerts.

All of these news apps are free to download on Android and Apple devices, although some have premium, paid versions available.

1. Apple News

Apple’s news service keeps iPhone and iPad users fully informed on current affairs. You can browse top headlines or set up notifications based on certain topics or news outlets. So you could get alerted about every politics story, say, if that’s what you really want.

Apple News is also available as a web app for Mac laptop users, but it doesn’t fully sync with the iOS or iPad app versions.

For $9.99 per month you can also subscribe to Apple News+ for access to a bunch of publications (even those with paywalls) and listen to articles narrated as audio stories. That access is across all devices.

A glaring issue with Apple News: Android users are out of luck.

Apple News brings the latest stories to  your iOS devices.
Credit: Shutterstock / DenPhotos

2. Google News

Google News is basically Apple News for Android users, as you might expect. BUT, even iOS devices are compatible with the Google News app. If you’re already relying on headlines from the “News” section on Google Search on desktop you’ll probably fit right in with the search engine’s news app.

Google News is accessible to anyone and is free to use with your Google account.

Time for some news.
Credit: Shutterstock / BigTunaOnline

3. The Week

The Week is an IRL weekly magazine that collects and summarizes news from all over, but its accompanying app can catch you up quickly. If you’re into lists, the app’s daily briefing tab gives you “10 things you need to know today” every day. You can also read some articles on the app without a subscription, but for full digital issues you’ll need to subscribe (50 digital-only issues for $89).

The best experience for The Week is on desktop, but if you’re always on your phone this works just fine.

4. Flipboard

Originally formed as a digital magazine, Flipboard makes news gathering more about topics than individual headlines. It emphasizes community curation to create mini magazine issues customized for you about certain places, categories, or events.

For the dedicated news reader you can customize the app to fit best with your interests and preferred publications.

Flipboard is like a personal magazine.
Credit: flipboard

5. SmartNews

This Japanese-based news aggregator uses machine learning to find top stories for its app. It’s been popular in Japan and the U.S. for many years, with a focus on news from those two countries. Partnerships with select news outlets are also featured on the platform, and there’s a special sections with live coverage, such as for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Additionally, its local news section is plugged into 6,000 cities across the U.S.

6. News360

This aggregator calls itself a “news reader” with a focus on custom news. It tracks the types of stories you click on to serve up more stories that you’re likely to be interested in. To be sure the computer gets it right you can also manually select topics. But fair warning: The app lists more than 1 million topics to choose from.

7. Yahoo News

Yes, Yahoo still exists. While you may have switched over to Gmail for your email inbox years ago, Yahoo News is still going strong with a robust collection of stories from major news outlets. It’s especially known for breaking news and live events, like the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

8. News Break

Instead of surfacing the top stories for a national audience, the News Break app tries to localize news based on cities and metropolitan areas that you care about. So instead of big news from the recent Florida building collapse you can find local news headlines from your city or hometown. The app emerged a few years ago from a former Yahoo executive from China.

You can adjust the number of notifications News Break pings you about, but even the lowest setting can feel like a barrage of daily news.

9. Ground News

With news from around the world and more than 50,000 sources in one place, you’ll maybe be too informed. Ground News has different news products including an app, webpage, browser extension, newsletter, and other news comparison tools based on your subscription level. There’s Free (for, well, free), Pro (for $0.83 cents each month), or Premium (for $2.49 per month).

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Free gets you the most basic, limited access which includes Ground News’ headline comparison tool for up to three sources, 20 custom interests, coverage distribution chart, and device support. Premium has unlimited customization, a blind spot detection feature, unlimited headline comparisons, and an exclusive weekly newsletter.

10. Pocket

Pocket is Mozilla’s bookmarking tool, but the app’s homepage has a “Discover” tab that pulls up popular stories that others are saving to the app. You can also connect your Twitter account (and your iOS and Google contact lists) and see the links that people you follow are linking for a more personalized selection. A premium version of the “read later” app with a permanent library and suggested tags for better organizing is either $4.99 per month or $44.99 for a year.

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