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Best news apps of 2021

best news apps
(Image credit: Apple)

When there's a breaking story — and there always seems to be these day — you'll want one of the best news apps on your phone. When you launch a news app, you can stay informed, with the best options going beyond the headlines to help you understand more about the world around you.

Once upon a time, RSS-style feed readers were enough to stay on top of the news. These days, the best news apps offer more, whether it's coverage from multiple sources or layouts designed with your smartphone screen in mind.

All the big players from Apple to Google offer their particular take on the news, and we've included some of those options here. But we've also taken a look at other selections, from news curators to feed readers that represent the best news apps available for Android and iOS devices.

The best news apps for Android and iOS

Google News

best news apps Google News

(Image credit: Google)

It's no surprise that search giant Google is also in the news reader app game, with its Google News app leveraging the search giant's big data expertise in an attempt to bring the most relevant news, features, and local stories to your touch screen. 

Google News presents readers with a customized news briefing of the top five stories, updating throughout the day, based on global news, local content, and your interests, and newsfeed of other content. 

One feature we really like is the "Full Coverage" button below each headline card that brings up other views and articles focused on the same topic — an approach that delivers a broader view of the story. You can also subscribe to your favorite news sources, with options for premium subscriptions to magazines, newspapers and websites.

Apple News

best news apps: apple news plus

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Apple's News app comes pre-installed on your iPhone or iPad, offering up a wealth of news stories from a variety of sources. Editor-curated feeds catch you up on the latest headlines and special interest pieces, while a personalized newsfeed lets you select your favorite topics. The Feed learns and improves its choices based on your reading habits. As of iOS 14, a home screen widget serves up headlines without you having to even open the app.

But as part of Apple's push into services, the company has beefed up its new app, adding News Plus in 2019. This $9.99/month subscription service offers access to more than 300 different magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, and Wired, as well as premium articles from The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times. Apple has also introduced audio stories, including a daily audio briefing on the most pressing news. 

The organization of Apple News Plus didn't impress us when we tested the app, but at least Apple's come up with more creative ways to pay for the service. You can get News Plus as part of the Apple One bundle. The $29.95/month premier bundle not only includes News Plus, but all other Apple subscription services like Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade and Apple Fitness Plus. 

  • Download Apple News: iOS

Microsoft News

best news apps microsoft news

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Not to be outdone, Microsoft also has tossed its own hat in the mobile news app game with the Microsoft News app, offering a range of curated news selections as well as a personalized, topical news feed. Home Screen and Today Widgets put your news stories within easy reach, and a clean, clutter-free reader keeps things neat and distraction-free. 

Users can optimize the layout, select a dark theme, sync settings across their account, and save stories for offline reading. The app pulls stories from a wide variety of sources, from traditional news outfits, and newspapers, to entertainment magazines, websites, and new media sources.

AP News

best news apps ap news

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For one of the best news apps with a more traditional approach, you can check out the Associated Press's mobile offering. AP News delivers stories from the Associated Press's network of local, national, and global news writers. 

Users can follow their favorite news topics as well as local AP-affiliated news sources, check out photo galleries, video and radio news, and receive customized news alerts based on personalized topics. 

Reuters News

best news apps Reuters

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Featuring content from more than 2,000 reporters in 180 countries, Reuters News provides a broad perspective for world news, as well the option to narrow down and build a more personalized news stream with your favorite topics. You can also find relevant stories based on your location. 

Users can catch up quickly with Editorial Highlights as well as follow the financials with their personal Market Watchlist. Reuters News also allows users to save articles for offline reading.

Inkl

best news apps inkl

(Image credit: Inkl)

The aforementioned Apple News Plus service isn't the first app to offer an unlimited buffet of news content from premium sources and magazines. With a subscription to inkl, you get access to content from a variety of sources such as the The Guardian, Straits Times, The Economist, Bloomberg and more. 

It all comes in an ad-free reader interface with tools to follow favored topics and filter news for relevance, with related stories for multiple perspectives as well as curated collections and Good News to lighten things up. 

Subscriptions are available at monthly ($9.99) and annual ($99.99) rates; a pay-per-article tier lets you pay $10 to red 100 articles.

Inoreader

best news apps inoreader

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Inoreader offers up a customizable news and feed reader app that’s got something to offer to both free tier users and those looking to spring for a pro-mode upgrade. Users can subscribe to RSS Feeds, blogs, podcasts, social media searches and more, complete with search, a personalized dashboard, the option to save to services like Pocket and Google Drive, or share to scheduling services like Buffer and HootSuite. 

Step up to the $50 annual Pro subscription, and you get unlimited topic and feed subscriptions, rules-based automation, feed filtering, and other advanced tools to customize your feed reading.

Feedly

best news apps feedly

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Feedly lands among the best news apps by carrying on the banner for traditional RSS reader-style apps after the late, lamented Google Reader shut down. Users can sign up to Feedly and then follow their favorite topics, websites, blogs, keywords, social media accounts, and more, with the app constantly supplying a stream of the latest from the topics that users follow and customizable list and reading views that suit their tastes. 

Best of all, since Feedly is built on RSS, you can even manually add your favorite feeds to the app if you can't find them within the expansive library of topics and keywords. 

While the app is free, a $7 monthly Feedly subscription unlocks features like more powerful article search, app integrations to quickly save content to a variety of services, automation and integration through the likes of IFTTT and Zapier.

Flipboard

best news apps flipboard

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A news reader app that puts the priority on presentation, Flipboard is another old favorite, turning bland-looking web articles into slick presentations not out of place in some glossy magazine. 

Users can pick from a slew of topics, interests, and websites (or add their own), and the app builds a “Smart Magazine” devoted to those selections, feeding you a rich blend of articles from sources all across the web that have been personalized to your own tastes. You can then take your time reading through articles repackaged into media-centric reader views, or get the latest breaking news in your notification tray.

Pocket

best news apps: Pocket

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If you can't read it now, why not just read it later? That's the idea behind Pocket, one of the best news apps for saving interesting articles, links, news stories and other content to consumer later at your own convenience in a stripped-down, reader-friendly format. 

Once installed, Pocket integrates with the share sheets and buttons of many apps, email services and browsers, allowing you to quickly save interesting content for later. Your saved content syncs across devices, and users can configure the reader view; Pocket will even read to you if you want it. 

A premium subscription removes advertising, saves content to a Permanent Library, and includes advanced search and organization tools to help you sort through all of your stories and articles.