There are many different ways to save web pages in a list to read later. Most browsers, including the ones on iOS devices, include an option for saving articles to read later, Instapaper is an app available on almost any device that does many things aside from saving articles to read later, but it costs $4.99. The app Pocket works on the same devices and saves articles in much the same way, yet misses out on the extras.
I was inspired to download Pocket after seeing it advertised all over. The name has recently changed from “Read It Later” to “Pocket,” and a big push it out there for everyone to download. After seeing it pop up numerous times, I decided to download it to my iPad to see what all the fuss is about and if it was any better than the Reading List function on Safari.
After downloading Pocket and signing in, it gives you a quick tutorial with options for getting it set up the best way possible for the ways you intend to use it. One of those options is to add Pocket to your address book so that you can email links to your reading list. It’s so easy to set up, that it only requires you to hit the button, and it adds the appropriate button and does all the work for you of adding it to your address book.
Setting up your Safari in iOS to work along with Pocket is quite easy. In the instructions, they tell you that the way the apps are created through Apple, they aren’t allowed to do any of this work for you. Nevertheless, they make it quite easy to get it set up. It just requires you to go to a certain link in your browser, add it to your list of favorites, edit the link, and it’s done. It allows you then to test it, and if you have done it correctly, it gives you the message telling you so.
With Pocket set up in Safari, and a handy link residing in your Bookmarks Bar, saving a link to read later in Pocket is simply a matter of clicking on the link. It then gives you a message confirming that it has been saved to your reading list.
To view the items you have saved in your reading list, open the Pocket app. This presents you with different choices for the list, such as all the links, just the articles, just the images, or just the videos. Although I saved it to my iPad reading list, it’s now available on my iPhone reading list as well.
Once again, Pocket helps you do as much of the work as they possibly can. When I installed the app to my iPad, it gave me the option to have the instructions for installing on my computer emailed to me. I did that, expecting a list of instructions, and instead just had a link I needed to click. Opening the link in Firefox opened up the extension, showing me the benefits of adding it to Firefox. It gives you a simple link to click again to install it.
In Firefox, the Pocket extension shows up in the right hand side, to the side of the Google search box. It gives me the same options as I had in iOS, to view by article, image, or video, as well as viewing it by newest, oldest, title, and site. It has all the articles I saved on my iPad listed here. It makes it not only a good way to “read it later,” but also a good way to transfer URLs from device to device.
The main advantage to using Pocket over the Safari Read Later function on iOS devices is that it doesn’t just work with Safari. It works with over three-hundred other apps, as well as Android devices, Windows, Mac, and even Kindle Fire. The other advantage is that it also works offline. To check this, I put my iPad in Airplane mode, and while I couldn’t read anything saved with Read Later in Safari, I could read all the articles I saved to Pocket. Options are available including changing the text size, marking it as read, and saving it as a favorite.
Pocket isn’t only a very convenient app for saving articles to read later, but it’s also a great way to share links back and forth between devices, even cross-platform devices. And the best part of all is that it costs nothing to download, unlike Instapaper. If you need all the bells and whistles, Instapaper is probably the way to go. But if you don’t need them, save the $4.99 and get Pocket.