Newspapers may be struggling, but the news and information sector is alive and well. News finds its way to us on our smartphones and tablets, rather than being the pain-staking embodiment of ‘message in a bottle’ arriving too little, too late.
No matter the halt, a vast segment of readers want to stay on top of things at all times, and a robust, feature-rich news app can weave together a superior user experience.
This rundown will talk about the 13 best news apps that help customers stay updated with the latest events and keep them coming back.
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Top 13 News Apps that Keep Users Engaged
1. BBC News
The British Broadcasting Corporation(BBC) is regarded as one of the top news sites that keep readers updated with the latest news stories and videos on-demand. It is considered the best world news app for iOS and Android, offering innovative ways to keep users engaged.
What makes BBC news so remarkable?
- “My News” option is an excellent example of personalization, allowing users to navigate wherever they choose and visit the sections they like best: Top headlines, Economy, Breaking News, etc.
- Live-streaming news channels within the app, recreating the TV news experience on a mobile device.
- Breaking news through notifications to keep users informed on what matters.
Think of the excitement of a Ferris Wheel and the aesthetics of a fashion magazine adapted to a news app, and you are thinking of Flipboard. Flipboard is quite possibly the world’s trendiest and most engaging news app. It has beautiful visuals and brilliant design architecture that presents news stories creatively.
The interface shows various types of content, including articles, slideshows, and videos, and it connects with social media sites like Twitter and Instagram.
What makes Flipboard so great?
- A captivating design that increases the time spent on the app.
- “For You” tab to personalize the experience
- A live news app that features real-time streaming of events as they unfold
- ‘Make your own magazine’ to let readers bring creativity to their reading and make the most of this news aggregator app
3. Google News
Google News uses its big data muscles by personalizing each user’s feed. And they’re pretty darn good at it, as you can imagine! Google News can also show you local news if that’s what you’re in the market for.
What makes Google News so popular?
- Under each headline, the “Full Coverage” button lets users round up coverage from the best news sources on a given topic—something discerning readers value in an era of intense partisanship and concern about biased reporting.
- Ability to subscribe to specific news sources and read them directly from the app.
- Option to purchase premium subscriptions to news outlets.
- Interconnected updates on the latest developments for existing news updates.
Download: Android, iOS
4. The New York Times
The New York Times is America’s paper of record, featuring “All the news that’s fit to print” for over a century. Known worldwide for its award-winning reporting, the New York Times offers a newspaper app that all its digital subscribers can access.
What makes The New York Times app so engaging?
- Offline reading for subscribers who might lose internet access on the New York subway (or any metro worldwide).
- Breaking news alerts + notifications on topics of interest.
- A clean, intuitive user interface that readers can wrap their heads around.
5. CNN News
CNN pioneered the 24-hour cable news phenomenon—for better or worse!
CNN’s official mobile app receives 40% of its total internet traffic, and users find it engaging and easy to navigate. CNN offers a wide assortment of articles, and even though the primary target market is the U.S. audience, the app will tailor news to your region.
What makes CNN’s news app so impressive?
- CNN-exclusive content that you can’t see anywhere else.
- Video news channel that offers seamless live streaming.
- Additional video-based content (including popular shows) that video news junkies love.
In a world of contentious debates, the Reuters news app is respected by many across the political spectrum. Reuters is known for fact-checking and objective reporting, featuring news from around the world.
What makes Reuters so authoritative?
- Content from more than 2,000 journalists in 180 countries across the globe
- Straightforward personalization allows users to see more of the stories they want to see
- Editorial highlights let users sample opinion pieces from different sides of a given debate
7. AP Mobile
The Association Press launched its Mobile news app way back in 2008. Regarded as one of the top news sites and trusted globally for unbiased journalism, it’s an invaluable resource for those who want a straightforward User Experience (UX) and factual reporting.
What makes the AP Mobile news app successful?
- Regular, efficient updates so users can stay informed on the latest events
- Breaking news is displayed in a stripped-down style
- The app is quick and responsive, thanks to its simple format
8. Apple News
Apple News is the native news app on iPhones and iPads, and if you’ve ever owned one of these devices, you know how much they try to vie for our attention. Unless you turn the app’s notifications off, you’ll get a barrage of updates.
The good news is that it does an excellent job of understanding what interests you, so you’ll see stories you like. It also has impressive news aggregator features others don’t offer, assuming you’re willing to pay for Apple News+.
Owing to the low-effort ability to reach wider audiences, Apple also features content that exists behind many news outlets’ paywalls. In other words, for $9.99/month, you can read stories in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and many more—subscriptions that would cost you hundreds of dollars per year if you purchased them individually.
What makes Apple News so practical?
- Native and powerful integration with the Apple ecosystem offers robust functionality
- Deep understanding of the user persona within the Apple ecosystem
- Apple+ subscriptions are perfect for people who want to read premium content from various sources
- Beautiful UX design that we’ve come to expect from Apple
Download: No iOS download required—the app comes pre-installed.
Feedly is one of the best news apps that use RSS feeds. The app pulls all essential news from various sources, allowing users to view stories from the most trusted outlets. Feedly was one of the earliest apps to use RSS feeds, and it gained a loyal following, making them an established player in the news and information sector.
What makes Feedly so incredible?
- Easy integration with Facebook, IFTTT, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Evernote, OneNote, and others
- Straightforward UX that makes customization a breeze
- The Bookmarking feature lets you tailor your reading time and experience
- Machine learning that helps deliver personalized content to users
SmartNews is one of the top news apps for Android and iOS devices. Its friendly and intuitive interface improves utility, and like other successful aggregators, it does a great job of presenting content based on a user’s past behavior.
What made SmartNews so successful?
- Excellent algorithm to deliver relevant content to each user
- Well-designed UX
- The option to save articles for offline reading
News360 is another aggregator app that presents news from various sources on various topics. Well suited to users with niche interests, the app has over 1M+ topics! While that might be exhausting for some people, News360 has gained a loyal following among news junkies.
What makes News360 so fascinating?
- Stunning, highly-usable design
- Easy search features
- Powerful customization
Download: Android, iOS
Knowledge of worldly affairs is always insightful, but knowing what’s happening in the area connects you with the local community. When it comes to location-based news, Newsbreak takes the cake.
So, what is Newsbreak? Newsbreak is an online news website and app aggregating local news based on location. NewsBreak has a clean, minimal interface that lets you focus on the things that matter.
A dedicated tab to local news is easily accessible, allowing you to walk around your favorite cities without lifting a leg. What’s even better? Local Contributors can add a grassroots view of the current events, opening doors to unbiased conversations and information sharing.
What makes NewsBreak so exciting?
- Quick and easy access to local news
- Card-view for engaging, non-overwhelming experience
- Thumbs-up and comments allow for readers to contribute to the conversation
Digg features content from news websites worldwide, like Google News, Flipboard, and the other news aggregator apps on this list.
Through the power of computer algorithms and some tremendous old-fashioned human curation, Digg has created a loyal following that helps users figure out “what the internet is talking about right now.” That’s their tagline.
What makes the Digg news app inviting?
- Digg offers helpful summaries of news stories, helping busy professionals stay informed.
- Careful curation by Digg’s editors helps users “dig” deeper than the headlines to find informative pieces worth studying.
- Seamless saving and sharing features
- Wide-ranging options to customize the User Experience (UX)
Download: Android, iOS
A Word about Personalization
The world has grown highly individual in its tastes regarding media consumption. Many cultural critics argue that this has caused more harm than good, making a solid case. News has become siloed, and people often live in very different worlds from their neighbors who consume various news sources.
An extreme example of personalization run amok is what happens when you start watching YouTube videos from people who believe the world is flat. The platform decides that you like this “flat earth” content, and it sends you more of it. If you’re particularly susceptible to online videos, you may wonder whether NASA has been lying to you.
Okay, probably not! You’re smart enough to read Net Solutions’ blog, so you’re a rational human being. Still, you can see where personalization can get us in trouble as a civilization.
Personalization is a vital component of these apps’ successes despite its downsides. They have mastered the art of delivering content designed to engage users based on their interests.
All this begs the question—what’s an app designer to do? How do we make ethical news apps that can still compete by delivering personalized content?
Keeping the Human Touch
The answer, we believe, lies in some degree of curation—having real, live human beings make decisions about what content to present rather than relying exclusively on the almighty algorithm.
Newspapers have always had editors who decide what constitutes objective journalism, and aggregator sites must employ the same rigor to ensure their news sources are free of bias. Fact-checking opinion pieces would also include a step forward.
App Design Lessons for the Rest of Us
We’ve designed and built a mind-blowing number of apps at Net Solutions, helping startup teams and established companies bring their apps to market. Since mobile technology was born, we’ve been doing mobile design and mobile app development, and we’re in a unique position to see what works.
Even if you’re not planning to build a news app specifically, studying news apps can tell you a lot about the latest and greatest in mobile app software. After all, mobile apps receive an extraordinary amount of traffic, and companies use that data to understand their consumers better and deliver products that engage them.
When it comes to your app, take a page from the best news apps’ playbooks and work toward creating a powerful experience that, if it makes sense, provides some degree of personalization.
Of course, your first release will not likely have much personalization. In most cases, you’ll be focused on creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and refining your app based on user feedback. However, the ultimate goal is to work toward a mature product that offers an unforgettable experience that keeps users coming back year after year.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some news apps without ads?
The ever-shifting global frontier seems always to have something to report. In a perpetual ‘breaking news’ cycle, having access to an unobtrusive reading experience is paramount.
For an ad-free experience, many news outlets offer a premium version, with some added bells and whistles. Some ad-free news apps are the Financial Times, The Washington Post, Inkl, and the New Yorker.
2. Which is the best app for a news summary?
Staying informed remains a challenge in a world busier than ever before.
This is where summaries play a critical role. Some apps that do an excellent job presenting bite-sized takeaways are Google news, Inshorts, Aadhan.
3. What is the most reliable free news app for current US news?
News outlets such as the Reuters, Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and the New York Times are regarded highly and provide in-depth analysis and reliable reporting from across the globe- including all current US news.
4. Which platform is more suitable for your news app?
Getting the app in front of your target audience is equally, if not more important, than developing the app itself. iPhones make up nearly 58% of the market in the US, and if your userbase resides in the US, the Apple ecosystem is a logical choice. Moreover, Statista projects that the number of Apple News + paid subscribers were expected to rise to 19 million by 2023, up from 11 million in 2020, meaning the sector is growing and revenue is there for the taking.
On the other hand, Android dominates the global market with a 72% market share, so if your northstar metric is maximizing installs and increasing your user base worldwide, Android could be your go-to platform.