Taking in news can feel like drinking from a fire hose. There's an overload of news and information available on social media, news sites, and TV—which makes it nearly impossible to live under a rock, but it can be challenging to find one reliable place to engage with diverse news without being overwhelmed.
I normally get my news from bookmarked news sites, podcasts, and—gasp—Twitter. But I know there's got to be a better way—one that lets me follow my interests and stay well-informed without wasting hours of my day (or endangering my sanity). I decided to give a news aggregator app a try.
While there don't seem to be many news apps left these days—possibly due to changes in the way audiences prefer to consume information—there are still a few popular and reliable options to choose from. I tested all the news aggregator apps I could find over the course of a few weeks. Based on all that testing, these are my top picks for those of us who want to cut through the noise and stay knowledgeable about current events.
The best news apps
inkl for focusing on what's newsworthy instead of what's trending
Google News for free access to a wide range of news
Flipboard for designing your own news experience
Ground News for getting a variety of perspectives
NewsBreak for a social media-like news app
What makes the best news app?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
For this roundup, I looked at primarily news aggregator apps. Read-it-later apps and RSS readers can aggregate news for you, but they're more hands-on, and really a different category of app. I also left out any apps that are owned by companies that do their own journalism—like CNN, Fox News, and Reuters. And while I might get some flak for it, Reddit and other social media apps also weren't up for consideration.
I know most folks don't look at their news on a desktop, so I also focused on mobile apps. I tested each app on an iPhone XR running on iOS 16.1.1. Testing involved downloading each app, choosing a few sources and topics to follow, exploring the types of news articles on offer, and taking note of the user experience over a few weeks of testing.
Most of the apps on this list pull from the same news sources, but you'll notice that certain apps (like NewsBreak and Google News) prioritize free stories over subscription-only sources. As a result, those news apps tend to pull articles from lesser-known publications, providing a wider selection of news than apps like Apple News, for example, which mainly promotes news from more prominent sources. I kept that all in mind as I was reviewing the apps.
As I tested, here's what I kept my eye out for.
Personal feed. The news needed to be presented well and organized intuitively on a custom feed.
Content interaction. I wanted to see what options were available for engaging with the content (e.g., a comment section or share options).
Categories. Each app organizes its content differently, but I wanted to see some sort of category-based organization, whether that was tabs, side panels, grouped content, or anything else.
Search and filter. Sometimes you're looking for a specific news topic, so I made sure search and filter capabilities allowed you to do that.
Customization. Everyone reads the news differently, so there needed to be features available for personalization, including the ability to follow certain topics, save searches, or create folders.
The best news apps at a glance
Focusing on what's newsworthy instead of what's trending
Free access to a wide range of news
Free; you may have to pay to view certain stories, depending on the source.
Designing your own news experience
Free; you may have to pay to view certain stories, depending on the source.
A variety of perspectives
Free; Pro plan is $0.99/month for bias comparison and a wide range of news sources; Premium plan starts at $3.99/month for Blindspot and Factuality analyses
A social media-like experience
Best news app for focusing on what's newsworthy instead of what's trending
inkl (Web, iOS, Android)
News stories are curated by real humans
"Dive Deeper" sections let you explore similar articles around the same topic
Aesthetically pleasing and intuitive interface
Expensive compared to other options
inkl impressed me from the very beginning with its elegant interface that isn't too busy or clickbait-y. And because it prioritizes high-quality journalism and news sources, perusing inkl feels like reading a thoughtfully curated newspaper.
Unlike many other popular news aggregators, inkl focuses on what's "most newsworthy" instead of what's trending. The home page and lead stories are curated by human experts instead of an algorithm, which means you can count on being shown reliable stories of public interest.
When you sign up for inkl, you'll get a Read first article and intro series that introduces new users to the app—which I thought was a nice touch. You can have the Morning Edition delivered to your inbox every day, and if you're tired of doom and gloom, the app offers a Good news section where you can peruse only positive stories. And Dive deeper sections appear at the end of many articles, inviting you to read more articles related to the topic from a variety of sources.
The main downside to inkl is that it's not free—and it's by far the priciest option on this list. But in my view, the $9.99/month is worth it if you want a human-curated, ad-free, and aesthetically pleasing news experience.
inkl price: $9.99/month (or $99.99/year)
While Apple News's user-friendliness doesn't quite match up to inkl's—and many more of the articles are still behind a paywall, even on the paid plan—it's also a solid option for human-curated news. The $9.99/month Apple News+ plan also offers audio news stories, which are narrated by voice actors and make it easy to take in your news on the go.
Best free news app for access to a wide range of news
Google News (iOS, Android, Web)
Google News pros:
Emphasis on local news
"Full coverage" link shows you a wide array of articles on that topic
Curates your feed based on your Google Search history
Google News cons:
No reader view; links take you directly to the article's webpage
We all know that Google does aesthetics well—and the modern look of the Google News app definitely helps create an enjoyable news-reading experience.
I particularly liked the Full Coverage panels, available on bigger stories: they give you a range of sources on a breaking story, plus relevant tweets and videos. When reading an article, you can just click the full coverage icon to access more on that topic. This made it easy and quick to spot similar stories without having to go out of my way to search for them manually. It also helps ensure that you're getting a variety of perspectives on a particular topic instead of just taking one perspective as gospel.
You can follow the topics and news sources you're most interested in, give individual stories a thumbs up or thumbs down, and save the searches and stories you're most interested in. I also appreciated the extensive search options, which include subcategories, recommended sources, and relevant articles—all of which means you'll get more relevant news the next time around.
The nice (or unsettling, depending on your take) thing about Google News is that it doesn't require a lot of manual setup or customization effort on your end. Along with topics and sources you choose to follow, the app uses your past search activity on Google and YouTube to suggest content you might be interested in. While it can be a slightly disturbing reminder of how much your browser and visited websites are watching you at all times, there's no denying that it is convenient.
Google News price: Free; you may have to pay to view certain stories, depending on the source.
Best news app for designing your own news experience
Flipboard (iOS, Android, Web)
Can curate your own "magazines" and share them with others
The flipping interface feels like reading a real paper compared to scrolling
No all-inclusive fee for access to bigger news sources
Flipboard is based on the idea of curating your own digital magazine—a compendium of stories, pulled from your choice of news sources, blogs, and any other site you can plug into Flipboard (which is pretty much all of them). It borders on RSS reader, but it's definitely more of a news app, so it made the cut.
You can be as broad or specific as you like with Flipboard: point it toward a general topic like technology or productivity, or specify one site in particular that you want to keep up with, and Flipboard mixes everything together seamlessly.
Flipboard beats out other news-gathering apps when it comes to its interface. While you can enable traditional scrolling in the settings, the default "flipping" interface feels like turning pages in a real magazine. It does make navigation slightly clunky here and there—but at least for me, it's fun once you get used to it. And the content flow feels natural, whether you want to check out the top stories of the day or dig deeper into something that hasn't been as widely covered. Where relevant, podcasts, tweets, and videos can be embedded alongside news stories.
It's not just for you, either—you can collect articles in a Flipboard magazine to share with family or with a team at work, helping other people focus on what's important in certain sectors and cutting out the extraneous noise.
Since Flipboard doesn't have the all-inclusive subscribe-for-access-to-multiple-publications plan, I noticed I didn't see stories from places like WSJ or other paywalled publications quite as much. Instead, Flipboard more often recommends stories from smaller, free publications.
Flipboard price: Free; you may have to pay to view certain stories, depending on the source.
Best news app for getting a variety of perspectives
Ground News (iOS, Android, Web)
Ground News pros:
Gives each news story a "Bias Distribution" along a political spectrum
Twitter Blindspotter tool analyzes your news diet on social media
Filter view lets you sort by bias, factuality, paywall, or location
Ground News cons:
The look of Ground News is a bit drab, but the app certainly makes up for it in other ways.
At the top of each article is a paragraph-long summary called Ground Summary. It gives you a slightly-more-than-headline level of information before you decide if you want to invest time into reading a story (which you can do by clicking on a source under Full Coverage).
Ground News prides itself on presenting a wide range of perspectives, and I saw this come through with its Across the Spectrum and Factuality features. When I scrolled past the Full Coverage section of an article, I was greeted by three bars of varying length and color: a blue one to represent politically left-aligned sources, red for politically right-aligned sources, and white for sources that fall somewhere in the center. When you click on one of those bars, the app automatically reveals similar articles from sources that are aligned with that sentiment.
Ground News also has what they call "Bias Distribution" for political stories, which indicates how biased a story or topic is toward a particular side of the political spectrum. If a story appears to be too weighted in favor of one side, Ground News will offer a warning that the story may be a "blindspot." To access a full report, which reveals more sources and their political biases, you'll need to pay for the premium plan.
With the premium plan, you also get custom articles recommended to you based on your reading habits, among other things. For instance, it comes with a Twitter "Blindspotter" feature that analyzes your social news diet, from sources to political leanings.
If having a better understanding of the inclinations and motives of your news sources is important to you, I'd say that Ground News is worth the cost.
Ground News price: Free; the Pro plan is $0.99/month (or $9.99/year) for bias comparison and a wide range of news sources. The Premium plan starts at $3.99/month (or $29.99/year) for Blindspot and Factuality analyses.
Best news app for a social media-like experience
NewsBreak (iOS, Android, Web)
Creator portal for sharing your own videos
Local news tab
Advanced filtering options
Can feel clickbait-y
Wade into comments sections at your own risk
What stood out to me at first glance with NewsBreak is the tab dedicated entirely to local news. But the other tabs at the top of the screen host a wealth of topics for you to explore from news sources all over.
As I scrolled through the feeds, it felt easy. Instead of being bombarded with lines and lines of text, NewsBreak splits each article into its own card with a large image and title.
NewsBreak offers a thumbs-up feature and comment section on each article. As you might guess, people can get quite, um, opinionated in the comments of certain articles. But it's mostly civil, so if you enjoy engaging in passionate conversation about news, you'll likely enjoy this feature.
It's not just the commenting feature that makes NewsBreak feel like a social media app; the Creator Portal allows users to record and post their own local videos and build a community. You can switch to the Videos tab for a TikTok-like interface that lets you swipe through content created by users near you. For instance, I got a lot of videos from Atlanta-based content creators suggesting restaurants and places to visit in my area.
NewsBreak gives you the typical customization options, like the ability to follow topics, but you can also block specific topics you're not interested in. And I mean really specific. For example, on an article with a recipe for apple butter snickerdoodles, I was able to choose to see fewer articles containing recipes, sugar, or food and drink. I have no qualms with any of those lovely things, but it's nice to have the option to filter out any unwanted topics.
NewsBreak price: Free
If you're looking for a social media-like experience in your news app, Artifact is another option to consider. It places a high emphasis on community-building, letting users add their phone's contacts as well as follow a wide variety of interests. I found that the Discuss tab interface felt a lot like scrolling through a Facebook feed—but with news articles instead of user posts.
Why should you use a news aggregator app?
The avalanche of news that breaks each and every day can be daunting, but with the right apps at hand, it doesn't have to be—you can get the news you want, in the way you want it, and keep up to speed with what's happening in the world.
This article was originally published in July 2018 by David Nield and has also had contributions from Kristina Lauren. The most recent update was in May 2023.