I have news to share: You can now read Wonder Tools and other newsletters in the new Substack iPhone app.
It’s like a podcast player, but for newsletters. The app gives you a dedicated Inbox for my Substack and any others you subscribe to. It’ll help declutter your email by separating out newsletters.
New posts won’t get stuck in spam or trapped by email filters. Longer posts won’t get cut off by your email app.
The Substack app is available for iOS, or you can join the Android waitlist here.
Now that you can collect Substacks automatically in one place, should you? I was in a beta testing group for the app and I’ve seen both benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of reading in the Substack app 👍
Separate out newsletters from personal and work email.
Avoid missing newsletters in the swamp of other email.
See newsletter videos and audio right within the app, rather than clicking out to separate links.
Clean up your inbox.
Discover interesting newsletters your favorite writers are reading. Each writer's profile shows what they read.
Free. Some other newsletter reading apps charge.
For Substack newsletters only. If you read newsletters written on other platforms, they won't show up in the Substack app.
Note: There is a workaround. Go to reader.substack.com and add non-Substack newsletters by adding a newsletter's RSS feed URL. Here's a guide if you need help finding an RSS feed.
No favorite or star feature. There's no way to star or favorite the newsletters of most interest to you as you can with other newsletter-reading apps, such as Meco.
No way to pay in the app. For paid newsletters, you'll have to subscribe online.
No adjusting fonts or sizes. The reading settings are fixed, unlike other readers that let you customize your reading view.
No writing or editing. The app is just for reading, for now. If you have your own Substack, you can't use the app to write or edit it.
The workaround for me is using a mobile Web browser to log into my Substack dashboard for editing on the go.
Readwise Reader is a terrific app in development. In addition to letting me subscribe to any newsletter— not just those published on Substack— it also lets me save key parts of posts that I want to refer back to later. It stores those highlights alongside text I've saved from online articles. It also stores book passages I've annotated on my Kindle as well as text from pages I’ve snapped photos of in print books. I like having access to all of my highlights in one place, which is why I rely on Readwise. The newsletter reader is still in beta, but works consistently well. You can forward emails into it, subscribe to newsletters with a custom email address, or add an RSS feed.
Newsletterss (spelled with an RSS at the end) is a nice newsletter reader that gives you a new email address for subscribing to newsletters and reading them in the app. It provides a simple streamlined reader and works with any newsletter. Works for iOS and Android. Free for basic usage or $2/month for premium features like access to an unlimited number of newsletter subscriptions.
Meco is a new service I like for pulling newsletters I already subscribe to out of my inbox and into a separate app for reading. The primary benefit is that unlike Newsletterss or other newsletter readers, it doesn't require you to re-sign up for newsletters with a new custom email address.
Instead, you give Meco access to scan your Gmail inbox and it gives you a list of all the newsletters you've received over the past week. You can then choose which ones to shift out of your inbox and into Meco's app. You can change your mind later if you want to return a newsletter to your email inbox. iOS only. (Stoop Inbox is good as an Android alternative).
I like cutting down on my inbox and redirecting messages to Meco. I can open it twice a week for dedicated newsletter-reading sessions.
Unlike the Substack app, Meco lets you create groups of newsletters (i.e. work-related, food-related, hobby-related, etc) so you can choose which subject to focus on during a particular reading session. Or you can use the Newsflash feature and scroll through one continuous page of the newsletters that have arrived within the past day.
Want more options?
What’s your preferred way to read newsletters? Share a comment or hit reply to reach my inbox.
p.s. I’m excited to share that today — in my role as director of the Journalism Creators Program at CUNY’s Newmark Graduate School of Journalism — we’re welcoming a fantastic new group of journalists to our 100-day online program. Each is developing a new project. This is our 4th cohort and our most global group so far — excited to launch the journey! I may spotlight some of their projects here in the months ahead. Read more about this international group of creators.