When we hear the term “fake news,” what do we think of?
We tend to think of the media, right? But it’s not just the media that is churning out fake news.
It’s you. It’s me. It’s us.
Fake news is a huge problem, and it seems like there is no end to the lies, half-truths, and misinformation that gets spread around by well-meaning people who perceive things differently from how they actually are.
What can we do about it? Well, first, we need to be aware of our own fake news tendencies. We all have them. Next, we need to take steps to reduce our contributions to it. And finally—to combat the sources of fake news that are beyond our control—we need to fortify ourselves against its effects in our daily lives.
The goal of this blog is to provide resources for doing just that: becoming more aware of your own tendencies toward fake news, decreasing your personal contributions to its spread, and taking steps toward reducing its effects on yourself and others in your life.
best apps for unbiased news
The best news apps aggregate the news you need and filter out the noise. Credit: Shutterstock / Anton Garin
If you want to stay informed on current affairs, you could download every single news app out there. But that would be overwhelming. Instead, make it easier on yourself and find a great news aggregator.
These news apps collect articles from a large pool of sources, and incorporate different types of reporting, so instead of getting stories just from the New York Times or a local news station, you’ll get a good mix.
If you really only want updates from your regional newspaper, go ahead and download that dedicated app. But for news stories from around the world and across topics including entertainment, science, tech, politics, and beyond, find yourself the best news app for you that’s customizable.
If you use notifications you’ll be glad you stuck with just a few news apps to save your entire screen from blowing up with constant “breaking” alerts.
All of these news apps are free to download on Android and Apple devices, although some have premium, paid versions available.
1. Apple News
Apple’s news service keeps iPhone and iPad users fully informed on current affairs. You can browse top headlines or set up notifications based on certain topics or news outlets. So you could get alerted about every politics story, say, if that’s what you really want.
Apple News is also available as a web app for Mac laptop users, but it doesn’t fully sync with the iOS or iPad app versions.
For $9.99 per month you can also subscribe to Apple News+ for access to a bunch of publications (even those with paywalls) and listen to articles narrated as audio stories. That access is across all devices.
A glaring issue with Apple News: Android users are out of luck.
Apple News brings the latest stories to your iOS devices. Credit: Shutterstock / DenPhotos
2. Google News
Google News is basically Apple News for Android users, as you might expect. BUT, even iOS devices are compatible with the Google News app. If you’re already relying on headlines from the “News” section on Google Search on desktop you’ll probably fit right in with the search engine’s news app.
Google News is accessible to anyone and is free to use with your Google account.
Time for some news. Credit: Shutterstock / BigTunaOnline
3. The Week
The Week is an IRL weekly magazine that collects and summarizes news from all over, but its accompanying app can catch you up quickly. If you’re into lists, the app’s daily briefing tab gives you “10 things you need to know today” every day. You can also read some articles on the app without a subscription, but for full digital issues you’ll need to subscribe (50 digital-only issues for $89).
The best experience for The Week is on desktop, but if you’re always on your phone this works just fine.
Originally formed as a digital magazine, Flipboard makes news gathering more about topics than individual headlines. It emphasizes community curation to create mini magazine issues customized for you about certain places, categories, or events.
For the dedicated news reader you can customize the app to fit best with your interests and preferred publications.
Flipboard is like a personal magazine. Credit: Flipboard
This Japanese-based news aggregator uses machine learning to find top stories for its app. It’s been popular in Japan and the U.S. for many years, with a focus on news from those two countries. Partnerships with select news outlets are also featured on the platform, and there’s a special sections with live coverage, such as for the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Additionally, its local news section is plugged into 6,000 cities across the U.S.
This aggregator calls itself a “news reader” with a focus on custom news. It tracks the types of stories you click on to serve up more stories that you’re likely to be interested in. To be sure the computer gets it right you can also manually select topics. But fair warning: The app lists more than 1 million topics to choose from.
7. Yahoo News
Yes, Yahoo still exists. While you may have switched over to Gmail for your email inbox years ago, Yahoo News is still going strong with a robust collection of stories from major news outlets. It’s especially known for breaking news and live events, like the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
8. News Break
Instead of surfacing the top stories for a national audience, the News Break app tries to localize news based on cities and metropolitan areas that you care about. So instead of big news from the recent Florida building collapse you can find local news headlines from your city or hometown. The app emerged a few years ago from a former Yahoo executive from China.
You can adjust the number of notifications News Break pings you about, but even the lowest setting can feel like a barrage of daily news.
9. Ground News
With news from around the world and more than 50,000 sources in one place, you’ll maybe be too informed. Ground News has different news products including an app, webpage, browser extension, newsletter, and other news comparison tools based on your subscription level. There’s Free (for, well, free), Pro (for $0.83 cents each month), or Premium (for $2.49 per month).
Free gets you the most basic, limited access which includes Ground News’ headline comparison tool for up to three sources, 20 custom interests, coverage distribution chart, and device support. Premium has unlimited customization, a blind spot detection feature, unlimited headline comparisons, and an exclusive weekly newsletter.
Pocket is Mozilla’s bookmarking tool, but the app’s homepage has a “Discover” tab that pulls up popular stories that others are saving to the app. You can also connect your Twitter account (and your iOS and Google contact lists) and see the links that people you follow are linking for a more personalized selection. A premium version of the “read later” app with a permanent library and suggested tags for better organizing is either $4.99 per month or $44.99 for a year.
best news apps free
For a lot of people, news consumption has shifted from websites and newspapers to aggregator apps on smartphones. But finding the right one is surprisingly still quite a challenging process.
When picking the best news app, you need to look out for a lot of features, including smart algorithms, dark themes, offloading options, and more. We’ve rounded up the best seven news apps for Android and iPhone you should try.
- Google News
Google news feed
Google news subscriptions
You’re probably already familiar with this one. Google News is a straightforward news reader that relies on several contextual frameworks to catch stories that tailor to your interests.
You can specifically configure your preferences, or just use the app and Google News will figure out what you like on its own. In addition, Google News also allows you to read magazines and even sync your paid subscriptions.
What’s more, it has the ability to download articles for you to read later. There’s a dark mode as well; you can keep this enabled all the time or automatically trigger it when your phone goes into battery-saver mode.
Google News has a bunch of other tools you might find helpful. One is a section called Your Briefing that brings relevant stories for you to consume in the morning. Tap individual stories to read more on the original topic if you’re interested.
Download: Google News for Android | iOS (Free)
- Microsoft News
Microsoft news article view
Microsoft news feed
Microsoft’s take on news aggregation is similar to Google News in a lot of ways. It too learns from your reading habits to pick up on your interests and what sources you like. You can, of course, manually customize these topics and even search for particular ones.
Plus, there’s a tab titled Local News where you can keep tabs on what’s happening in your area. Microsoft News has a dark mode and sections in the news feed for trending topics. The app functions in many local languages, including Hindi.
For more, have a look at the host of nifty Microsoft News features that are worth checking out.
Download: Microsoft News for Android | iOS (Free)
Flipboard takes a more visual approach and tries to emulate an authentic magazine experience. That means you have proper page flip animations in the news feed and everything is organized into large grids.
Furthermore, Flipboard has a range of human-curated editorial tabs like The Daily Edition and Flipboard Picks. You also have options to save posts for later and favorite them. The app allows you to follow specific topics and create personalized magazines, which you can make public for everyone else to read.
Unfortunately, Flipboard doesn’t have a dark theme yet.
Download: Flipboard for Android | iOS (Free)
News360 is another news reader app. But instead of advanced features, this one focuses more on delivering stories in the most responsive way possible. The app features a design that’s not as overwhelming as some others, and lets you quickly read up articles from your top interests and sources.
In addition, you’ll find all the essential tools like the ability to change the text size, a dark theme, locally curated news, and more. News360 also constantly tweaks your news feed based on what you’ve been reading and skipping.
Download: News360 for Android | iOS (Free)
Feedly news feed
Feedly follow interests
Feedly is for people who depend on their own RSS list for news instead of an algorithm. The app comes with all the features you need to maintain and edit that list and view fresh content from it.
Feedly also has several discovery features if you’re looking to add new feeds. Plus, it offers a host of other tools like a save-for-later function, a ton of formatting settings, a dark theme, and more.
Download: Feedly for Android | iOS | Web (Free, subscription available)
- Apple News (iOS Only)
Apple News devices
Apple News is the premier and exclusive news platform for iOS users. It’s been redesigned with a clean, modern aesthetic that’s perfect for catching up on the news. Further, the app lets you follow your favorite websites and manage subscriptions if you have any.
There are a bunch of handy functions here, like a Today section that compiles important stories and News Digests, which are curated by Apple’s editorial team. Apple News comes preloaded on iPhones and iPads running iOS 12, and you can re-download it if you’ve removed it.
Download: Apple News for iOS (Free)
Smartnews tab manager
SmartNews bills itself as a news reader app that intelligently brings you only the most high-quality, trusted content. And for the most part, that’s true. But compared to the likes of Google News and Apple News, which are already powered by a string of advanced machine learning frameworks, it’s difficult to imagine SmartNews as a worthy companion.
If you do decide to give it a shot, the app certainly won’t let you down. There’s also a unique tab manager through which you can quickly switch between various sections like Sports, Technology, and others. A Discovery tab is available if you’re tired of your usual destinations. Like others, SmartNews has standard features like an offline mode.
Download: SmartNews for Android | iOS (Free)
Now that you have seen the selections, so let us know what you think in the comments below. Tell us if you have used any and what your favorite is.
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