All the news that's fit to render
News in the digital age has gotten faster, so it's no surprise that more and more users are getting their news on their phones rather than on their TVs. And while news aggregators like Press and Newsstand have their place, today we're going to look at getting our news straight from the source. These are the best apps from professional news organizations, at least from the humble opinions of the Android Central staff.
Push notifications can make or break a news app. Use them wisely.
A word before we get into the apps themselves about so-called "push notifications." While nearly all of these apps will ask you for push notification permission upon first use, anyone who has used these can attest to how overwhelming and in many cases repetitive or useless they can be. Unless you work in news or a news-adjacent field, we recommend using one and only one news app for "breaking news" type push notifications. You should select either your personal favorite news app or the news app with the amount (or control) of push notifications most to your liking.
And now, to the day's news...
The BBC is one of the most used news apps in the world, and that may be because BBC is a worldwide name in news but also because they've got a bang-up little app with a few bells and whistles. The homepage is a like a giant tower of spinning articles: each section gets a row and then you pull it around looking for one that interests you. You can customize the sound for push notifications and you can set whether or not the app can update in the background and if you want to be notified when it does. You cannot, however, set whether it only updates on Wifi rather than using up your precious mobile data, so I prefer the nice big update button on the top bar.
This is a liberal-leaning source, but damn if their app isn't just about perfect. The Huffington Post will let you log in, but it's not pushy about it if you don't want to. You can have your own customized edition, and easily switch them throughout the various editions around the world. You can change the fonts to your liking, just like all the others, but you know what the Huffington Post does that's special?
It has a dark mode. And it doesn't just have one, it has two: it has dark and it has night. Even better, you can trigger night mode automatically based on the ambient light sensor, so it'll change based on your environment. That just makes me wanna cheer; it's so rare and wonderful to find a news app that doesn't want to blind its readers with tons of white.
Beyond the dark, HuffPo has a few other fun things. You can customize push notifications with a specific ringtone and decide if it vibrates or not. It can automatically download articles on an interval of your choosing and it has the option to only download via Wifi, for data-conscious users.
ABC News is another rare news app with a dark theme, and it has something even rarer: Chromecast support. You can cast video segments straight from the app to your TV, allowing you to get a little closer to my personal little dream of you just casting personalized playlists as your newscasts. ABC has a customizable quiet mode, assuming you enable push notifications for it, and it also allows location-based notifications for more localized results for your region's particular news.
ABC News frequently has one or more live streams going, which is especially good for listening to things such as press conferences or breaking news cut-ins while away from home or in an incredibly loud newsroom. You can also rewatch sections from popular ABC news programs such as World News and This Week. The app also gives you a daily rewind at whichever point in the day you prefer. If you're someone who gets up and checks news, you can have the daily rewind give you a cliff-notes version of yesterday's and last night's headlines. Or the daily rewind can be compiled in the evening for you to skim before bed.
The AP app is simple, but works. No night theme, only an on/off switch for notifications and a basic slider for font size adjustments, but it gets the job done in a pinch. AP, Associated Press, is one of the news sources that most other news organizations subscribes to, and the lucky thing about that is that by using the AP app, you can get this news quicker in some cases, especially if you head into the Press Release section.
Be mindful, though, the Press Release section has no real filter, so you may have to sift through releases for Entertainment and sports while looking for news releases. You can also report news to AP through the app, if you're someone who does that sort of thing.
This app is another app with lots of white, but not without its merits. USA Today's layout is big, which isn't a bad thing with all the lovely pictures, but it does mean you'll be scrolling more than on a more condensed layout. Sections and subsections are done well and easy to navigate, but the settings leave something to be desired.
The offline reading for the USA Today app is also a bit different, as you have to select it from the dropdown menu and then manually initiate the download while still on Wifi for later reading, so if you forgot to sync up before you headed for your train, you're SOL.
This app is almost offensively white, but the design elements, animations, and the fluid nature of the app almost make up for it. The Guardian manages to break up some of the white with blocks of color, especially bright red boxes with liveblogs. There's usually one in the news section and one in the sports section, and they are one of the best liveblogs I've seen done in a mobile app thus far.
Like the BBC, you can update automatically but you cannot denote if it updates over Wifi only. If you have a premium account, you can unlock more content, including the crosswords, which some say are the most important part of a newspaper. And since it's digital, you'll never have to worry about doing it in pen. The Guardian also has a slight one-up over its competition by having an Android Wear app, so you can get the news on your wrist.
New York Times
The New York Times is one of the premiere newspapers in the country, and as such, it has a premium to its content. The subscriptions for NYT can run from $14.99 a month to a whopping $34.99 a month, and while most of us simply can't afford to pay that for a news app, the Times is worth it for many, and for the price your paying, you're getting a decent app. You have settings for background syncing over Wi-Fi only and you have a night mode (huzzah). Navigating sections in the app can be a bit tedious, if for no other reason than the list of sections is massive, but unless you're spending lots of times in the blogs, you should be fine.
What news is good news?
So, where do you get the 411 on what's going on in the world? Are you a reader or a watcher? Do you even read the news? If not, you really should start, and there's plenty of apps here to help you get current on all the day's trending news.