How I Use Apple News (and still hold onto my RSS addiction)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

I'm in my late 20s, and while I'm getting to that age that advertisers no longer care about, I still pride myself on being open to new things. I still voraciously consume new music from artists I've never heard of and I have a general working knowledge of what "the kids" are into these days. One thing that makes me feel very old, however is my undying love for RSS.

Part of my love for RSS comes from the fact that there are websites that I love. MacStories is a great site, and I don't want to miss anything they publish. Sure, I could follow @MacStoriesNet on Twitter and see their articles in my feed, but there are tons of complications. If I don't go into Twitter for a few hours then the odds of me seeing their tweets from when I was gone are basically none. What I love about RSS is that whether I'm gone for 5 minutes or an entire week, everything will still be there.

A disadvantage of this system is that since I see everything that my feeds post in RSS, I only subscribe to things I already know I love. This means that my ~120 feeds are almost entirely tech, gaming, design, and film focused. I'm getting a ton of information from these feeds, but it's a narrow spectrum of genres. I am incredibly well informed when it comes to these topics, but I'm shit for so many other things.

This is where Apple News comes in for me. Apple News (much like Flipboard) lets me subscribe to "topics" instead of sites (although you can subscribe to certain sites as well). This has always driven me crazy before because I felt this type of app was just like Twitter in that it wouldn't show me everything unless I was constantly checking in. This is what originally drove me away, but I have realized that there are plenty of topics for which I only need to see a smaller selection of stories.

So here's what I've done. Tech and gaming news is still in my RSS reader where I can see everything. All other topics like politics, science, world news, and sports all get thrown into Apple News. Since I only have to subscribe to the topics, I'm letting Apple News do the hard work of figuring out which sites are posting interesting content and just feeding me the good stuff. This system lets me get a good amount of value with very little effort on my end, and that makes it a useful tool for me.

Fans of Flipboard and similar services will shout “this isn’t new to Apple News!” and they’re right. I may get frustrated by Apple News at some point and explore Flipboard, but Apple News got me in the door better than Flipboard ever did so I’m going to stick with it for a while.