Best Apple Watch News Apps
From RSS Aggregators to The Latest Apps From Media Favorites
The Apple Watch is designed to be a convenient extension of your iPhone, pushing notifications and updates to your wrist rather than having to pull out your phone. While most people intuitively think about this for email, text messages, and chats, the Apple Watch supports a number of apps that deliver the latest news to you faster and easier than ever before.
From first-party content providers to aggregators, the following apps can change the way you get headlines, saving you time and effort from having to search for the latest on your phone or desktop.
Apple Watch RSS Aggregators
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a technology that has been around for two decades. Originally used for standalone reader programs on computers, RSS has evolved over time to adapt to the standards of modern technology. While a bit overshadowed now by social media, RSS aggregators are still a simple and efficient way to grab all of your preferred news feeds in one spot.
RSS Wear: RSS Wear allows you to aggregate RSS feeds directly into your Apple Watch as well as your iPhone. With a clean white user layout, RSS Wear starts with more than 100 top RSS feeds for users to select from. A powerful search engine gives users the ability to find RSS links for various sites while adding specific new feeds to the default display list. Available in both standard and landscape display, RSS Wear simplifies subscription and organization with drag-and-drop reordering and the ability to share items directly to social media and messaging apps.
Feedly: Google’s popular Google Reader for RSS feeds was discontinued in 2013 despite widespread usage. Feedly stepped into its space with a similar design and functionality as an online RSS aggregator. The core Feedly experience is still web-based, but now the Feedly account (which can be logged in via Google or other shared logins) can sync up with its apps.
Appy Geek: An RSS app specifically targeting the tech industry, Appy Geek is unique in that it both aggregates sources and acts as a general content provider that sources many tech industry sites. All of this is presented in a customizable display that breaks down into sections (daily news briefings, in-depth navigation, and a standard reader). Appy Geek is also flexible enough to adapt an custom RSS URLs, so feeds can be added at your leisure. Though available on the iPhone, the Apple Watch version has been customized to optimize for a wearable display and its unique notification/interaction capabilities.
Nearly all major media outlets have their own apps now, which provides you with real time notifications of their latest published posts and commentary. Coverage, topics, and frequency of updates depends on the specific app and media outlet, but if you have a source you trust and prefer over others, this allows you to get notifications on your wrist without having to sort through numerous feeds. Here are our top recommendations for content providers to cover all of your news needs.
NY Times: The New York Times is one of the biggest and most trusted names in journalism. With the newspaper’s app, all of the latest news and award-winning reporting is available on both mobile and wearable devices. The Times app for iPhone offers morning briefings and breaking news alerts, along with access to exclusive video and content in addition to all of the day’s stories. In the last release, the Times app updated for full Apple Watch compatibility. The Apple Watch experience is now customized, with text and snippets optimized for the Apple Watch’s screen size. Simply swipe to go from article to article, and get headline notifications on your wrist. Note that the Times app is limited to ten articles per month, though a small subscription fee allows for unlimited access of all archived content.
AP News: In the current political climate, nearly every media outlet is accused of bias in one direction or another. However, the Associated Press almost always leaves opinion out of it and focuses strictly on reporting facts, leaving the speculation and pontificating to others -- keep in mind that the AP is often a starting point of information for other news agencies around the globe. In fact, the AP was rated “least biased” by Media Bias Fact Check. So if you’re looking for a fast way to get the straight story with headlines on your Apple Watch, look no further than the AP News app. The app’s features include the ability to track a developing story, get notifications from customized topics, and even localized headlines from AP contributors. It’s one of the simplest ways to get the straight story without the political filter often found in today’s media world.
BBC News: For many Americans, they will avoid typical news outlets (CNN, Fox, MSNBC) and go straight to the BBC. Why? The BBC often provides an objective filter that often can be difficult to find with American media outlets. The BBC News app brings this to mobile and wearable devices, and since version 3.0.5, the app is compatible with watchOS. Easily organized, the app gives users a personalized My News which allows for customization of both display and topics, with topics and threads added per your preference. For the Apple Watch extension, breaking news and headlines are delivered with push notifications, and to go deeper, users get a headline and a story summary, along with daily glanceable headlines to help catch you up in a short moment, all in a display optimized for the small Apple Watch screen.
CNN: CNN is among the most trusted names in media news, and their iOS app offers access to a wide range of content -- exclusive articles, breaking news, videos, live video, and more. The app also extends out to the Apple Watch with features designed specifically to maximize the wearable’s format. The Apple Watch app delivers breaking news across a range of categories (capable of personalization): top stories, breaking news, politics, technology, entertainment, and more. It also offers a smart link with the iPhone app, allowing you to launch CNN’s live broadcast from a single tap on your Apple Watch. Note that for live streaming, users are limited to ten minutes unless they are on a premium account.
ESPN: ESPN's mobile app is universally recognized as a leading provider of sports news, both for North American leagues and beyond. With live scores, breaking news, and the ability to track your favorite teams by logging in with your account, the ESPN app provides a streamlined and personalized way to get the latest in sports. While the iPhone app offers live video and highlight streaming, the Apple Watch version is optimized for a small wearable display, delivering scores, articles, headlines, and fantasy alerts to your wrist.
From Watch to iPhone
The Apple Watch is ideal for getting notifications. In most cases, news apps offer a headline and a sub-headline or snippet. This is great for staying up to date on the latest breaking news but it doesn't always provide the depth or details you want. The Apple Watch can, in theory, display a full article to read. However, anyone who's used a wearable device know that such a small screen isn't the most ideal way to digest an article.
Enter Handoff -- Apple's way to use the power of paired devices to stay in sync with each other. With Handoff, opening something on the Apple Watch can easily propagate that same article onto the much more legible iPhone or iPad.
Setting up Handoff is easy. Make sure devices are within range of each other, then use the following steps.
- Sign into iCloud on each device you want to use for Handoff. You must use the same Apple ID on each device.
- Turn Bluetooth and wifi on for each device.
- For a Mac, turn on Handoff by going to the Apple menu, then selecting General under System Preferences. Enable “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud device.”
- For your iOS device, go to Settings > General. Under Handoff, enable the feature.
- For your Apple Watch, go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Select General, then activate Enable Handoff.
When Handoff is enabled on the Apple Watch, an icon will appear on the lower left. Swipe up on the icon to trigger it. Then, when you unlock a paired and synced device, it will automatically open up the same app and propagate the content forward.
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