8 Mac Apps to Replace Google Reader

With the announcement that Google Reader will be discontinued as of July 1, 2013, a lot people are scrambling for another feed reader service. If you’re one of them, you may be looking for more than just a web app to replace Google Reader and want a desktop app for your Mac to create a better reading experience. The problem is that so many Mac feed readers depend on Google Reader and won’t work without it.

We’ve gathered some alternatives you can start using right now ahead of the big shutdown. Some of the best feed readers out there are on the list, and we’ve got a good range of full-featured and minimalist, paid and free. Hopefully you’ll find something that can fill the Google Reader-sized hole in your heart.

The Apps

IFTTT RSS to Evernote

IFTTT to Evernote

If you haven’t tried IFTTT, yet, short for “if this, then that,” you’re missing out. IFTTT is a web service that allows you to create recipes that trigger your other apps or services to perform actions. In this case, you’d create a recipe that looks for a new feed item. When IFTTT sees something you’ve told it you’re interested in, it will append it to a note in Evernote.

There are a few different ways to get this done, and you can create a new notebook for each feed or have all your feeds file into the same place. I’ve created and shared an IFTTT recipe to get you started, but by all means create the recipe that meets your needs. Slapping everything you read into Evernote may not seem like an obvious solution to the loss of Google Reader, but it’s a great way to hang onto articles you really like and annotate anything you want to keep.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: IFTTT/Evernote

Reeder

Reeder

Reeder has been my feed reader of choice for a while. I could subscribe and unsubscribe to feeds, just as if I were in the Google Reader web app. I could even move subscriptions around and organize them into folders. It’s just that Reeder looked way nicer than Google Reader.

If you’re a Reeder fan like me, you’ll know that the app has to sync with Google Reader; it doesn’t work without a Google account. With the announcement that Google Reader will be leaving us all very shortly, you may have been worried your precious app would be gone soon, too. Not to worry, the developers have announced via Twitter that Reeder will live on after Google. While they haven’t revealed any details, we shouldn’t count Reeder out yet.

Price: $4.99
Requires: OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Silvio Rizzi

Cream

Cream

Cream doesn’t require a Google Reader account, and you can already add feeds directly to the app. Better still, you can import your list of subscribed feeds using Google Takeout. If you’re looking to make a move now, well ahead of the Google Reader shutdown, Cream is ready to go.

It’s not as easy to browse your individual feeds with Cream, but you can see all of your feed articles in a massive list sorted by feed. You can also sort by date, but that’s not the point of Cream. When you click on a story, Cream creates a picture of the sort of things you like and sorts those to the top; the cream always rises!

Price: $3.99
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: The Mental Faculty

Pulp

Pulp

Pulp tries to give you an experience that resembles a real newspaper. You’ll be automatically subscribed to some pretty great blogs and news sites, and they’ll be sorted into newspaper sections, like lifestyle and technology.

You can’t import your Google Reader subscriptions, but you can sync your Pulp account across multiple Macs or iOS devices. Each feed URL has to be added individually, which isn’t fun to do, but you can search for a keyword, too, and create your own Pulp newspaper pages.

Price: $9.99
Requires: OS X 10.7 or later
Developer: Acrylic Software

Vienna RSS

Vienna RSS

I’ll be honest with you, Vienna isn’t the best looking app you can find, but you don’t need to login with Google Reader to make it work. Vienna does have some pretty great features, though, including the ability to import your Google subscriptions using Google Takeout. You’ll already be subscribed to a bunch of cool Apple blogs, too.

What I really like about Vienna is how it loads individual articles. If the entire article doesn’t load or you just want to see what the original looked like, you can load it right there in Vienna. It’s got a sort of built in browser so you won’t have to be constantly loading what you’re reading into another app.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.6
Developer: The Vienna RSS Project

Fresh Feed Pro

Fresh Feed Pro

Fresh Feed Pro is a neat little menu bar app, very simple with a small footprint. You won’t be able to import your Google Reader feeds into Fresh Feed Pro, but you can still log in and sync everything before it all shuts down. Fresh Feed Pro also lets you add your feed URLs individually, but you’ll have to do it one at a time.

Less of an actual reader, Fresh Feed Pro aggregates all of your feeds to a single list in your menu bar. You’ll only get the headlines, and everything opens in your default browser. Fresh Feed Pro doesn’t let you sort by site, but if you’re just interested in the newest stories, it’s got you covered.

Price: $1.99
Requires: OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Bloop S.R.L.

Monotony

Monotony

Monotony is about as low-key as you’re going to get. Subscribe to your feeds, and Monotony sits up in your menu bar waiting for them to be updated. When anything new comes in, you’ll get a notification. If you’re using Notification Center, the most recent articles will hang out there until you’ve clicked them.

This is a great app if you want an aggregator that you can’t even see. There’s no Dock icon, and you can turn off the menu bar icon, too, leaving Monotony to run entirely in the background until there’s something new to see.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.7.4 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Tim Schroeder

RSS Bot

RSS Bot

RSS Bot combines all the best features of menu bar feed aggregators into a single app. This may be my favorite of the bunch, if I’m being honest. It supports OMPL import, meaning you can get all of your Google Reader subscriptions in there using Google Takeout. If you ever want to edit your subscriptions, it’s super easy to add or remove feeds.

If you’re a fan of Readability, you’re in luck, because RSS Bot opens all articles there by default, though that can be changed. It’s easy to pause RSS Bot if you ever need to or mark everything as read. All of your articles will automatically sort themselves out by site, keeping it all a lot more manageable when you have a ton of subscriptions, a big plus for me.

Price: Free
Requires: OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: FIPLAB Ltd.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to read in the app or your browser, want instant notifications or an app that waits for you in the background, hopefully you found something that fits the bill in this list. There’s a good mix of full feed readers and minimal menubar apps, so whether you want a self-contained reading experience or little more than a desktop notification, I hope you found something to help you soothe the pain of losing Google Reader.


  • Eric

    In case you’re looking for some webbased apps (like me) some people realy like feedly.com

    For now I go for selfoss (selfoss.aditu.de), everything is in my own hands with this reader. “Downside” is that you need to have your own machine to host it

  • J

    I use NewsFire. Before that it was Shrook. It took me a while to go from Shrook to NewsFire as I tried many other apps in between. It’s a little sad to see so many recommendations for apps that live in your menu bar. A good news reader (in my opinion) provides a proper interface with the possibility of a dock icon and badge.

    • http://www.affonso.org Alexandre Affonso

      I thought I was alone on this. NewsFire has been my favorite for years for its simple and very customizable interface.

  • http://piiar.eu Bunio

    I also use NewsFire and Feedly for Safari this is a great combination, and in addition the Feedly is multiplatform.

  • Thomas_U

    I´ll stay with NetNewsWire. Right now it is syncing with G-Reader, but the developers are working on a cloud-based sync.

  • Bren

    I’ve started using twitter. Most sites with RSS feeds submit their posts to twitter as well so you don’t miss out. I’ve set up lists for different groups. Works well, especially if you use clients that sync with your Mac and iOS devices.

  • Felix

    My problem here is, that I need sync with my Android device. With Google Reader it works flawless and you have a big variety of apps you can use. At the moment I am using Reeder an the Mac and D7 Reader on the Android.
    I couldn’t find an alternative right now. So I have to wait and see, what the different developers are planning use as an Google Reader alternative.
    Anyone with the same issue, who already got a decent solution?

  • http://butlerm.com Matthew Butler

    I can’t believe you guys didn’t even put on feedly. So sad

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Feedly’s not a Mac app! That’s why! :) I’m pretty sure it was mentioned over at Web.AppStorm, though.

  • G

    In the IFTTT recipe, how do you enter multiple feeds into the one recipe?

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      I think you’ll have to reuse the recipe for each RSS feed you want to subscribe to. So, yeah, it won’t be the best option if you have tons of stuff you want to keep up with.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      It’s the same as resubscribing to a feed, you’ll re-enter the feed into a new IFTTT recipe. You can reuse the recipe over and over again.

      The upside is that you can save all your feeds in Evernote.

  • http://www.deerme.net/ Sheryl

    The day I read the Google Reader announcement, I got RSS Bot, and I have since been really pleased with it. It is unobtrusive when I want to ignore it, but still easily noticeable when I want to check on feeds. It is clean, simple, and suits my needs at a single computer perfectly.

    I now only miss G-Reader because I liked having the option to keep my subscriptions (and their read/unread statuses) consistent across different machines.

  • Steve Castaneda

    Also check out Leaf, it just updated to be a local RSS engine and is pretty nifty looking. To me, it’s a toss up between Leaf and Reeder.

  • Andrea

    I’m very glad to know that Reeder will be updated: on iPhone has the best interface I ever used. On Mac works very well, it uses gestures too (it’s a pleasure to read with the minimum effort).
    So, I’m waiting for some news “soon” (before Google Reader will be stopped).

    A news-reader should have a proper interface (and Reeder has it), my opinion too (I agree with J on that). An icon badge? Well, I don’t love it. I prefer a clean operating system, without too many things “animated” and/or “coloured” around: less distractions. Something coming down from menu bar it’s useful when is something compatible with fast use, such as social networks or hardware status (iStat and so on…).

  • Andy Couch

    Leaf is another good option. They used to utilize Google Reader for feed management as well, but they just released a new version today that migrates your Google Reader subscriptions into a local database so it no longer relies on Google Reader.

    http://www.rockysandstudio.com/apps/leaf

  • Zoidbert

    I wound up going with Reeder a while back (long before the Google shutdown) because I wanted something I could read on my Mac, my iPad, and my iPhone, and have them all sync cleanly, so I could catch up wherever I was and not do the “no, I read that already” dance. All versions are also nicely minimalistic and very readable (fonts are good).

    Got worried that the Google shutdown would frak that all up; happy to see they’re working on it.

  • MichaelTheGeek
  • A Reeder Fan

    The news about Reeder seems to be that it will use a third-party API, and this really disappoints me. I thought Reeder will make itself both local-based and sync over iCloud. A third-party API is just another uncertain service provider.

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      The latest news via Reeder’s Twitter account is that Reeder for Mac will support Fever (a self-hosted RSS service, so you run it on your own server), as well as Feedbin, another new RSS service, which is a paid, $2/month service that shouldn’t go away. Hard to say what, if anything, else it’ll support.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I agree. :\

  • http://www.helpdeskbyadam.com adam

    I’m so surprised that “the old reader” http://www.theoldreader.com did not make this list.

    It is practically the exact replica of the google reader – but the “old” version.

    Have a look you guys

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      I took a look at it, but it’s a web app and I was just doing Mac apps. It seems pretty nice, though!

  • AK

    Dear Paula DuPont,

    You don’t really grok what Google Reader does and what (instead of these clients) you should instead search for a replacement, do you?

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      What exactly do you want from Google Reader that these apps don’t provide?

      After all, most of us used Google Reader via an app already.

      • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

        I agree, Matthew. That seems to be the case and the reason Google is discontinuing Google Reader. Not enough eyes on the web app!

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      There are lots of web services, if that’s what you mean, and Web.AppStorm covered those well! :)

      I was concerned that our readers who rely on a desktop Mac app to access Google Reader might not be sure what was available to them, since some apps do require Google Reader right now. This article was to help them find a replacement or reassure them that the app they’re using has a non-Google plan in place.

      Hope that helps!

      • AK

        Okay the article lists a lot of apps but we need a web service where our feeds, tags and starts, read/unread counts are stored and synced. Now, we can hook into that service using any client – reeder, ABC, XYZ or any app.

        You titled it “Google Reader” alternative. It was clearly a misleading title. That was my peeve :P

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