This free news app lets you read stories from more than 300 trusted sites — even when you don't have an internet connection

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Smartnews mainSmartNews

  • SmartNews is a free news app that delivers stories from hundreds of trusted publishers, makes it easy to discover new topics and media sites, and lets you access content with or without an Internet connection.
  • The app features a simple, intuitive design. Swipe through different channels that host different topics (Top News, Politics, Sports, Tech, Entertainment, etc.) or publishers (Business Insider, Bleacher Report, National Geographic), click on stories to read them, and set news report notifications.
  • Each story is available in the original Web version or a pared-down Smart version that’s accessible offline. The Smart option ensures you’ll always be up-to-date on the latest news, wherever you are.

Most of us receive our news and learn about what we need to know every day through a variety of mediums, including print, TV, radio, and the internet. Online, we regularly encounter a variety of sources, but juggling the content of all the sites you read can be disorganized and overwhelming to navigate.

That’s why free news apps like SmartNews are popular. They find and organise the stories for you, so you can easily read about the topics you care about without manually visiting each of your favourite publishers’ sites. SmartNews is a top-rated app that was founded in Japan in 2012 and expanded to the US in 2014. It now keeps 10 million monthly active users in Japan and the US up-to-date on important stories.

SmartNews offers dedicated channels for more than 300 US publishers, including news sites like Business Insider, CBS News, and MSNBC; entertainment sites like Entertainment Weekly, Variety and Pitchfork; and sports sites like SB Nation and Golf.com.

Available for iOS and Android devices, the app has a friendly and intuitive interface. At the top are various channels you can swipe through and browse. The channels are content categories like Top News, Politics, Sports, and Tech, or publisher hubs like Vox and National Geographic. There’s also a Social channel that lets you connect your Twitter account to see popular stories in your timeline. You can add, remove, and rearrange these channels into an order that makes the most sense for you.

SmartNews aggregates stories from its publishers in each of its category channels, presenting a diverse array of sources and voices. When you click on a story, two versions are available, ‘Web’ and ‘Smart.’ In Smart mode, articles load instantly and are presented in a simple, readable format. The advantage of this mode is that you can read any article offline – no need to frantically save links before you board a flight or lose service.

Smartnews article versionsSmartNewsWeb (L) vs Smart (R) mode views of the same story.

Through the app, you can receive scheduled news report notifications during the day so you never miss out on an important story. The default settings are Morning (7 a.m.), Midday (12 p.m.), Evening (6 p.m.), and Night (10 p.m.) but you can change them to times you’re comfortable with, or turn them off.

SmartNews won Apple’s Best of 2013 award and Google’s Best App of the Year 2013 award, and it’s easy to see why. It allows enough customizability to make it feel like a personal news assistant, while delivering and exposing you to a variety of top online publishers. If you’ve tried other news apps but have yet to find one that suits your needs, SmartNews is one to try.

Download the free SmartNews app for iOS and Android here.

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