Instapaper for iPhone and iPad Gets a Huge Makeover

Marco Arment has released Instapaper 4.0 for the iPhone and iPad. This update brings a significant redesign to the iPad interface, new features, and a search service.

Instapaper 4.0 offers Wikipedia integration, footnotes support, multi-select, better sharing options, and much, much more. The ultimate reading app for iOS just got a lot better.

If you don’t know about Instapaper, it’s a tool that saves articles and webpages for reading later. It works a lot like bookmarking, only the premise is that most of the pages you read on the internet will only be viewed once. You can archive articles in Instapaper, but the service is largely used to save articles temporarily.

I’m a long-time user of Instapaper, and the service has almost completely replaced my need for browser bookmarks. Instapaper integrates with most of the apps I use on a daily basis (Twitter clients, RSS apps, browsers, etc.) and lets me save interesting articles I come across throughout the day.

Instapaper 4.0 brings an improved experience to the iPhone and iPad app.

First off, the redesigned iPad UI makes navigation easier with a touch-friendly grid. The layout makes more sense for the iPad’s larger screen, and all of the options you need are presented in a straight-forward way.

Marco also cleaned up the UI on the iPhone, with some subtle changes that unify the iPad and iPhone experience.

Many aspects of reading in Instapaper have been improved, with the main highlight being that, thanks to iOS 5, the app can now offer true hardware brightness control. You can easily enter “Dark Mode” when you’re reading in the dark, and the screen brightness can be toggled quickly in-app.

You can use Wikipedia to define any term in an article. Simply tap a word and then tap “Define.” Lots of writers like to add footnotes to their articles, and Instapaper 4.0 lets you read footnotes in a popup anywhere in an article. No more scrolling to the bottom of an article and then scrolling back up to find your place.

Browsing shared articles has been improved, as you now have the ability to see what your friends are reading on other social networks, like Twitter and Tumblr.

Lastly, Instapaper 4.0 brings a new search feature. For $1/month, you can search the full contents of an saved article via a built-in search bar in both the iPhone and iPad app. The $1 in-app purchase can be made to enable this feature, called Search Subscriptions. There’s also a built-in web browser.

Here are some other changes in Instapaper 4.0:

  • Articles in the list or grid can be swiped to reveal a quick action menu
  • The in-article styling has been improved
  • New settings can customize the number of Liked/Archived articles stored on device
  • The iPhone font (ᴀA) panel has been redesigned to be like iPad’s
  • The iPhone share forms for Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Pinboard, and Evernote have been redesigned
  • YouTube URLs now open in the system’s YouTube app
  • A new setting has been added to use Apple’s dictionary under iOS 5
  • Tilt scrolling is now smoother and works better in all orientations
  • The Share panel can now send to Tweetbot and The Hit List
  • When updating, the entire table no longer reloads after each article downloads. It now just reloads once after the main update request, showing all (even un-downloaded) articles, and they enable themselves as they get downloaded.
  • Tons of performance improvements and bugfixes
  • New icon

If you’re on the fence about using Instapaper, make sure to check the app’s directory to see all of the other apps in the App Store that integrate with Instapaper. You’d be surprised at how many apps out there have Instapaper support built-in.

Instapaper 4.0 is a great update to an already fantastic app. It’s available for the iPhone and iPad for $4.99. Grab it now in the App Store.