Using Safari As an RSS News Reader

With Safari in El Capitan you can subscribe to news feeds in the left sidebar and see an aggregated list of items that update automatically. You can also include Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. This allows you to see the news from your favorite sources all in one place without needing to go to individual web sites.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode let me show you how you can use Safari as an RSS reader.

So recently I've been asked about RSS readers on the Mac. Now RSS is an old term. Today you would just say an aggregate news reader. Something that will allow you to see article headlines from various sources around the internet. You can indeed find RSS readers in the Mac app store but a lot of the old ones are gone and a lot of the websites that did that kind of thing are gone.

However you've got a very simple, but functional, RSS reader right in Safari. Right in the browser and you may not even realize it. So let's take a look at how to use that.

So you can bring up the sidebar by clicking on this button in Safari. It has three different modes. It's got the Bookmarks and History mode, it's got the Reading List mode, and the one we are going to look at is the third one, the Shared Links mode. You can also get to it by going to View, Show and Hide Shared Links Sidebar right here.

This is where you can subscribe to New Feeds. So it's really not a good name for this. As a matter of fact I wouldn't be surprised if in the future this third mode of the sidebar gets renamed to something. Let's look at how you subscribe to things.

So you click on the Subscriptions button at the bottom. There are three different ways to subscribe to feeds. We'll look at this Accounts section later. Right now let's look at Feeds and click on Add Feed. You'll be able to here subscribe to feeds that are in your Favorites. So things that are already in your Favorites like, for instance, if I click on it here I'll see that the Apple website and the MacMost website are in my Favorites and it's going find that these websites have news feeds.

You may find a much longer list if you've got things of different things like newspapers and television news and things like that you may already find a huge list of items here. You can add them.

Let's add the Apple RSS feed to it and you can see it's called Apple Hot News and it's now part of my subscriptions here. So I'm going to hit Done and here are the items in that news feed. These will be updated as Apple updates this feed here.

Now you don't have to rely on just things that are in your Favorites. You can actually go to a website. So let's go to a website here. Let's go to MSNBC and then let's take a look, when I click the subscriptions button and say Add Feed, it's going to, in addition to the feeds from Favorites, it's going to add any feeds it finds on the current page that you're viewing. So I can add that.

Now you can see that I've got both of those there. When I hit Done it's going to mix items from MSNBC's feed and Apple's feed here. Put them in date order. If I want to view any of these I can just click on it and it will jump to that website, that page right there. So you can use this to read the summaries that are in their feed and you can then jump to anyone by simply clicking on it.

If I ever want to get rid of a subscription, of course, I can just hit the X button here and it will go away.

It is not just major news sites that have this. You can go to all sorts of different websites. Like I showed you MacMost.com has one. There are others as well. So this is a political season here in the United States so if I go to this political statistics and polling site I can see here if it's got any feeds. I'll click on Add Feed and sure enough it has a feed there. Sometimes sites will have multiple ones. So I can add this one as well and it will appear in there.

Now let's take a look at this section here called Accounts. Under Accounts I may see my Twitter feed. If I select it not only will these news items appear here but also Tweets. So let's hit Done and you can see here I've got all the Tweets. Of course I follow a lot of people with this Twitter account so it's going to far out number the amount of news items that are in there. Here's an MSNBC article that fits time wise between these two Tweets.

What you can do though that's really cool is you can create a Twitter account, Twitter accounts are free and many people have a whole collection of Twitter accounts, so you can create a Twitter account specifically to follow news sources. Some news sources don't have these RSS feeds anymore. But they have Twitter accounts. There is also other sources. Like, for instance, my local police department tweets out alerts, things like that. So I can create a new Twitter account just for this. I don't have to have anybody follow me on that Twitter account and I can simply go ahead and follow a dozen or so news sources and then I can add this account.

So under here I can hit Add Account and it will bring up the System Preferences here and allow me to add another Twitter account. I can add this new Twitter account and once I do, so say this would be you know Gary's News Feeds or something like that or Gary's News Feeds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then I can select that one and anytime I want to add a new news source I just go into Twitter, add that to something that that Twitter account is following and now it will show up here in this left sidebar.

You can use Twitter to follow things and combine Twitter and news feeds right here to see all the news that you want to see. You can also, under Add Account here, another one that will work is a Linkedin account. If you add Linkedin that will also appear here so you can have your Linkedin feed, you can have a special Twitter account feed, you can have websites feeds right here.

They can all be tied in together under your Shared Links and then you can go ahead and not only just view them and they will update them automatically but you can search them as well. So if you want to search for election news, you know, you can search there. Another thing that you've got here is you've got Update Shared Links under View. It is a command so if you want this to update and maybe it's been a little sluggish for you you can always try using that as well.

It should update pretty automatically and you can hide this bar and show it again. So it is a very easy way to keep track of news, keep track of things that are important to you all in one place without having to visit a bunch of different sites.

Now this way of reading RSS and news feeds is pretty simple. There aren't any options, there is no settings, there is no way to modify things so if you want something more complex search the app stores for a RSS reader that has a lot more features than this. But if you just want something simple and you want it where you're already at which is in Safari, then it's a great option.

Comments: 4 Responses to “Using Safari As an RSS News Reader”

    robert sigafoos
    5/23/16 @ 9:49 am

    There are a few problems with the Safari RSS reader sidebar feature. It does not show as gray text after viewing & reading the individual feeds. It does not show quantity of new feed posts in the sidebar summary. Also, we have to do a search to separate different subscription feeds. I have been using NetNewsWire for past few years after Apple removed the RSS feature after Snow Leopard version and it seems to be very good app. Thank you for your tutorial on RSS reader.

    Bob
    6/2/16 @ 9:32 am

    Always enjoy your videos. Have just added Macmost videos to my ‘shared links’. This way I don’t have to wait for your email to arrive or search twitter feeds. If I have 4 – 5 minutes to spare and have my iPhone in hand, I can learn something new. Thanks.

    george wilson
    7/4/16 @ 11:52 am

    I can’t see how to have the current webpage appear when ‘favourites’ is opened up. The only options I see appear to be a few random sites from my Favourites bar. This is even if I have another news site as the current site, and also when I’ve unticked ‘show frequently visited sites in favourites’. Thanks for any help.

    7/4/16 @ 1:01 pm

    George: If the site has no RSS feeds indicated I it’s webpage coding, then there is nothing for Safari to show. Try it at a site that definitely has the,, like this site.

Comments Closed.