Feedly for iPad – Very Disappointing

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FeedlyiPad

The screencap above is what a page looks like in Feedly on the iPad if you choose to turn your iPad into landscape mode. Feedly doesn’t recognize landscape mode at all, so you’re forced to use the app always in portrait mode. I think that’s a very bad design decision for any app that involves reading on the iPad. The way we choose to read on the iPad is both a very personal thing, and something that may well change depending on where you are, what time of day it is, and so on. 

This is just one of a number of very disappointing aspects of Feedly on the iPad. Another major one is that the app makes it very difficult to see all of your feeds, if you have more than ten. I have over 200 subscriptions, so seeing only 10 in the home page’s Featured area is really not much use at all. And there is no ability to choose which feeds show up in the featured section. So we’re forced into portrait mode and forced to go with whatever the app thinks is the right list of featured feeds. Very lame.

The only way I’ve found so far to view a feed not shown in the featured areas is to use the Search button on the bottom nav bar.

Navigation in the app is also extremely awkward. When you choose to read an individual article, you can swipe through to the previous and next article in that feed. What you can’t do is easily choose to switch to another feed. You have to fist hit the ‘Done’ button on the individual article and then tap the home button back on the page you’re taken back to. This is clumsy and makes the whole reading experience feel much slower.

It also feels odd to see a button on articles that offers to ‘format the page for mobile devices’. This is an app specifically designed for the iPad and the iPhone – are they not mobile devices? 

I’m not at all sure what sort of app Feedly is intended to be. It feels in some ways like it’s trying to be Flipboard – and of course it’s nowhere near being Flipboard. Its pages are nicely done, but not anywhere near as well designed as Flipboard’s. It also doesn’t allow for any of the great customization and personalization that Flipboard enables. It’s definitely no Flipboard.

And it’s not a proper, full-fledged RSS app. It feels like it still wants to be a sort of Google Reader extension. On a desktop browser Feedly is a browser extension and companion to Google Reader and in a browser that works nicely. On the iPad it doesn’t.

I can’t see myself finding any use for Feedly in its current form.

Here’s an App Store link for Feedly; it’s a free app and a universal app for the iPad and iPhone.


Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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10 thoughts on “Feedly for iPad – Very Disappointing”

  1. Hi Patrick!

    I am one of the co-founders of feedly.

    Regarding lanscape support, it will be included in the 3.0. release.

    Regarding which sources are featured on the first page, the ranking is based on which feed you mark as favorite in the feedly desktop. See the edit contents page on feedly desktop on how to organize your sources, order the categories and mark some sources as favorites.

    Regarding access to a specific source, just tap on the black bar and a selector will happen letting you access the different sources and categories you follow.

    Finally, here is a navigation tip: swiping the black bar will let you jump from one source to the other or one category to the other.

    Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    1. Hi Edwin

      Thanks for taking time to comment here, and for the tips.

      On those tips:

      — Honestly I don’t want to have to mess with Feedly on the desktop and selecting a (very limited) number of favorites to view in the app. I want to be able to easily see all the feeds I follow. Even if I did get happy with the small number of favorites I don’t want to have to go back to the desktop browser to modify those.

      — Tapping on the black bar brings up the selector, but it only shows a small number of those ‘favorite’ feeds. I want to be able to select from all feeds.

      — The final navigation tip does not work for me the way you describe. Swiping that black bar while in an individual feed takes me back to home each time.

      I’m sorry but I still feel this is currently a very clumsy app.

      1. “Tapping on the black bar brings up the selector, but it only shows a small number of those ‘favorite’ feeds. I want to be able to select from all feeds.” Hmmm. You must be running into a bug. Tapping on the selector, should bring up the list of all your sources which currently have unread articles…at the top, you should see the top 10 featured and bellow that, you should see, grouped by tags, all your sources for each tag (sorted by favorite first and non favorite after) – similar to the list which is shown when you are not logged in. I will open a bug for us to track this down – I can see how the experience could be useless if you can not access your sources!

        Also a few other people have requested the ability to configure, follow and unfollow sources on the mobile device directly so it is at the top of the list with landscape support.

        If you have any other suggestions, you can reach me at edwink /at/ feedly.com

  2. I agree with all of your points. It is quite refreshing to read that Mr. Khodabetc… has replied to your post! Hopefully they will address some of these problems soon. In the mean time, I’m going to check out Flipboard. Your recommendation makes it sound like I might be removing Feedly very soon!

  3. I see all the same issues. I think something is broken and the feedly developers don’t understand what we’re talking about. It sounds like the app is supposed to work as one would expect it to, but it simply fails horribly if you have a lot of google reader feeds (or perhaps certain feeds). Just my guess. I’m willing to give it another shot when they update.

  4. I downloaded the Feedly app for Ipad 2, but since I synched it with Google Reader my RSS feeds don’t load. All I see is a white page saying “loading”, only it doesn’t! I signed in and out several times, but that didn’t help at all.
    Before I synched with Google Reader all content was loading in no time and everything was perfectly visible.
    I also have Feedly on my laptop and there it works well.
    Any suggestions?

  5. Suddenly Feedly seems to work for me after all, don’t know why now, and not before. Loading fine and fast. Good work!

  6. After using Feedly on the iPad for a few weeks now, I agree 100% with all of your issues. I love it in my browser but hate it on the iPad. I will be looking out for the next update at which point I think they will take all the points users are making and make significant changes. I will say this though, my ability to give them another try and make them my go to reader is largely due to the fact that i saw Edwin come here and try to offer assistance. I’m always with the company that stands behind it’s product and cares enough to talk back to the users. Good job Edwin!!

    1. Well said. It’s always great to see a principal / lead developer get involved in discussion, and to see them striving to make things work well.

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