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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Return of the NetNewsWire


Ready for a blast from the past? NetNewsWire, the venerable RSS reader, is back, with a release of version 4.0. It launches with both a $10 Mac app and a $4 iOS app, supported by a cloud syncing service.

Longtime Mac users will probably have fond memories of the app, once the RSS reader of choice for the platform. Over the years it bounced from its original home at Brent Simmons’s Ranchero Software, to NewsGator, and eventually to its current home at Black Pixel, back in 2011. A public beta of version 4.0 was first released in 2013; the last public beta release was just shy of a year ago.

A little strangely, the screenshots in the OS X version shown on the app’s website date from 2014 1, and Michael Tsai notes some shortcomings of the release, including lack of smart folders and AppleScript support. The iOS version, meanwhile, currently supports only the iPhone, not the iPad.

Of course, the real question is whether an RSS reader is still software that people get worked up about. With the demise of longtime RSS staple Google Reader and the incursion of social networks and alternative news reading apps like Flipboard, Nuzzel, and soon Apple News, an RSS reader seems decidedly last decade. It’s a challenging environment into which to drop a new product—even one with as respected a brand as NetNewsWire.

  1. It wouldn’t really bug me if it weren’t that this is a news app.  ↩

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]