Replace Reader: 3 Best Desktops RSS Clients for Mac OS X

Justin Pot 09-10-2013

We’ve told you about the main web-based alternatives to Google’s beloved but departed RSS service, which defined the RSS reading genre so well most competitors stopped bothering to compete. Feedly is probably the most feature filled Feedly, Reviewed: What Makes It Such A Popular Google Reader Replacement? Now that Google Reader is but a distant memory, the fight for the future of RSS is truly on. One of the most notable products fighting the good fight is Feedly. Google Reader wasn't an... Read More , Newsblur is easy to use These New Feedly Features Make It Easier to Digest Your RSS Feeds Feedly's latest update came with three new features: Boards, Notes, and Highlights. Here's how they can help you be more productive and organized with your RSS feeds. Read More and Feedbin, while not free, is worth the $2 a month Feedbin: A Google Reader Replacement That May Be Worth $2 Per Month Google Reader is sun-setting and shutting down on July 1st. Like most Google services, it was free – and in a world where many Web services are free, it's easy to forget that developers need... Read More .


But what about desktop apps? The Mac has long been home to some of the best desktop RSS apps out there, but many depended on Google Reader for syncing and basic functionality. What are the best alternatives to the now-broken clients like Reeder? Here are the best I’ve found.

ReadKit ($6.99)

Originally built to sync with read later services like Instapaper and Pocket, ReadKit is probably the best RSS app for Mac out there right now. Why? It syncs with Feedly, Newsblur, Feedbin and more – meaning you can use ReadKit on your Mac and keep reading on your portable device without any hiccups.

But there’s more here than just syncing: this app makes sharing with other apps easy and includes all the keyboard shortcuts you’d expect a modern reader app to include. It even offers Readability, allowing you to pull in full-text versions of articles in one keystroke.

Replace Reader: 3 Best Desktops RSS Clients for Mac OS X readkit main

Sure, it’s design is a not-so-subtle nod to Reeder, but that app’s Mac reincarnation is still forthcoming. And even when Reeder does come out, it will be hard for even that app to match the balance of features and simplicity ReadKit’s put together. It combines all of your online reading in one place. Read more about ReadKit Is ReadKit The Perfect Reeder Replacement For Mac? (Yes) Still looking for the perfect Mac RSS reader? It's here. Read More .


NewsNetWire ($10 pre-release, $20 thereafter)

Launched in 2002, NewsNetWire is the oldest RSS reader out there for Mac – and among the longest-developed programs on the platform. And now it’s experiencing a rebirth of sorts, with the fourth version expected soon.


You’ll immediately notice the app fits right in on modern Macs, with an interface that resembles a mail client. Browsing articles with the arrow key and space bar is easy, and a tabbed interface allows you to allow full versions of articles to load in the background.

NewsNetWire 4 is, as of this writing, in development. They’re currently offering a $10 pre-order with beta access, but the program will eventually cost $20.


Vienna (Free)

The free and open source alternative Vienna is a solid RSS reader that won’t cost you anything. The interface is simple, and browsing your feeds is easy. It also includes built-in sharing with Buffer.


Vienna supports Open Reader, an open source API web-based RSS services can use to provide syncing services. Major services like Feedly haven’t implemented this standard yet, however, so you’ll be limited to two relatively obscure services:



If you’d rather not pay for a desktop RSS reader, Vienna is well worth checking out – and it offers more syncing options than NetNewsWire. Read more about Vienna Vienna: A RSS Feed Reader With Integrated Sharing [Mac] Read More , if you’re interested.

Menu Bar Options

Not sure you want a full-blown RSS reader for your desktop? There are menu bar options, like Feeds (free):

Replace Reader: 3 Best Desktops RSS Clients for Mac OS X feeds mac main

Simon outlined 3 menu bar apps for staying on top of your RSS feeds 3 Great Menu Bar Apps to Stay on Top of Your RSS Feeds [Mac] For me, RSS feeds are the ideal way to keep up to date with all the websites I'm interested in - a centralised news-pool, so you don't have to check your browser every five minutes... Read More . Check that list out if you’re interested.


There’s More…

Of course, it’s impossible to write about Mac RSS apps without discussing Reeder. This was long the clear leader for Mac RSS apps, but relied on Google Reader for pretty much everything. Updates capable of syncing with Feedly and more have been issued for the iPhone and iPad, but the Mac version remains broken. Stay tuned, though, because if the previous version is anything to go by it will be fast and feature filled.

And there are other apps worth checking out. Leaf is an attractive app that leaves some advanced features out in favor of simplicity, and is getting a lot of really great reviews.It doesn’t sync with anything post-Reader, but might be perfect for someone seeking a simple alternative that looks great.

I couldn’t possibly outline every RSS reader for Mac here, so I need your help: which awesome apps did I miss? Fill me in below, okay?

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  1. Allison @ The Book Wheel
    November 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    My main problem with NetNewsWire is that it won't allow you to comment on Google blogs from within the program. Commenting works for ALL other services.

  2. John Lewis
    October 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

    What about Caffeinated? Tis a winner.

  3. Amy
    October 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    The correct name of the app is actually NetNewsWire, not NewsNetWire

  4. Ionut
    October 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I will use ReadKit when they will include the sync option with Theoldreader.

  5. Yutao T
    October 10, 2013 at 4:29 am

    I hope Feedly has a desktop version.

    • Grace
      October 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

      It does.

  6. Roger C
    October 9, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I've been using Vienna ever since I switched to the Mac. I loved it then as I do now. Back then it didn't have the syncing, so now I'm left with trying to find a suitable iOS app to fully utilize that feature. I would love to find one that operates more like Vienna, but most want to aggregate feeds together into one long view.

  7. Android
    October 9, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    They all look the same.