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NetNewsWire: Free, open source (and very good) RSS reader for Mac

NetNewsWire is an RSS reader for OS X. It’s free and open source (which is laudable) and a joy to use (even better). It’s been around for 17 years, much longer than Twitter, Facebook et al, and got a major new release this week. I’ve been using it for a day or two instead of my usual app, the also excellent Reeder, which I bought back in 2015.

Screenshot of NetNewsWire with a 3 column layout.

NetNewsWire uses a familiar 3 column layout, which makes it easy to navigate lots of RSS feeds with a keyboard

NetNewsWire is quick, stable and looks and behaves like a proper, working-with-the-grain OS X app; it feels right and is easy to learn. There’s a dark theme. Importing an OPML (an open format for sharing RSS feeds and other content) file was simple, and it automagically detected feeds living on my Mac (presumably from Reeder). The one downside was that, unlike Reeder, it doesn’t log into Inoreader, a cloud based service, which means I can’t use several readers across devices that all hook into the same source. On the other hand, this client-based approach is perhaps part of the attraction.

It comes with 20 or so feeds, all from the tech/Mac/web world and mostly interesting. A lot of the authors weren’t white, straight men. This is thoughtful software.

So, if you’re looking for a high quality, free RSS reader for your Mac, NetNewsWire is an excellent choice. And if you want to break free of Facebook, reading self-published websites via RSS will make things easier. There’s a whole world out there.