From Reeder's iCloud Feeds to Feedbin: Finding the perfect RSS service

Two iPhones with the Reeder app open. On the left it shows Reeder iCloud and on the right shows Feedbin.

I’ve written before about my love for RSS before. My favorite time of day is when I go through my feeds with Reeder on my iPad mini every morning. While I've been extremely happy for years with Reeder as my RSS reading app, I've faced issues with their Reeder Feeds iCloud service.


With the recent trend of App Defaults, I got the chance to look at hundreds of people's setups. It made me rethink a few of the apps and services I use, particularly RSS. I noticed that while many people were using Reeder, they were all using a mix of RSS services such as Feedbin, Feedly, Inoreader, FreshRSS, etc., so I tried a few in hopes of solving my ongoing issues with Reeder's iCloud Feeds.

Issues with Reeder's iCloud Feeds

When Reeder 5 came out, they rolled out a new iCloud built-in RSS feeds Syncing service called iCloud Feeds. It is free to use with the purchase of the app, so I saw it as a win-win. It meant one less subscription and service to worry about. It was great at the beginning, but as much as I wanted to love it, it started showing glaring issues:

Sync: I like to read feeds both on my iPad and iPhone. I started noticing that feeds were never in perfect sync between each device. My iPad had one coun while my iPhone has a different one. I believe Reeder folks know this issue, so they offer an option: "Don't fetch on this device." I tried it, but it was more of a workaround. It was bad enough that I stopped using my iPhone to catch up with RSS.

Fanthom feeds: I clear all my feeds every morning by reading or moving things to read later. However, the next day, I always saw feeds from the previous day that I had marked as read already. This got really annoying.

Speed: Reeder has an option to sync items in the background. This option was practically not working with Reeder Feeds; every time I loaded the app, it took forever to sync. Sometimes, it even throws errors for some feeds.

Media: Reeder Cloud could not retrieve the thumbnails for some of the feeds.

I wanted to love it because it's free, and it meant one less service, but for something that is deeply integrated into my daily rituals, I don't want to have to struggle daily with it. I now understand why apps like Things have their own services to sync over the cloud.

Why Feedbin

My Feedbin feeds on Reeder. As a hack to reorder the folder, I've had to add special characters at the beginning of the folders.
My Feedbin feeds on Reeder. As a hack to reorder the folder, I've had to add special characters at the beginning of the folders.

Honestly, I chose Feedbin because it's one of the cheapest options out there. While it offers fewer features than competitors, that's not necessarily a negative. It makes it feel more lightweight and stays in sync perfectly. It does one thing and does it well. It offers nice quality-of-life features like reviewing feeds and showing how often they post. You can also subscribe natively to YouTube channels and newsletters.


For Newsletters, I was using Kill the newsletter to subscribe to newsletters on Reeder. It worked great for a while, but I started noticing that I stopped receiving newsletters from a few sources. Also, some websites were not accepting the kill newsletter email as valid. Now, with Feedbin's own newsletter address, I don't have to worry about that.

For easy access to the newsletter email I added a native text replacement when I type (;fee).

I also considered Feedly and Innoreader, but their features are mostly tied to their own apps. Innoreader has a free tier, but it has a limit of 150 feeds, which I exceed easily. Feedly is focused on AI features, which isn't what I'm looking for. Another popular option on App Defaults was NetNewsWire free iCloud sync, but that required switching from Reeder, so it was a no. It's worth mentioning that Feedbin has its own RSS reader app, but Reeder is much better.

Conclusion after a week

So far, I've been using Feedbin for a week, and I have no complaints! It stays in perfect sync on Reeder between my devices. It syncs quickly, so now I can use Reeder background sync. I've also noticed that it does a better job fetching images from feeds that previously did not display the images on the thumbnails. Am I happy about paying for yet another subscription? No. Am I happy because a core part of my day now works flawlessly? Yes haha.

If you plan to subscribe to Feedbin, make sure you do it on their website and not over in-app purchases, as the latter will be one extra dollar a month.

What's next?

I will continue to use the feed bin for now, keeping the monthly sub, but next year, I might learn more about Freshrss, a self-hosting service. But if Reeder manages to fix these issues with the upcoming Reeder 6, I might switch back. Also, I might try it to Lire, which Federico over at MacStories has been praising.

How about you? Which RSS service are you using? What is your favorite RSS app?

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