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News Explorer 1.9.11 for iOS: Widgets and more

Version 1.9.11 of News Explorer for iOS contains several iOS 14 compatibility improvements, including support for widgets, and some other useful new features.

While releasing maintenance updates for the current editions of News Explorer, we continue to work in the background on the next 'big thing', News Explorer 2.0. This version was originally planned for 2020, but this didn’t take into account the release of macOS 11 Big Sur with a completely new design and the introduction of a new processor. As a result we need way more time for News Explorer and our other apps. We hope to release News Explorer 2.0 somewhere in the first half of 2021.

System features

This update contains the following new system related features:

  • Widgets support: You can now add News Explorer widgets to the Home Screen and Today View. All three standard sizes are supported, and because you can add multiple widgets, you can also customize the source for each widgets, as well the font and thumbnail display. As source you can choose between smart filters, folders or feeds. Tapping an article on the widget will open the article in News Explorer. The widgets are updated by the app as part of each sync procedure, including the sync performed in background app refresh.
  • Delete notifications of read items: This is a new option in the General section of the News Explorer Preferences. When you mark an item as read in News Explorer, the related notification in the Notification Center will be removed, when this new setting is enabled.

News Explorer 1.9.11

Article list

The article list has been enhanced with the following new features and improvements:

  • Unread counter badge: The back button on the navigation bar has been extended with an unread counter badge, very similar to the standard Mail app on iOS. This badge is visible on top of the article list and article viewer. The badge is automatically updated each time an article is marked as read. If you don’t like this badge then you can disable it in the News Explorer Preferences.
  • Group filters and folders by Feed is a new option in the Viewing section of the Preferences. With this new setting you can now group articles in folders and filters on feed title, instead of publication or download date.
  • Improved performance: We have re-implemented multiple aspects of the article list: article loading, animation, image downloading, memory usage, mark as read while scrolling performance and more. The animation of the initial loading is also new and can be disabled in the Viewing section of the News Explorer Preferences, in case you don’t like it.
  • Low Data support: When Low Data is enabled in the network settings of the device, the article list will stop downloading thumbnails.

Article viewer

The article viewer contains following new features:

  • Twitter Card support in Twitter feeds: Some Twitter accounts produce Tweets with links pointing to web pages containing Twitter Card metadata. In the previous version of News Explorer, you saw only the link to the web page. Now you see a fully rendered Twitter Card, including image, title and description. Clicking the card will open the linked web page.
  • Full-width article option: A new setting Use full-width in the Body section of the Article settings popup removes the left and right margin, so the full-width is used to display text and images. This option is only available on iPhone (and iPod), and works perfectly when using a dark theme.
  • Relocated navigation buttons: On the iPhone, the next and previous article navigation buttons has been moved to the navigation bar on top of the screen. You can move them back to the bottom toolbar by disabling setting Show navigation buttons on top. This setting is also available on iPad, where it is default disabled.
  • Custom font support: You can now select a custom font in the Reading section of the News Explorer Preferences. The selected font can be used in the Article settings popup. Due to an incomplete implementation of Apple, fonts installed with the new Font Management functions in iOS 14 don’t work as custom font in News Explorer. Fonts installed by older apps that use the now deprecated font configuration profiles work perfectly in News Explorer. And of course, all system fonts can also be used.
  • New York font has been added to the standard font list in the Article viewer settings popup. This font is a new system font designed for Apple.

Apple Watch

We have implemented the following new features for Apple Watch users:

  • Show on Apple Watch is a new menu-item in the long-press context menu of the Subscriptions list. With this you can easily change what is being shown in the News Explorer app on your Apple Watch. This long-press context menu is also available for folders.
  • Apple Watch Complication: You can now add a News Explorer complication to your Apple Watch face. The complication shows the currently selected source, and acts as a shortcut to start the News Explorer app on your Apple Watch.

Other changes

  • SVG feed icons support: feed icons based on SVG favicons are now properly rendered.
  • Spotlight indexing is now disabled by default, to save your battery and to shorten the sync procedure. If you used this, then check the setting in the General section of the News Explorer Preferences.
  • iOS 13 is now the minimum versions of News Explorer for iOS. Idem ditto, iPadOS 13 for News Explorer on iPadOS.
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