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Apps for Research & Writing: Pocket & Instapaper

A guide containing recommended apps for research, ebook reading, and document storage, sharing, annotating and citing.

What are Pocket and Instapaper?

We discover stuff online throughout the day, and sometimes we don’t have time to read or look at things right when we find them.

Instapaper and Pocket allow you to easily save them for later, when you do have time, so you don’t just forget about them or skim through them.

How to decide which one to use? This article gives a good overview of the strengths and weaknesses of both. I prefer Instapaper for its bare bones look and its ability to make notes and highlights within an article but Pocket does better with videos and other media.

Using Pocket

Getting ready to use Pocket

Now that you've downloaded Pocket to your device you should install enable your device to upload links to Pocket 

  • Open Mobile Safari and tap the Share button
  • Swipe the colored icons in the top row, and tap  More which can be found all the way to the right
  • Enable the switch for Pocket so it turns green, then tap Done

Sometimes the upload icon doesn't work. You can also send articles to Pocket via email by adding Pocket to your contacts. Pocket will prompt you to do this when you set up the app.

Using Pocket

Now you are ready to start using Pocket.  

Let's say you come across and interesting article on the web, either on your phone or your computer.  Upload it to Pocket  and you can read that article later.  Same thing with a video or a picture.

As an example, go to this page and use the upload button . You should see a listing for Pocket in your options  Use that and the article will be saved to the Pocket app. 

Once you have a lot of items, it can be hard to find things. You can add tags to organize items. With an article open, click on the tags icon Then add your tags. You can access them from the main page of Pocket by using the icon on the top left.

You can share your articles with other apps. Use the upload button at the top right Just to see what it does, try sharing an article with Evernote.

Using Instapaper

Getting Ready to Use Instapaper

Now that you've downloaded Instapaper to your device you should install enable your device to upload links to Instapaper. 

  • Open Mobile Safari and tap the Share button
  • Swipe the colored icons in the top row, and tap  More which can be found all the way to the right
  • Enable the switch for Instapaper so it turns green, then tap Done

Sometimes the upload icon doesn't work. You can also send articles to Instapaper via email by adding Instapaper to your contacts.

  • Open settings in Instapaper
  • Go to How to Save
  • Swipe until Email Articles comes up and then add the email to your contacts

Using Instapaper

Now you're ready to start using Instapaper. Let's say you come across and interesting article on the web, either on your device or your computer.  Upload it to Instapaper you can save that article to read later. Even better, Instapaper will reformat it so that it displays better for reading on your device.

As an example, go to this page and use the upload button . You should see a listing for Instapaper in your options  Use that and the article will be saved to the Instapaper app. Go to your Instapaper app and you should see the article.

From there you can read it or you can share it with other apps. Use the upload button at the bottom right Just to see what it does, try sharing the article with Evernote.

The great thing about Instapaper is that you can use it from any device and it will sync. So if you have something to Instapaper on your computer browswer, when you open Instapaper on your device you'll see it there. The other great thing is that the articles are available off-line.

One of the unique features of Instapaper is your ability to take notes and highlight items and access a dictionary and wikipedia from within the app. Take a look at these screen shots.

You can add items to folders in Instapaper to make things easier to find.