Paging through a magazine is a terrific leisurely activity and a great way to stay informed and pass the time. The best magazine reader apps make it easy to stay current with the latest issues on a single device without having to carry around a stack of them everywhere you go.
Update, 9/28/21: Checked content for accuracy. Updated prices for Apple News+
These apps are designed to make reading a digital magazine just as easy as browsing through a physical one. Of course, it doesn’t hurt when they throw in a few extra features as well. Here are the most important features your magazine reading app should have:
- Excellent Selection: The greatest feature of these readers is that they make the latest issues available to you the instant a publisher releases them. The best magazine reader apps also offer you a huge variety, from well-known titles down to smaller niche magazines. Whether you like gossip rags or magazines spanning more general categories like technology, politics, sports, or fashion, any digital magazine reader app worth its weight will make all of them available to you and not just focus on the most popular ones. A few also have books and audiobooks, making them perfect for reading enthusiasts across the board.
- Device Compatibility: These apps should be available for both Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, so they’re available to the broadest audience possible. Bonus points if they also allow you to read from your desktop or laptop. We also favor readers that offer cloud storage with cross-device syncing, so your magazines are available to you (and keep track of which page you’re on) no matter which device you use.
- Fair Pricing Options: Most emagazine reader apps are free but have you pay for each individual magazine you want a la carte. This is the best option for casual readers who only need one or two magazines per month. However, for avid magazine readers, options with a monthly subscription and unlimited access are better, as they give you access to all of their content without limits.
- Ease of Use: The best digital magazine apps have an intuitive interface with clearly labeled options for shopping, reading, and accessing your settings. The app you choose should also be able to remember where you last left off, let you pop out in a bird’s-eye view to move around, and let you customize text and background options for an easier reading experience.
Amazon Kindle (Free, with in-app purchases) is a fantastic app for reading magazines as well as comic books, newspapers, and e-books. It has a gigantic selection of magazines (including both new issues and back issues) across tons of categories like News & Political Commentary, Lifestyle & Culture, Pets & Animals, History & Nature, Cooking, and Women’s Interests, so all of your interests are covered.
You can browse through magazines on Kindle’s Newsstand by category, look at current featured issues, or see what’s topping the best-selling charts. Amazon even makes it easy to see current deals on magazines. Individual issues can be purchased, or there’s an option to sign up for a monthly subscription of a particular magazine. Prices vary by title, of course, but some offer a trial period and you can cancel whenever you want.
In the app, the navigation bar at the bottom lets you browse and shop for new magazines, view your current library, see magazine suggestions on your home page, and jump back into your current issue. While reading, the app lets you switch between a zoomed-in Article View, or keep the page zoomed out so you can see it in its entirety. There are also settings for adjusting text and brightness, adding bookmarks, and changing the background color.
Amazon Kindle’s immense selection, customizable settings, and vivid Article View make it a great choice overall. And hey—with all the books, comic books, newspapers, and audiobooks it offers, along with its amazing features, Amazon Kindle is the best option for reading in general.
Along with bringing you, well, news, Apple News+ (Free, with in-app purchases) also offers a nice selection of premium magazines. After all, it bought the previous market-leading magazine service, Texture, in 2018 for that reason. Although Apple’s selection of magazines is far from the largest—it only has a few hundred to choose from, where others have thousands—it offers access to pretty much all of the most popular titles and top newspapers you’d expect these services to carry.
In true Apple fashion, Apple News+ is pretty, and its classic minimalist design is easy to navigate. You can swipe through magazines from cover to cover or download them for offline reading. Apple News+ also offers curated audio stories, with new professionally narrated articles available each week, and you can listen to them on your device or using CarPlay. Apple News+ only works on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, but your subscription can be shared with up to six family members if they have compatible devices.
Scribd ($9.99 per month) is a fantastic magazine reader app because its low-cost monthly subscription grants you unlimited access to all of its content—including books, documents, audiobooks, news, and sheet music. If you’re constantly reading anything you can get your hands on, Scribd is the perfect way to satisfy your reading urges. It even offers a 30-day free trial before putting you on the subscription plan, so it’s a great way to see what it’s all about before spending a single dollar.
The app’s magazine selection is sorted by category, with options like Psychology, Money Management, Home & Garden, Arts & Languages, Fashion, Pop Culture, and more. There are also new arrivals and best sellers to browse through, or you can look through curated Editor’s Picks. With so many categories and mediums at your fingertips, Scribd should be able to keep you entertained for years to come.
If you tend to read a ton of magazines and you’re looking for the most affordable way to do so, Magzter (pricing varies) is the app to choose. The Magzter Lite plan lets you read five issues a month for $4.99 per month (or $49.99 per year), and the Magzter Gold plan gives you unlimited access to over 5,000 magazines and the ability to add up to four family members to your account for $9.99 per month (or $99.99 per year). Magzter also offers an a la carte option, where you can buy individual issues or purchase a subscription solely for your favorite magazines.
Magzter offers best-selling magazine titles across 40 categories like fitness, entertainment, science, automotive, and more. The app uses a responsive layout, so all of your magazines will fill up your device’s screen and display properly—no more zooming or panning. You can read your issues offline, toss in a bookmark if you need a break, and even get free unlimited reading at designated Smart Reading Zones, so make sure you keep your device’s GPS turned on. Magzter’s flexible plan options and Smart Reading Zones make it a great pick for those who want more control over how they pay for their magazines.
For those who like browsing a traditional newsstand and picking out a magazine the old fashioned way, Zinio (Free, with in-app purchases) comes as close as it can to mimicking that experience for you digitally. With Zinio, you can look through over 6,000 titles from around the world and buy issues individually or subscribe to your favorites. It also offers new free articles to read each day, and you can download paid articles and magazines whenever you want to read them offline.
Zinio allows you to switch between a full-page view and a text-reading mode, which is better optimized for reading on mobile devices. Having the option to switch between the two is a nice way to comfortably read text and still be able to experience the magazine as you would if it were a physical copy. Of course, there are also options for adjusting the background color and text. The app also offers cross-platform access, so you can stay entertained no matter which device you use. With its comfortable a la carte pricing and helpful page view options, Zinio is a great app for the casual magazine reader.
PressReader (pricing varies) is amazing because it offers so many options for everything, including payment and account options. The free Guest account is more for news stories but gives you access to read or listen to top stories and check out full publications at PressReader’s complimentary HotSpots. The Pay As You Go account option gives you all that, plus personalization options, customizable content preferences and a la carte pricing. This means you can translate stories in up to 18 languages, mark and share stories and articles, set keyword alerts, and purchase full issues for as low as 99 cents. Subscriber accounts ($29.99 per month) offer the widest array of access to magazines and stories but are quite pricey.
PressReader has over 7,000 magazines and newspapers available to read (or download for offline reading). Issues span an impressive variety of categories, like Boating & Aviation, Computers & Technology, Gaming, LGBTQ, Parenting & Family, Home & Garden, Fashion, and Sports, and include all kinds of informative and entertaining titles from around the globe.
If your family is full of magazine lovers, Readly ($9.99 per month) is the option that’ll cover everybody. With Netflix-style unlimited reading for up to five people on a single plan, everyone in your family can enjoy skimming through over 5,000 magazines. Readly even offers a Parental Control feature wherein you can block inappropriate magazines from ever reaching your kids.
Readly can remind you when new issues of your favorite magazines are available, and it makes it easy to bookmark and share magazines. The app’s Smart Search feature lets you use any keyword to find a specific magazine or article, and any magazine can be downloaded and read offline. Magazines are optimized for mobile reading, though you can also read them on your laptop or desktop computer. With its support for lots of family members, multiple operating systems, and unlimited access to magazines, Readly is the best choice for families.
The nice thing about the NOOK (Free, with in-app purchases) app from Barnes & Noble is that it offers you exactly what you’re looking for and no useless extras. The app displays magazines clearly and in full-color, just like the real thing. And with tons of categories to peruse—like Health & Fitness, Crafts & Hobbies, Science & Nature, and Fashion—there’s enough content to keep you entertained and informed for a lifetime. Individual issues have their cost and community rating listed below, and tapping on a magazine takes you to a page where you can read its overview, learn about purchase and subscription options, and see similar recommendations.
The navigation bar at the bottom of the app lets you switch between different parts of the app. Here, you’ll see your library, the bookstore, your profile, readouts, and an option for jumping into the magazine or book you’re currently reading. The store has a sleek design, with everything sorted by category, though there’s also a search button if you know exactly what you’re looking for and don’t want to spend any time browsing. NOOK has a built-in dictionary and makes it easy to customize things like font size, margin spacing, brightness, page animation, and even background colors. NOOK is super easy to use and doesn’t bother you with gimmicky extras or a difficult layout.