When you find yourself out of range of WiFi or cellular date, it can start to raise your anxiety level. Couple that with taking a plane ride and you have the recipe for a bad day. Recently I found myself in just this situation and needed to find a way out. Before I hopped on a plane for a couple hours, I found an App called Pocket by Idea Shower. With about 12 hours before my flight, I needed to dive in quickly to become an expert if I wanted to make my flight more enjoyable.
Once I downloaded Pocket on my iPad mini, I quickly signed up and received a brief summary of how it works. The first item the summary deals with is adding the email address to your contacts so you can add items from Safari to your list. The next screen informs users how to save items from their computer. These instructions can be emailed to you if you would like. Firefox, Chromo, & Safari all have options to add buttons to the browser. I use Firefox and added the extension and absolutely love the seamlessness of this addition. It worked perfectly!
Pocket also allows users the option to save from their favorite apps like Twitter, Flipboard, Pulse, etc. I did setup this option for Twitter and it requires going through the app settings on your devices. It can take some time getting used to, but many iOS users are familiar with adding gestures for functionality. Take time to read the information if you decide to add this option. Also, take some time to practice and you’ll be an expert in no time.
The next item discussed in the summary is allowing automatic syncing. Users must enable this option since it will not automatically select it when you download the app. It’s easy to enable this since Pocket has a button on the final screen of the summary that will take you quickly through setup without exiting the application. One thing to keep in mind if you choose to enable this, it will run in the background and will use more battery life. It’s great to have everything right there when you open Pocket. Battery hogs may want to think twice before enabling this right away since there is nothing more frustrating than wondering what keeps gobbling up all your battery life. I despise waiting for items to sync, so I choose auto sync on everything no matter what the cost.
Once I got the basics out of the way, I wanted to get to pocketing items. Since I was right by my MacBook, I decided to use it to start looking online for items I wanted to add to Pocket. Right away I added the Pocket extension to Firefox and it was fast and easy to use. After finding 5 news stories I wanted to read while offline, I opened Pocket on my iPad and since I enabled auto syncing, my items showed up immediately. I was quite impressed at this point and felt my plane ride the next day was going to be filled with news to catch up on since this was so easy to use. So I thought…
The next morning at the airport I decided to resume adding news for my Pocket experience. Since I was no longer around my MacBook, I would use the email option to put items in my Pocket. After emailing an item to the email address I saved upon setup, I quickly went over to Pocket to watch the item load. I waited and waited, and then I waited some more. The item never showed up. I went back and emailed it again checking to make sure I sent the item to the right email address from the email address I had associated with myPocket account. Everything was correct. To this day, I still haven’t received any of the items I emailed to email@example.com. This was discouraging, but I knew there were other ways to add items and time was quickly running out before I had to board a plane.
After giving up on the email option, I decided I would try to add items while browsing in Safari. This required me to go back through the help section of Pocket to refresh myself on how to accomplish this. Pocketredirects you to a step by step process online that showed me how to add a bookmark in my favorites. Follow the instructions closely and it’s fairly easy. This bookmark allows users to simply bookmark an item in the Favorites section named “Save to Pocket.” Once you complete the steps, you can quickly add items to pocket while browsing on your iOS device in Safari. Since I have all my devices linked with iCloud, the bookmark I created transferred over to my iPhone too (which I also installed Pocket on). Now I was onboard the plane and was scrambling to get more items into Pocket before we had to power off all electronic devices. When my time ran out, I had 15 items saved in Pocket.
While in flight, I had plenty of stuff to keep me busy. The news items I saved in Pocket wasn’t the only thing I had on my iPad mini to keep me entertained, but I did read all the items I added. I did not have any trouble with any of the articles I saved. This was one area I started to get concerned about since I had never used anything like this.
One thing I didn’t think of when I downloaded Pocket was the “Reading List” in Safari that Apple released in previous software updates. It made me wonder how this compared to Pocket. At first glance, I felt it did the same things without the setup process. Although once I added a few things to the reading list and took my device offline I noticed the difference. The Reading List does allow you to read articles offline, but Pocketpresents the content in a much better fashion and allows users to assign tags for later reference as well as favorite items.
- Ability to view user selected content offline.
- Automatic syncing to other iOS devices.
- Different browsers allow the addition of extensions to make using Pocket even easier.
- It’s free and no ads, except for ads on content you synced to Pocket.
- Available for Mac, iPhone, & iPad.
- Emailing content is inoperable or auto setup is incorrect.
- Setting up Bookmarking could confuse novice iOS users.
- “Tags” are only viewable in certain content setups on home screen.
I am scoring Pocket according to ones experience with using iOS devices since I feel this would have an impact on users opinion of the application.
8/10: Those who know the ins and outs of their device, i.e., changing settings, adding application access to items across your device, gestures, etc. People comfortable with their device will have zero issue with making Pocket work in their day to day life.
6/10: New users or those with limited use on a iOS device may ran into some complications getting Pocketto work for them properly. There are items requiring extra steps and some users may get confused or frustrated and simply give up on using Pocket.
Pocket version 4.6.2
Version 5.0 was released hours after this review was posted. I will update this review as soon as I checkout the latest version.