The one feature every iPhone and iPad owner should use regularly

The latest version of iOS has an improved Reader View that makes surfing the web on the iPhone and iPad a much better experience.

If you're like most people you frequently use your iPhone and iPad to surf the web. That usually means using Safari in iOS. If so, there is a feature that's been in Safari for a while -- but has been improved in the latest version -- that can make reading articles on the web easier and free of distractions.

NYT Article

In this age of complex web sites, many sites use a technique called responsiveness that adjusts the layout and size of content to fit the width of the screen on each type of device. The site may display a page with a single long column on narrow displays instead of the standard multi-column format for wider screens.

Some sites optimized for screen size disable the pinch/zoom function of iOS devices. This eliminates the ability to zoom text that is too small to make it legible.

The improved feature in Safari that helps deal with this is called Reader View, and with a tap of a control it strips out the meaningful content on most articles on the web. The article is then presented in a very legible format that can be more easily read, putting the focus on the content that matters. All flashing distractions are removed, leaving only the article text and pertinent images.

It's easy to forget about Reader View when surfing the web since the control to invoke it is so tiny. It's the control on the left side of the address bar, and once it is pressed, the simplified view instantly pops up. The control can be tapped to go back to the full web display.


Reader View works on both the iPhone and iPad, and particularly well on the smaller iPhone screen. See the comparison of an article displayed above on the iPhone. It is immediately apparent how Reader View on the right improves the reading experience over the regular web page on the left.

Normal web page
Reader View version of page above

The feature is particularly useful on web pages that don't behave well. If you run into such a site where the page displays the text too small to be legible, invoke Reader View and change it. Notice the difference in such a page in the two images above, captured on an iPad Air 2.

Reader View settings on iPhone

Reader View is customizable by the user to display the simplified content to suit the individual. Text size can be varied, along with the font and page background. It's much like ebook readers in this regard.

This is not new but easy to overlook when surfing the web. Note that Reader View is only available on individual articles and not busy front pages on most web sites.

Ad blocking on iOS is all over the news, and it's worth noting that Reader View strips ads when presenting the important content for articles.

Reader View is also available in Safari on OS X, but lacks the customization function of iOS 9.