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(Pocket-lint) - The Shortcuts app on iOS is one of the most powerful yet neglected tools available on any iPhone or iPad today. However, just because it's gone unnoticed by the vast majority of users doesn't mean you should let its powerful capabilities slide by.

RSS readers might seem like an echo from the past, but they can still serve as a powerful tool to read headlines without having to deal with all the other fluff you'd come across when browsing social media to get your information via instead. 

If you'd like to easily see the latest headlines from your favourite news sources with only a tap of an icon or just a quick summon by Siri, follow along. 

Here's how to create a custom RSS feed reader using Shortcuts. 

  1. Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the + icon at the top to create a new shortcut.
  3. In the search bar, find and select the Choose from Menu action. 

Once you're at this step, you'll be given two item lines by default — the amount of items you choose will be the amount of news feeds you're going to source from, so if you have four favourite websites in mind, make sure to add four items altogether. 

After that, make sure you rename all the items to the names of the news outlets you'll be using so you can easily identify them when the shortcut is up and running. 

Next, add the URL action underneath each of the items we added in the step before. This URL box is where you’re going to need to paste the RSS feed links for the accompanying websites. If you aren't sure where to find a specific news outlets RSS information, Feedspot is a simple to use website that easily helps you find the RSS link you'll need to make this shortcut work. 

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Now at the end of your shortcut, add the Get Items from RSS Feed action. By default, it'll be set to pull 10 headlines from each outlet, but if you'd like to adjust that number, here's your chance. 

To follow that, add Safari's Filter Articles action and (presumably) you'll want to set the Sort by setting to Published Date then the Order option to Latest First. This ensures you're seeing recent news first and not stories from 2010. 

Final steps

Finally, you're ready to put the finishing touches on now. 

Close out this shortcut by adding the Choose from List action, then finish it all off with a simple Open URLs trigger. 

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And that's it! Your very own custom RSS feed reader without any unwarranted baby pics or weirdly intrusive ads. 

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If you'd prefer to not go through the hassle of building this up yourself but instead would rather add this shortcut directly onto your iPhone or iPad with just a tap, click here. Once it's on your device, you can easily adjust the template created above with all your personal news preferences.  

The info for all our RSS feeds at Pocket-lint are available right here.

To read an overview of what exactly the iOS Shortcuts app is and how you can use it for even more featuers, check out our explainer by tapping here

Writing by Alex Allegro. Originally published on 5 September 2021.