Tech Guide

Here's an awesome iPhone trick that makes web pages much easier to read

Key Points
  • Safari on Mac, iPhone and iPad lets you turn on Reader View to clean up stories and get rid of a bunch of ads.
  • It's really useful if you read a lot of news.
  • But there's a feature I never knew about: Automatic Reader View, which does this automatically. Just be aware it sometimes hides good content.
The Clock application is seen on an Apple iPhone in this photo illustration on January 29, 2019.
Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Apple has a feature in Safari on Mac, iPhone and iPad that makes it much easier to read news on your favorite websites without having to scroll past a bunch of ads and other filler.

It's called Automatic Reader mode, and when you turn it on, web pages will automatically switch to a much cleaner, easier-to-read format.

For example, this is what a story looks like with Reader View off:

This is a page with Reader View off.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

This is what it looks like on:

This is the same page with Reader View on.

As you can see, it really lets you focus on the words of the story without other distractions.

Here's how to turn it on:

You can set Reader View to always turn on.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Open Safari and visit a website with a bunch of text. You can even try it right here if you have this article open on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Now scroll to the top of the page where you see the URL bar and tap the icon on the far left with 4 lines once.
  • This is what the page looks like in "Reader View."
  • But here's a trick: Instead of just tapping that bar, press and hold it.
  • You'll see a bar that pops up saying "Automatic Reader View."
  • Select "Use on All Websites."

That's it. Now when you surf the web you'll see clean pages that are much easier to scroll through and read.

There are some downsides, though. News articles with videos embedded don't always show the video, so I turned off Reader View when I wanted to check that.

In addition, it's not perfect: Depending on the site you're reading, it might actually cover the content you're trying to read. When I tested this on, for example, it showed the next story instead of the article I wanted to read.

Last, because Reader View can block certain types of ads, you might be hurting some of your favorite websites, at least if they rely heavily on advertising revenue. But, if there's a favorite site of yours whose ads are so aggressive that they get in the way of the story, at least this fixes that problem.

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