Yahoo for iOS review: Elegant news browsing with a personal touch

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good The latest version of the Yahoo app gives options for both just headlines or visual news. Full-screen images with text overlays look great while you browse.

The Bad Facebook integration works, but only if you connect your Yahoo and Facebook account before using the app.

The Bottom Line More than just a news app, Yahoo stands out for its customization and search tools.

Free

8.2 Overall
  • Installation and Setup 7.0
  • Features and Support 8.0
  • Interface 9.0
  • Performance 8.0

The Yahoo app is focused on the latest headlines, bringing more personalization to your news feed, quick summaries for easy reading, and good-looking article pages with photo backdrops.

This is not the app you're going to use to check your e-mail or access most of the other services that Yahoo provides, but what the app does well is bring you the latest news in an intuitive layout.

You have the option to view headlines in a clean list if that is your preference, but the app also features a visual view of the news. The clean list is great for quickly scanning headlines, and you can pull down the list to refresh. But by hitting the menu button in the upper left, you can flip a switch to turn the visual news feature on. The results reminded me immediately of the full-screen images in the Google+ app feed, but Yahoo places both the headline and a brief summary of the story over the lead image. The brief summaries are made by Summly, a company Yahoo acquired just a month prior to this review ( Read more about Summly here ). The app also uses parallax scrolling to make the headlines scroll slightly faster than the background image to give the news feed a feeling of depth. It may sound distracting, but I think Yahoo has done a good job of making the summaries stand out against the photo backdrops, giving it a certain elegance while you swipe through the headlines.

Aesthetics aside, the Yahoo app also ties social networks into your news browsing for personalization and sharing, but there is a slight issue. Under the menu button in the upper left, you have a button for Topic Preferences, which takes you to a page where you can connect with Facebook to have the app include more stories that follow your interests. In my initial testing, touching the connect with Facebook button did nothing at all. But I spoke with the people at Yahoo and found out that you need to first connect your Yahoo account with your Facebook account before the features in the app will work. This is not an ideal situation obviously (without me telling you, you would have had the same problems), but once I connected the accounts on my desktop, I was able to add and remove topics so the Yahoo app could deliver a personalized feed. Even without the connection, if you want to share a story with a friend, you can scroll to the bottom of an article to find four buttons that let you share the story via e-mail, on Facebook, or on Twitter. Also without making the connection, the Yahoo app itself will still remember the stories you read and automatically try to deliver news that matches your interests.

The app has one more powerful tool that will be handy as well. From the slide-out menu, you also have the option to use Yahoo's search engine. Just like any Web search, you can enter keywords and get a huge list of results. Across the bottom of the interface, you have buttons for Web, images, or video, and each loaded extremely fast in my testing. While it seems like the app's focus is more on news, having Yahoo Web search is a powerful and useful feature on its own.

Overall, I think the Yahoo app offers an elegant way to browse the headlines, with options for both quick scanning and the app's visual news style. The social network connection only works if you connect your Yahoo and Facebook accounts beforehand, but Yahoo says it's currently working on a solution.

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