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Free vs Paid Daily News Apps of 2022

There's a lot going on in the world and a news app can help you keep up with it all. But do you need to pay for one? We tested the major apps to find out. 

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Free vs Paid Daily News Apps of 2022

Whether you're a news junkie or just want to keep informed about current events, there are tons of options for news apps. We tested 10, some free and some with paid subscriptions, to see which were the best. For most people, paying for news is not necessary since there is so much high-quality free content out there, but more serious news readers may want to pay for the additional analysis and reporting offered by their publication of choice. We found that CNN was the best single-source news app and Google News was the best aggregator. Read on for our other favorites:

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Apps We Selected
  2. Our Pick CNN Breaking US & World News CNN Breaking US & World News Runner Up Google News - Daily Headlines Google News - Daily Headlines Also Groovy Washington Post Washington Post Also Groovy NewsBreak: Local News & Alerts NewsBreak: Local News & Alerts Also Groovy NPR News NPR News
  3. 2. Everything We Recommend
  4. 3. The 411 from our Appventurer
  5. 4. Other Apps Considered
Our Pick

Best overall news app

  • Stay informed on breaking news with the global news gathering power of CNN.
    4.7 Ratings 2M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh In App Purchases 1M+ Reviews
    Free In-App Purchases


This cable news channel has a well-designed app to help you keep up with the news of the day. 

Why we chose CNN:

  • This free app is the best app for a single news source we tested.
  • On the app, you can read articles, watch video clips, or listen to audio (and watch live TV if you subscribe to cable providers), so you can pick your favorite way to consume news.
  • Clear layout allows you to quickly get the headlines, and click through for deeper analysis on stories you want to know more about. This makes the app both efficient and detailed.
  • While it obviously only has CNN content, the network has so much coverage that you can stay fully informed without going elsewhere.
Best for: getting your cable news fix on the go and staying informed every day.

Read CNN's Full Review
Runner Up

Best aggregator app

  • Stay informed with latest world & local news personalized for your interest
    4.2 Ratings 2M+ Reviews 1B+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh 1M+ Reviews


If you're looking for a free app that curates the most important stories from a wide array of sources, check out the Google News app.

Why we chose Google News:

  • This free app was our favorite news aggregator of them all.
  • When you open the app, the major stories of the day are shown, giving you the highlights quickly. You can browse through or click on a story for more information from a variety of different news sources
  • Select your favorite publications and topics to create a curated news stream. If this includes sources that you subscribe to, you can log in to read in the app
  • Easy to browse. The app offers lots of information displayed cleanly
  • Newsstand allows you to browse tons of different news sources and topics
Best for: savvy news consumers who want the most headlines in the least time.

Read Google News' Full Review
Also Groovy

Best value subscription app

While most subscription news sources have high-quality apps, the Washington Post's was the best of those we tested for more serious newsreaders. 

Why we chose Washington Post:

  • App is technically free, but in order to access more than 7 articles a month, you need a $9.99/month Washington Post subscription (Although pandemic coverage is free)
  • Access all the Post’s news and analysis from a beautifully laid out and easy-to-navigate app. The white-on-black font display is easy on the eyes
  • In addition to the typical mobile scrolling format, the app lets you look at the print edition. Although the print is too small to read this way (at least on a phone), you can tap in to go to each article This reproduces the traditional news reading experience (and makes it feel like the news has an end, rather than constantly refreshing all day long.)
  • Easy to bookmark stories to read later, so you can browse through quickly and note what you want to read more carefully when you have time. 
Best for: serious news consumers who want in-depth reporting and analysis and don't mind paying for it. 

Read The Washington Post's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best local news

  • Reconnect with your neighborhood! Daily news alerts for local news headlines!
    4.6 Ratings 1M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Free Feature Rich Fresh 1M+ Reviews


If you want to make sure your news diet includes sources close to home, check out the aggregator app News Break.

Why we chose News Break:

  • News Break is a free app that is focused on local news, so it’s a great app for staying up to date on what’s happening in your town and state
  • Complements its local coverage with classifieds, so you can find local deals
  • The app also displays major news headlines, and allows you to create a feed of your favorite news sources, so you can get all your news in one place
  • Lots of ads and annoying notifications are some snags with this app, so best to turn them off and tune them out

Best for: getting news from around the world -- including your own backyard.

Read News Break's Full Review
Also Groovy

Best audio content

  • NPR News: The NPR and public radio station player for your Android.
    3.6 Ratings 93K+ Reviews 5M+ Downloads


The NPR app allows you to enjoy national public radio audio content right from your phone. If you prefer to read, there's plenty of print articles on the app as well. 

Why we chose NPR:

  • This free app allows you to read or listen to NPR stories, listen to your local station live, and access NPR podcasts.
  • Simple, minimal layout is easy to use and not overwhelming
  • Allows you to create playlists of stories you want to hear, so you can create your own personal feed to listen to when you want to
  • App features lots of arts and culture content, for people who want to keep up with new art, music, books, and movies
  • Of all the apps tested, this one probably has the least content, but NPR listeners should definitely download
Best for: those who want a truly portable news radio.

Read NPR News' Full Review

Everything We Recommend

  • Our Pick
    CNN has correspondents and bureaus reporting from across the world to keep you updated and informed on what matters most.

    Never miss a breaking news story or important update again. Personalize your experience and choose the news you want by category: Politics, Business, Health, Entertainment and more. Get the news you want, the way you want.

    Stay informed with CNN:
    • Get daily news, in-depth reporting, expert commentary and more.
    • Read articles and save them for later.
    • Set custom alerts and notifications for news updates.
    • Listen to CNN Live audio.
    • Watch exclusive news programs from the anchors you trust.
    • U.S. and Canada: Watch CNN, CNNi and HLN live coverage with your TV provider.
    • U.S. and Canada: Watch CNN Original Series and Films on-demand with your TV provider.

    Enjoy a 10-minute preview of live CNN coverage each day. Log in with your TV provider for unlimited viewing.

    Data rates may apply.

    CNN Privacy Policy:
    For California residents only, manage sharing your data at:
    In-App Purchases
    $5.99 - $59.99 per item
  • Runner Up

    Google News - Daily Headlines

    4.2 Ratings 2M+ Reviews 1B+ Downloads
    Google News is a personalized news aggregator that organizes and highlights what’s happening in the world so you can discover more about the stories that matter to you.

    With Google News, you’ll find:

    YOUR BRIEFING: It can be nearly impossible to keep up with every story you care about, Your Briefing makes it easy to stay in the know about what’s important and relevant in your world. It updates throughout the day to bring you the top local, national, and world headlines, plus personalized news tailored to your interests.

    LOCAL NEWS: Explore your community through stories and articles from news outlets in your local area. Customize and choose multiple locations so you can know what’s happening near you or wherever home is.

    FULL COVERAGE: Dive deeper into a story with multiple perspectives. The Full Coverage feature organizes everything online about a story, surfacing and highlighting coverage from different outlets and mediums. With just a tap, you’ll uncover how the story is unfolding and how everyone is reporting on it.

    STORIES FOR YOU: The For You section delivers personalized news related to your interests. Take control and customize the articles you see by following the topics and sources you care about.

    ACCESS FROM ANY DEVICE: Google News is designed to meet the needs of users with different phones and levels of connection. When your connection isn’t strong or you need to save data, Google News will continue to work smoothly by slimming down the size of images and downloading less data. Articles can be downloaded over Wi-Fi to save for later when you are offline.

    Do you prefer to access your news on your Laptop or Desktop? Pair the Google News mobile app with our Desktop website,, so you can stay up to date and access the news no matter what device you’re on.
    In-App Purchases
  • Also Groovy
    Get award-winning global reporting from The Washington Post. The app is free to download and keeps you informed with expert coverage from Post journalists.

    • Stay informed with the 24/7 feed of today’s news.
    • Wake up with The 7, a better morning briefing on the day’s most important and interesting stories.
    • Customize your alerts to be the first to know when news is breaking.
    • Catch up with today’s stories by listening to original podcasts and audio articles.
    • Discover something new in My Post, a curated feed with recommendations just for you.
    • Dive deeper into Post journalism with innovative graphics, video, and augmented reality exclusives.
    In-App Purchases
    $9.99 - $149.99 per item
    $5.99 - $149.99 per item

    NewsBreak: Local News & Alerts

    4.6 Ratings 1M+ Reviews 50M+ Downloads
    Get daily news alerts & updates on current events sent straight to your phone, because a small news reader makes a big difference to communities! Keep up to date with news that impacts you & your community! Read trending headlines on live local news updates, international news, weather alerts, & more!

    Small news makes a big difference! NewsBreak is your #1 local news app for current events, free live news, local weather alerts for your community. Download today to stay up to date on all things local!

    Local news is different from national US news, trending headlines or global news. NewsBreak believes that local news helps bring neighborhoods together around the unique stories they share in common. Only local, small news has the unique ability to meaningfully inform the decisions we make throughout the day.

    Are there any weather alerts or winter storm updates for my area? What about traffic updates? What important events are happening nearby? Stay updated with a crime map for the neighborhood & check for local weather alerts. Join NewsBreak’s growing local news community & see why over 45M people across the United States have helped make us the nation’s #1 local news app!

    Remember - we don’t just do small news! Local breaking news, sports news, trending national & international news – NewsBreak’s got it all. Get everything from sports updates to national news headlines & live stream news sent straight to your phone while coming together with your neighborhood to share interesting conversations related to local news in your area.

    Join the 45M+ locals across the U.S. that trust NewsBreak as their #1 local news app!

    NewsBreak Features:

    Local News Highlights
    • Get local news, traffic, events near by, local weather alerts, news widget, & more in a curated daily briefing
    • Live stream news on local channels: follow local news, events, newspapers, & activities
    • Get local weather reports & traffic updates at a glance

    Breaking News, National & Local
    • Both small news & breaking news, stay up to date with our current news coverage
    • Daily news aggregated right onto your device
    • Browse national news headlines & read comprehensive, in-depth stories
    • Use the discovery engine to discover stories from over 10,000 trusted sources

    Personalized News Feed
    • Get the stories that matter to you with a highly personalized feed, relevant to your likes & dislikes
    • Get coverage on the tv news that matters most to you, including sports news, business news, tech news, health news, real estate news, science news, finance news, celebrity news, market news, & more!
    • Keep up with the latest coverage of headline news & events, nationally & locally!
    • Our news aggregator collects & delivers the news that matters to you
    • Get news alerts customized to your tastes to make NewsBreak your personalized news reader

    Your Community News
    • Find local eats, small news updates, traffic alerts, deals, local shopping, & more ahead of time
    • Read personal & vivid stories from our local news writers & content creators
    • Treat us as your personal newsstand, magazine collector, news picker, blog reader, restaurant reviewer, & more
    • Stay updated with daily life, events near you, & neighborhood crime with the local safety map

    Create Civic Value - Support the Cause
    • Use NewsBreak to revive the local news maker ecosystem & support small US news publishers
    • Increase local story volume & geographic coverage to stimulate local storytelling & community power

    Follow or Block the Trend - It’s Up to You
    • It’s totally cool to stay on top of some topics, or totally hate them!
    • NewsBreak allows you to follow what is trending, or completely block some topics you don’t appreciate
    • You can laugh, share, think, cry, upvote, downvote, comment, reply...
    • NewsBreak is a free ground that welcomes you to express emotions & opinions

    Download NewsBreak today to stay informed on local news, national headlines, & world news!

    Better informed, better life.
    In-App Purchases

    NPR News

    3.6 Ratings 93K+ Reviews 5M+ Downloads
    - Read, listen, or create a playlist of your favorite NPR stories and share with friends.
    - Hear live streams from hundreds of NPR stations: search by location (GPS) or zip code / call letters
    - Listen to programs like Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Talk of the Nation, Fresh Air, and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me More

    *Data Protection Choices*

    At NPR, we understand how important privacy is to you, and we are committed to transparency about how we collect, use and share your information. Please take a moment to read our privacy policy:

    By downloading this app:
    *You agree to NPR's terms of use, available at
    *You acknowledge that NPR may process your personal data as described in NPR's privacy policy, available at
    *You agree that NPR uses devices identifiers, tracking technologies, and information about the device you use to access NPR's apps to enhance your viewing, listening, and user experience, personalize content, personalize messages from NPR's sponsors, provide social media features, and analyze NPR's traffic. This information is shared with social media services, sponsorship, analytics, and other third-party service providers. See details in NPR's privacy policy.
    In-App Purchases
Compare All Apps

The 411 from our Appventurer

Caroline Rothnie
Written by:

Caroline Rothnie

Hard as I try to keep a minimalist phone, I can't stop downloading more apps. In addition to my can't-live-without apps for organization, music and podcasts, fitness, and meditation, I'm constantly trying out new ones. So I love apps, but it's a complicated relationship -- some of my favorites are for keeping me off my phone/internet.

In second grade, I attempted to do a book report on a story I had written myself, so you could say I've always thought of myself as a writer. These days, I write a wide variety of web content with a focus on mental health and productivity. I also write personal essays. I live in Kansas with my husband and two dogs. 

Free vs Paid Daily News Apps of 2022



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