Offline Reading Actions Not Syncing on iOS

As a long-time Android user, I greatly enjoyed using the NewsBlur Android app.  The biggest and most important feature for me was offline reading (in the subway and train) and then it promptly syncing the reading actions (read, mark as read, saved) when I got into a service area.

I have now switched to an iPhone 6 (iOS v8.4) and found that the NewsBlur app isn’t syncing the offline reading actions.  Posts that are marked as read reappear in the NewsBlur app and website.  More importantly, posts aren’t being saved when I save them.  This can be replicated when in an area without service.  But it is also very concerning that the syncing of the actions is very inconsistent when service goes in and out (on the train).

I have Background App Refresh enabled for the NewsBlur app.  I also have the preference to download stories enabled.  Download images is turned off as I found it to takes too long when I have a quick blip of service.  I have tried refreshing after I take actions with mixed results depending on connectivity.

I’m more than happy to beta test and give feedback, if possible.

Thanks for the help!


I forgot to say that I’m using v4.6.4 (latest from the App Store at the time of writing).

Does it not work every time or just intermittently? I’d love to figure out what’s going on. Do you think it’s because the reading actions, which are queued while offline, are sent when you are back in range but fail due to a network timeout. This should be handled correctly, as the failed reading actions are then re-cached for later sending. But that mechanism is what sounds like it is failing. 

A network timeout would seem like a logical culprit and my guess is that it is less than a minute.
Here’s an example on my daily train commute:  Going by one station has almost full 4G service.  Going by the next station shows service, but usually drops down to 3G or 1X, but I lose my data connection.  Going through this area of poor connection is only about a minute or so.  Not too sure because I never timed it.  It was in this time I had saved a story and it never got synced.  I even tried the pull to refresh, thinking I could force it recommunicate with the server.

I was thinking about testing this in airplane mode (airplane mode > save story > turn off airplane mode > refresh).  Although this might not be a fair test, given that it recognizes when it offline and displays the message.

Not sure if this is intermittent, given that my connectivity keeps changing during my commute.

Here’s my airplane mode results:

Turned on airplane mode.
Opened a story and saved it.
Turned off airplane mode.
Story was marked as read, listed in Read Stories, but not saved.

Ohh, I’m sorry. I should’ve realized this earlier. Saved stories don’t work while offline. I just haven’t built it yet. I suppose I should, but I’ve got another iOS update on the way first.

Thanks for clarifying on this. I didn’t realize this feature wasn’t available, yet. The offline reading was what made me think all the offline features were “baked in.”

I was so used to Android not getting any love from developers and being behind when compared to their iOS versions. This is why I’m so surprised about the lack of offline saving.

For now, I will have to copy the link to the story, paste it into Evernote and save the note. When i get to a computer, i would search NewsBlur for the story and then save it. Quite a roundabout way to save the story to NewsBlur.

Sam or anyone else have a better idea for a workaround?

You should be able to use the Send To button at the bottom left, next to the Text/Story button. That will integrate Evernote directly into the story view.

Ah OK.  That works much better than my idea!  It’s like capturing what I see in NewsBlur, but now in Evernote.  Cool.

> Saved stories don’t work while offline. I just haven’t built it yet.

Please please add offline support.

My main use-case is wanting to pre-cache my long list of unread stories to work though, and quickly save off interesting ones for later, then switch to saved stories and choose what I actually want to read.
As it stands I can’t save anything when offline, and I also can’t switch over to the list of previously saved stories until I get a brief bit of connectivity.
My work-around instead tends to be to make sure I’ve manually preloaded just the saved stories list, and then treat Newsblur as effectively read-only with no offline support.

I did try IFTTT pushing to Pocket my saved stories, so that that would have them cached offline for me, but the fact it was one-way sync meant everything was listed twice and it just became a bit more faff than it was worth.  And it was clearly just a work-around for something Newsblur should do itself.

P.S. I get a few crashes.  I should file a separate bug about it, but unfortunately I’m struggling to come up with any pattern or anything particularly useful to tell you.  I only mention it here, just because crashes are that bit extra annoying if you’ve lost your manual caching of the saved list and get put back to the first screen and left with nothing to read :(.