GoodLinks is an application that will allow you to capture links effortlessly so you can read them later from your favorite device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac) in a much more comfortable and cleaner interface.
That is to say, it’s a “read it later” type application, like Pocket or Instapaper.
GoodLinks, price and availability
GoodLinks is a universal application.
That is, it is available for Mac, iPhone & iPad, and you will get the application for all these platforms through a single payment.
This single payment is very economical, as it’s just a one-time payment of $4.99.
It’s also compatible with Family Sharing, which makes it even more appealing.
How GoodLinks works
GoodLinks is very simple, you just have to capture those links that interest you (with the different methods and tools offered by the application), and read them in the future through its neat interface.
As happens with the OmniFocus workflow, there is an “intermediate step” for organizing those links, but you can do that either during the capture itself or before/after reading.
Personally, I like to capture as quickly as possible to avoid distractions, so I recommend you to do this step before/after reading, or at some specific point in time intended for this purpose.
After all, if you are using the application to capture “things to read later”, it’s not worth spending time organizing something that you may not want to keep in the future.
In GoodLinks you capture URLs.
Those URLs will show their content once you are in the app, but the link is the item you should look for when trying to save something that interests you.
Capture with the browser extension
On Mac you will do this mostly through the Safari extension, included with the application itself.
You’ll have to activate it from Safari Settings > Extensions > Save to GoodLinks.
As you can see, a small window will appear where you will see the URL you are capturing, and it will allow you to add as well:
- Tags (separated by spaces, not the classic commas). For me, this is the part of the organizational process that I recommend doing a posteriori, although if you have it clear, you can add here as many tags as you want to find more quickly what you need later.
- Title: by default the title of the page is loaded, but unlike the URL (which is invariable), you can modify it, again to find the content more easily later.
- Summary: this small text is also loaded by default. You will see it in the application interface, so again you can also modify it to something more convenient for you.
- Mark as Read: by default the links captured in GoodLinks are captured as “unread”, but as you will see later, this application is not only useful for articles to read later but also to capture links of articles you have already read and simply want to keep (in this case, it makes more sense to perform the organization step during the capture).
- Mark as Starred: a classic organizational tool, if you want to mark an article as a favorite in the capture step, you can do so.
A very neat detail of GoodLinks, is that if you make a mistake during the capture, you can edit the information you just added quickly without having to go to the application, which is very handy.
The extension is also available in the Chrome Store, and therefore you can also install it in Brave.
If you don’t use Safari, you can still enjoy GoodLinks.
Capture with services
Thanks to the extension, an option to send the content to GoodLinks will appear in the context menu of the browser when you right-click on a link.
This is a very practical way of sending links to the app, as you won’t have to open the URL (and thus, get potentially distracted)
Capture with the share sheet
GoodLinks is not limited to be used just in browsers.
If you find a link in any other application, like in your Mail app, you can share the link thanks to the extension of the share sheet.
Like I do in Airmail in the following image:
But you’ll use this feature much more on iOS though.
If you don’t want to see the additional window asking you for tags, description, and other metadata, you can then enable “quick save“.
By doing so, every time you use the extension, the link will be captured automatically, making the capture step easier, which is really useful on devices like the iPhone.
You will find this feature under Settings > Share Extension > Quick Save.
- Note: Quick Save is also available in the Safari extension, right-click on the extension icon to enter the preferences and activate it.
Capture with Shortcuts
Once you have installed the application on your Mac, you will find its shortcuts in the Shortcuts app.
Not all of them are useful for capturing links, in fact, there is only one available for that purpose, the one called “Add Link”, but with it, you can create dozens of shortcuts to suit your needs.
Classic and not so classic methods
Of course, it’s also possible to just open the application and add a link manually from the main interface, but this is something that you will probably never use, since the most common situation is to discover new links you want to read while browsing.
If you are on an iPad, you should know that adding links by dragging and dropping is also possible.
The same is true on Mac, where you could use for example a bridge application like Yoink for this purpose.
Extras – Imports & Paywalls
The following two features of GoodLinks are not input methods, but they will help you out sending content to the app.
- Import: if you are migrating from another Read It Later service, GoodLinks allows you to easily import the content from them, so you don’t have to start collecting links from scratch. You can do this with Pocket, Instapaper, Pinboard, and Raindrop.
- Login to sites – Capture links behind paywalls: if you are subscribed to a newspaper, for example, you can log in to it through GoodLinks, so that you will be able to save the protected content on the web without any problems. You will find these options in the settings of the iOS version.
As you have seen, GoodLinks has a multitude of options when it comes to capturing links.
Once you have the content in the application, it’s time to enjoy it thanks to all the customization options you will find on it.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when using this kind of apps/services, is to know where your content is stored.
GoodLinks stores and synchronizes your content through iCloud, so to use the app you don’t need to create an account or sign up.
When you capture links, the app extracts the text of the article and removes ads and other similar elements, so you will have a very neat reading experience, as you will see in the following image, you can also activate a compact mode so that your other articles do not bother you.
And as you have extracted the text from the article, you can play with it to change the font size, line spacing, content width, or even the font.
On both iOS and macOS, you can define the appearance of GoodLinks, either to follow the system appearance or to force a permanent dark mode if you like this style more.
At the time of writing this review at least, on iOS you will find much more customization.
In addition to dark mode, you can also activate a night mode (slightly different from the dark), and even a sepia mode.
You can automate the theme change depending on the system, the brightness level of the screen, or switch between the last 2 themes used by swiping down with two fingers inside the reader.
The reading experience is fantastic.
And as for customization, you will be able to tweak some extra settings such as:
- Change the color and icon of the iOS app.
- Show or not thumbnails of images in the article list
- Show or not the favicons of the captured URLs
- Or decide how many title and summary lines you want to see, among other things.
On both macOS and iOS, you have available Widgets of various sizes that will show you the articles stored in GoodLinks.
It is not a functionality that I consider very practical, but if you need it, it is a detail that the developer has included them.
You already saw in the capture section how the organization works in GoodLinks, but as a summary, remember that an article can be:
- Read / Unread
- Starred or not
- Tagged or untagged
All these “statuses” can be quickly accessed from the sidebar on your Mac or iPad, and in the corresponding menu on your iPhone.
And if you want to search for something specific, you also have an integrated search engine, which will make your life much easier at any given time.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the guide, you can apply this “metadata” when you capture the articles, but it’s more practical to do it later, when you have already read the article and you can mark it as a favorite, as unread if you want to read it again, etc.
You can do this very easily using Swipes, as you can quickly decide what to do with each article.
In addition, the application allows you to configure these swipes so that you can add the ones you use the most in the gestures that are most convenient for you.
These actions are not limited to organizing the article (mark it as read, put it as a favorite, delete it…) but can go further.
GoodLinks allows you for example to export the article, copy it, print it, download it again, share it, open it in the browser…
You can even create your own actions thanks to the custom actions section and URL Scheme.
For example, you could quickly send an article you’ve read to your OmniFocus Inbox with the action: omnifocus:///add?name=[url]
This example may not make a lot of sense, but it will give you an idea of the application’s potential, which, remember, is much greater thanks to Shortcut actions.
GoodLinks, final thoughts
GoodLinks is an application made with love, you can feel that.
It’s true that it doesn’t have some advanced features (such as highlighting articles or “text-to-speech” capabilities), but I would say that for the average user, it’s more than enough.
The advantage of using iCloud for synchronization, I think is at the same time its great weakness, as it limits it to create worfklows with third-party applications or services through, for example, Zapier.
This is partly compensated by the Shortcuts actions that will allow you to speed up your workflows, but keep in mind that you will not be able to have anything 100% on autopilot.
The iOS app is much more powerful than the Mac version (where I miss for example an extension with PopClip), but as far as I have researched, this is only because the developer releases the new features on iOS first, to gradually bring them to the desktop version.
Although there are free alternatives, if you are looking for an inexpensive and simple read-it-later solution to start working with it in less than 10 min, GoodLinks is your best choice.
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