How to subscribe to RSS feeds in Safari 8

NewSafariIconXIf you have been a fan of using RSS feeds for keeping updated on the happenings of your favorite Web sites, then you will be happy to know that Apple has added RSS feed support back to Safari. In the past, when browsing a Web site with an RSS feed you would see an indication of this support in Safari’s address bar, and then could click it to view the RSS feed and subscribe to it; however, this was removed in subsequent versions up to version 8, where Apple has brought this feature back.

When you create a social media account, in essence you get your own Web page, where adding or changing content is broadcast to anyone who is following you. While this has been made simple by Facebook, Twitter, and others, the core of this concept has been around for quite some time in the form of RSS feeds. Unlike social media, you cannot quickly share, like, reply, and comment on an RSS feed, and as a result of the adoption of social media by news sites and others, RSS feeds have been somewhat pushed to the back burner, to the extent that Google has shut down its Reader app, and Apple stopped supporting them in Safari.

While it seemed the alternatives to RSS were going to push it out of existence, its simplicity and relatively universal implementation have kept it around, so with an RSS reader you can still subscribe to most of your favorite sites, and simply visit the reader to get an overview of your news. The problem with this mainly lies in what programs support RSS feeds. While there are some long-standing readers like NetNewsWire that are still available, another that has made its return is Apple’s support for RSS in Safari 8.

Now when you visit a site which has an RSS feed, like MacIssues, you can subscribe to it and then see it in Safari’s sidebar. With this new implementation Apple has made subscribing to an RSS feed doable in two ways:

  1. Click the Share button in the toolbar, and then select Add Website To Shared Links.
  2. Click “Subscriptions” at the bottom of the sidebar, then click “Add Feed” to select a site (the current one, or one from your “favorites”).

With your site added, the RSS feed updates will show in the Shared Links section of the sidebar next to all other subscriptions you have in your associated social media accounts. Now when you click on a one of the RSS feed stories, Safari will load this in the current browser window.

RSS feed subscription in Safari

You can use this toolbar button to add sites with RSS feeds to your shared links, and then view them next to your various social media updates in Safari’s sidebar.

4 thoughts on “How to subscribe to RSS feeds in Safari 8

  1. Scott Bayes

    Thanks for this tip, Topher!

    It’s unfortunate that it now provides a sidebar interface to the feeds list–which I seldom use as it eats space–rather than the old page-based by-site interface, since I seldom use the sidebar (space-eating $#@$^*), and prefer by-site organization. Now I have to open the sidebar and scroll down the list to see the Ars Technica feed articles, interspersed with MacWorld, AppleInsider, and yes MacIssues! articles. When I’m thinking Ars Technica thoughts, I’m not looking for DED yellow journalism on AppleInsider!

    Has anyone found a way to restore the old page-based, by-site style of feed display to the new version?

    Anyway, this is far better than nuthin! Thanks!

  2. Scott Bayes

    Well, nice while it lasted. Leaving Safari on a couple of RSS-linked Ars article pages for 3-4 hours, when I came back home, I found Safari using 100%-250% of my Mini’s little Core i5 CPU (late 2012, 10GBB/500GB), and system response awful: 5 seconds or more to pull down any menu, etc. Activity Monitor showed many http:// web processes firing up and quitting or going quiescent per second, and iStat menus also pointed the finger at Safari. Unsubscribing the feeds didn’t restore sanity. It took restarting Safari after unsubscribing to get my computer back.

    Submitted a bug report at Apple Feedback site.

  3. castelbuono

    Too bad Apple didn’t go back to its original way of showing RSS. Crazy it was ever removed from Safari.

    This current implementation is absolutely abysmal. Searching for feeds via a side-bar is not only time consuming, but it makes worthless the basic purpose of RSS…i.e. easily seeing all posts from a particular site in a specific, dated lists. Apple you can do so much better! 🙁

    I have been using NetNewsWire 3. Warning version 4 is another poor implementation of the RSS concept.

Comments are closed.