Found a link on your iPhone or iPad to a long, enticing web article that you don’t have time to read right now? Or maybe you do have time, but not the cellular signal.

Well, there’s a better way to save web links for later than, say, simply pasting them into your iPhone’s (or iPad’s) Notes app.

The trick: using Apple’s “Reading List” feature, which saves links from Mail, Safari, and other iPhone apps and (once you’ve got a data connection again) downloads full web pages to your iOS device’s memory.

Prefer using a third-party “read it later” app like Instapaper ($3.99) or Pocket (free)? We’ll cover them, too.

Let’s get started…

Reading List on iPhone

You can access saved web links from the Reading List in your iPhone’s or iPad’s Safari bookmarks.

Using Reading List

  • So, you just found a web link you wanted to open on your iPhone or iPad, but there’s no cell connection—or you’re just short on time. First, tap and hold the link you want to open.
  • A series of buttons will slide (or pop up, on the iPad) into view: “Open,” “Add to Reading List,” and “Copy.” Tap “Add to Reading List”—and yes, this option will work even if your iOS device doesn’t have a data connection.
  • Once you’ve got time or a cell connection again, open Safari, tap the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen, then tap Reading List. (You may have to tap the Back button at the top of the screen a few times to get to the main Bookmarks directory; Reading List sits at the top.)
  • Now you’ll see the list of links saved in your Reading List, and the link you just saved should be at the top of the list—and if you were offline when you saved the link, your iPhone/iPad will save the page to your handset’s memory once it gets a data connection back.
Copy web link to Instapaper

You can save links to reading apps like Instapaper and Pocket even if your iPhone/iPad doesn’t have a data connection.

Using Instapaper or Pocket

  • Once again, tap and hold the link you want to save—but this time, tap the “Copy” button instead of “Reading List.”
  • Next, open the app with which you’d like to save your link—either Instapaper or Pocket. When you do, a prompt will ask if you’d like to add the copied URL to the app’s list of saved links. Tap OK (or “Read Later,” in the case of Instapaper).
  • Trying to save a link without a data connection? No problem. When you’re back in cellular or Wi-Fi range, open the app again, and app will automatically download the web page for the link you saved.

Looking for more iPhone tips? Click here, or click here for help with your iPad.