After spending a few weeks using Reading List as my read-later service, I’ve gone back to Pocket. There are two reasons.
Reading List doesn’t feel ready for prime time. Tapping an article in the list is supposed to 1) display the article, and 2) remove the article from your reading list. Number 1 works consistently; number 2 fails (not consistently, but frequently).
When you insert a link into your reading list from 3rd-party apps like Tweetbot, the URL is displayed as the title of the article. Figuring out which article is which involves looking at the URL, reading the preview text, and looking at the attached image (if there is one). It’s a pain.
Loading an article via Reading List simply opens the page in a Safari window. By default, you see the raw page as it was built by its publisher. This often means that you’re bombarded with ads. Not just the typical side-rail ads or stuff that appears in the header. Big square boxes that sit in the middle of the screen and block almost all of the content. Full-screen interstitials trying to force you to download the publisher’s iOS app. Ads that kick you to the App Store and load a specific app’s page without your permission. It’s awful. Pocket protects me from that.
Trying Reading List was a nice experiment, but like so many features built into Apple software, it’s a half-hearted and buggy after-thought that looks good on a keynote slide. And given the current state of the web, loading a page without stripping the unnecessary cruft doesn’t provide a good reading experience, which isn’t Reading List’s fault, but it’s a feature I can’t be without.