Pocket is a popular “read later” app. People generally recommend it, and I haven’t heard many complains about it. But in my experience, Pocket fails, and does it in the worst possible way.

Pocket repeatedly omits portions of pages. Here are a few examples from my queue — try adding them to your Pocket to verify the problem:

  1. This link: 11 images omitted.
  2. This link: The last paragraph and all images omitted.
  3. This link: First 50% of the article omitted.

Of course, parsing pages and extracting information isn’t an easy task, and occasional hiccups are to be expected. The only reason I’m bringing this up is that, at least in my case, a significant amount of links end up problematic. Instapaper, a popular alternative to Pocket, doesn’t have these issues on such scale.

The worst part of this is that you might not even notice something is missing, but end up thinking the article had a weird start (you missed the intro paragraph), or ends abruptly, or could use some images. Pocket delivers a poorly retold story.

Pocket also fails (non silently, that is) to process seemingly simple pages. For example, it couldn’t pocket-ify this page about Structured Procrastination. Yes, there are HTML validation errors, but both Instapaper and Safari’s Reader mode render the simplified version perfectly fine.

This isn’t new: I’ve been coming back to Pocket roughly every year in the past 10 years, and it’s always like that. It’s owned my Mozilla now, and even has a paid plan, yet Pocket fails at its main task.

I recommend to avoid Pocket.