The Substack app is a new way to view newsletters straight from your iOS device. It’s an innovative app that allows you to keep and read all of your newsletters in the same place. I host my newsletter on Substack and using the app has driven a lot of new readers and subscribers to my email list.
After the Substack app was created, I started averaging 100 new newsletter subscribers each week.
But the app has limitations. While it’s great at driving new subscribers and is a fairly new kind of way to read newsletters, I wish it could do a little more.
Here’s my quick list of things you can and can’t do on the Substack app (so far).
Things you can do on the Substack app
These are all the things you can do on the Substack iOS app as of May 2022.
Read all your favorite newsletters
The best part of the new Substack app for readers is their newsletter subscriptions will all transfer over once they sign in. Readers can read, comment on and like all of their favorite newsletters in the app.
Instead of receiving new updates straight to your inbox, you can opt to receive push alerts on the app instead. This will keep your inbox clean of clutter and will still remind you when your favorite newsletters send out new messages.
Find new newsletters
The new Substack app makes it easy for readers to find new email lists in niches they enjoy. It’s because the Substack Network is kind of like a changing algorithm that can suggest new newsletters based on your reading history. Readers can also search by topic within the app and find new newsletters they enjoy that way.
For writers, this new newsletter discovery is the best feature of the new app. It’s how I’ve found so many new readers for my email list in such a short period of time.
As you can see in the screenshot from my profile above, the majority of my new subscribers in April 2022 came from the Substack Network. Sure, the app is only 1% but the network was rolled out alongside the app around the same time. I like to think of both as the same thing.
Group all your subscriptions in one place
The new Substack app allows you to have your own library of newsletters you’re subscribed to. This makes it easy to view all your subscriptions in the same place and move effortlessly from one to the next.
I like having all of my subscriptions in one place because it makes it easier to see who and what I’m following.
Things you can’t do on the Substack app
These are all the things you can not do on the Substack iOS app as of May 2022.
Write and edit your own newsletters
This is a big one that I didn’t like. No writing or editing of your newsletter is allowed on the app, yet. Writers can not make changes to their posts or even create and publish posts from their phones on the Substack app as of now.
I feel like this one really doesn’t make sense to me because bloggers and freelance writers are always moving from one project to the next. Many don’t work from their own homes and enjoy the luxury of completing work on the go. An app that matched that kind of lifestyle would really come in handy for the newsletter writer who’s working from a hotel room or airport.
See analytics for your own newsletters
Another step forward for the Substack app would be accessing analytics to our newsletters. Writers can’t see analytics in the Substack app as of now.
I want to see who’s subscribed since my last email. I want to see the number of subscribers I have and how my last messages did. It would be so much better for me if I could view and track the analytics of how my email lists are growing.
Updates we hopefully see in the future on the Substack iOS app
In general, the app is a pretty seamless integration if you were already using substack to write or read newsletters. It’s smooth, easy to use and straightforward.
However, I hope some future updates start to benefit us writers with a little more control of our own newsletters. At the very least, I’d enjoy being able to see the analytics to my newsletters.
It would also be great to write and edit my own newsletters from the Substack app. As of right now, you can’t write or edit anything in the app and forces you to create and send communications from a computer.
Another feature I’d personally enjoy would be importing new emails to my email list straight from my phone. Imagine a world where I could import new email addresses to my list, use a template I’ve saved to my account to create an email and send it out to all my subscribers, all in the app? Substack’s app is still new so it’s something we could see in the future with more updates!
Substack and Medium both could have more desirable apps, but are great for new writers.