There are several options available for those looking to muck about on Wikipedia on mobile, including paid and free third-party apps with various features. The Wikimedia Foundation has had its own official app since 2009, but it had been rating fairly poorly compared to, say, Wikipanion or Das Referenz. Today, the Foundation has unveiled an all-new, redesigned official Wikipedia app, with a focus on speed — addressing the biggest complaint users had about the old app.
There are some pretty great Wikipedia apps out there already (my favorite is Das Referenz, an iPad app which turns Wikipedia pages into what looks like 17th century book entries), but Wikipedia has just made a gambit to be best of the bunch with a major redesign of its own iOS app. Version 4.0 of Wikipedia Mobile sports a total overhaul of the app’s design, with a complete native rewrite that makes searching for information a faster and more enjoyable experience. There’s now an added contents sidebar, which lets users navigate around articles quickly and easily, while would-be editors can now edit Wikipedia from inside the app for the first time ever. There’s also the ability to select and save pages for offline reading — letting you browse them even when you don’t have an Internet connection. Finally the app makers boast of the app’s localization and internationalisation support, which allows seamless transitions to reading Wikipedia written in another language. Despite lacking some of the graphical flourishes of an app like Das Referenz, Wikipedia’s official iOS app is completely ad free. “We’re a nonprofit, so we’re not in the business of making money from the app,” the developers tell Cult of Mac. “This enables us to focus on creating a great distraction-free reading experience, staying true to the values that govern Wikipedia, like user privacy.”