Viewing Reading List articles offline
I have set Safari on my iPad to save web pages for offline viewing, but I almost always can’t view Readling List articles when not connected to Wi-Fi. Is this a bug? Yes, and it has been alleviated — though not entirely fixed — since iOS 11.2.5. You can help Safari cope better by manually saving pages to its Reading List, rather than relying on it doing so automatically. In Settings > Safari, turn off Automatically Save Offline. After doing that, when you want to make sure a page is available for offline viewing, first save it to Reading List, then open the list, swipe left on that item and then tap Save Offline.
When Safari makes a page available for offline reading, it saves the page and linked content to a cache. The tricky decision for any service of this nature is how deep to follow those links. Currently, browsers for iOS go shallow, and at best will only save that page and its linked content, such as its style sheet and images.
Firefox’s similar feature doesn’t appear to cache any content at present, and so fails to load pages from its reading list when the iOS device is in Airplane mode.
Some of the more specialist apps, such as Offline Pages ( codiumlabs. com/ios/offline-pages/), including its pro version, do rather better than Safari, but they still don’t go any further than one link deep.
If you want more reliable offline reading, you’d be better off using Offline Pages, or updating iOS and adding important pages manually to Safari’s Reading List. Even then, you’ll trip over its limitations at times.
Although Offline Pages caches content linked directly to a page, it doesn’t go any deeper, and can still fail to load.