Matt Galligan
Sep 24, 2014 · 8 min read

Save time. Stay informed.

Introducing Circa News 3

Get it here:

Before Circa News first launched in late 2012 we had a conversation with one of our investors Scott Belsky about some inspiration for what we thought Circa could be:

“You guys are actually the President’s Daily Brief

Introducing Wire

Wire consists of two things: a personalized Daily Brief from our editorial staff, and updates to stories that you may already be following.

When you first open Wire, you’ll be immediately introduced to your Daily Brief. Our readers have repeatedly told us that they’d like to cut right to the meat of the most relevant stories to get caught up on the day’s news. This made a lot of sense to us, given our uniquely mobile approach. With our Daily Brief readers can expect on average 10–20 succinct bits of news and quickly get informed.

Your Daily Brief is dynamic, updating automatically as news rolls in. You can also choose exactly what time you want your Daily Brief delivered, and we’ll remind you when it’s time to get caught up. If you happen to catch it later in the day, regardless of what time your Daily Brief was set for, if there’s important news you can’t miss we’ll show it to you.

If you happen to follow stories, as you enter Wire you’ll be greeted with all of the updates to those you’ve decided to follow. For many of our readers, following multiple stories has meant that their “queue” of updates got backed up based on our previous designs. Thankfully, we’ve completely redesigned the experience and replaced the list of stories that have updates with a slick, simple feed-like design to stay informed without having to re-read items you’ve seen before.

Together with briefs and updates, Wire brings you the ultimate in personalization – a custom newswire built just for you.

One last thing that was not lost on us was the need to have a sense of completion when reading something. Because news is by nature endless, we felt it would be nice to have a feeling of accomplishment when you were done reading the things in your Wire. And while there are certainly more stories to read in Circa beyond Wire, we’re leaving it up to you if you’d like to dive further.


With Circa News 3, we’re finally adding search — by far the most requested feature since we launched. Looking for a story to follow? Just type in a few keywords and you’ll be able to get right there. And in an upcoming update you’ll be able to save some of your favorite keywords for quick reference.

Over time we’ll continue to expand on the features and ways that you might search, but for now it feels awesome just to be able to dig up everything that’s of interest and just hit “follow.”

Breaking news filters

Unlike other news apps, we’re incredibly picky about what news goes out as push notifications. Considering that, even then sometimes people might not think a particular news topic to be “pushworthy.” So we’re putting the power back in the hands of our readers – allowing everyone to filter out specific topics such as Sports.

We’ve learned from Circa’s fans just how much they trust us to deliver them important, breaking news. While it comes as no surprise to us that people appreciate our judiciousness with breaking alerts, it always makes us feel like a proud parent when people tell their friends about it. Here’s a couple from the last few days:

Personalize which topics you see

While we’ve written stories about Sports, Business, Entertainment, and other topics, they never appeared as categories within the app. First, we’ve added all of those topics but are also transitioning from specific categories to ways to filter out topics instead. Don’t want to see Entertainment news? Just uncheck it – it’s that simple. But because sometimes big news may happen in one of those topics, if you’ve kept “Top News” on, you’ll be sure to never miss out on the most important stories.
Later this year we’ll continue to expand our coverage – adding even more stories to categories we’ve lacked in the past, including a greater focus on sports coverage.

iOS 8 and Interactive Notifications

Follow breaking stories right from the notification without even having to open the app. If something big happens you won’t miss a beat, seeing updates in real time as new info develops. For those updates to stories you’re following that come in as notifications, you’re also able to mark those as read right from the home screen. It sounds crazy, but you can almost use Circa completely from notifications.

Note: interactive notifications also work on Circa News for Android.

Brand-new design

Nearly every part of the app has an updated design. We’ve made our story list more visual than ever, stories more immersive, and thrown in some delightful animations here and there. Typography and readability was paramount in this update so that everything is as clear as can be.

Custom maps!

We’ve also worked with the fine folks at Mapbox to create a custom map design specifically to fit the beauty of Circa News 3. We included the typefaces that we use within the app and brought greater clarity and focus to what we present on the maps.

More ways to share

Often we found that some people wanted to share just certain parts of a story, so we’ve made it easy to highlight text and share just that point – getting right down to what matters to you.
Additionally, in iOS 8 we’ve enabled the new sharing options that allow you to post to just about any app that’s also been configured for sharing in iOS 8.

Rebuilt from the ground up

Quality is an incredibly important part of Circa, so rather than just release a bunch of features we also decided to take a deep look at what was powering the app from the inside. We’ve streamlined and upgraded much of our code to make the experience smooth, fast, and reliable. This means that even on an iPhone 4S it should be running pretty nicely!

New sounds!

After enjoying our collaboration around Circa News 2, we teamed up again with Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer BT, to produce a high quality suite of sounds that would fit perfectly with our new experience. You’ll love what you hear…

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus compatibility

We were excited to see Apple launching new phones and took our time ensuring that Circa News could take full advantage of the new screen real estate.

Sign in with Twitter

We’re introducing Twitter as a sign in option beyond just email and Facebook.

In closing…

Late last fall we introduced Circa News 2, which at the time was a big step forward from our original product. Our efforts were recognized by even the toughest critics, including a “Best App of 2013" by both Apple and Google. But before that recognition arrived, we were already at work on the next big thing…

We took a hard look at everything in the app – every feature, every pixel, animation, realizing that we could do so much more. So, it’s with great excitement that today we release Circa News 3 for iOS and Android – our biggest, most ambitious launch in Circa’s history.

Get it here for iOS and Android:

In some ways, this is a new beginning for our team. There’s almost nothing left from old code and design! But it really is just the next step for us to become the news app that everyone relies on and trusts. Now, give it a shot and let us know what you think!

Fun fact: before today’s launch, Circa West (our San Francisco office) headed to Anchor Brewing for a tour of their incredible facility.
While we wish that the whole Circa team could have made it, we’d like to believe that everyone was there in spirit.
Circa East (NYC) and Ben Huh represent!
The team, all dialing in for launch game-plan!


Big props to the whole Circa team for the Herculean effort that was this release.

Our amazing beta testers for the incredible amount of valuable feedback.

The incredible group of investors we have at Circa – without them none of this would have been possible.

for their work on our iOS app.
Mapbox for our swanky new maps.
BT for our slick new sounds.
Ryan Gomba & Derek Smith for their critical help.

And to everyone else who has helped us out along the way that we haven’t named here: while we may not be able to name every single one of you, we are forever grateful for your contributions.


Dedicated to the writings of the Circa team.


Dedicated to the writings of the Circa team.

Matt Galligan

Written by

Dad, Midwesterner, product designer, coffee snob, craft beer lover, GIF enthusiast.


Dedicated to the writings of the Circa team.