Monotony is a very simple feed reader. It does exactly one job: You subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds, Monotony checks for new feed entries regularly. New entries are displayed on the desktop as notifications, featuring the headline and a summary (if there’s one). To read a new feed entry in your default web browser, just click on the notification.

OS X 10.9 required. Monotony uses either Growl or the OS X built-in Notification Center.
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  • Monotony is a simple backend to bring your favourite RSS and Atom news feeds to your desktop. It doesn’t have a frontend but presents new feed entries by showing tiny little desktop notifications.
  • There is nothing else. No Google Reader sync, no frontend, no possibility to customize it. Monotony runs as a menubar app or, if you choose, invisible in the background. That’s all.
  • Monotony has been designed to blend with Growl, the desktop notification system, and with the OS X Notification Center.
  • Subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds by entering a feed URL or a website URL. In the latter case, Monotony will look for feeds on that website. If there are several feeds available, Monotony will present them to you for selection.
  • Monotony will refresh subscribed feeds every few minutes (depending on the number of subscribed feeds), presenting all new entries by showing desktop notifications. Monotony will not record or show any new feed entries if it isn’t running at that time, or if the computer is asleep.


Monotony using Notification Center
Monotony using Growl

Release Notes

Monotony 1.5 (October 2014)

New: Monotony has now Retina icons.

Fixed: OS X 10.10 dark mode bug was fixed.

Monotony 1.4.3 (February 2014)

Fixed: Bug when subscribing to an empty feed.

Monotony 1.4.1 (February 2014)

New: Feed URLs OPML import and export; Context Menu for feeds with option to copy feed URL to the pasteboard.

Changed: Monotony now requires OS X 10.9; Monotony now displays a longer excerpt of feed entries in notifications; Monotony now uses the Growl 2.0.1 SDK.

Fixed: Bug when using the feed: URL Scheme to subscribe to a feed with Monotony; bug appearing during subscription when feed URL has trailing slash; bug when subscribing to malformed feeds; bug showing main window when launching Monotony at login; drawing bug in custom table view element.

Monotony 1.3.5 (January 2013)

Fixed: Issues of some feed entries not being displayed and of older feed entries being redisplayed due to malformed feeds.

Monotony 1.3 (December 2012)

New: Option to use Monotony with Growl when running on OS X 10.8.

Changed: More detailed error descriptions.

Fixed: Issue of clicking on notifications sometimes having no effect due to missing links.

Monotony 1.2 (November 2012)

Changed: Monotony now refreshes feeds not every 60 seconds, but dynamically and depending on the number of subscribed feeds (but at least every five minutes); Monotony no longer uses the PubSub framework.

Fixed: Performance improvements; Fix for issue of Monotony sometimes not showing new feed entries; Fix for issue of 100 % CPU load; Fix for issue of too much memory allocation; Fix for issue of disappearing subscriptions; Main window not longer shown when clicking on notifications while the default web browser is not already running.

Monotony 1.1 (August 2012)

New: Added support for OS X 10.8 notifications; Monotony now registers as feed URL handler with OS X.

Fixed: Performance improvements; Issue of Monotony not being able to subscribe to specific feed URLs; Feed and feed icon recognition improved for feeds powered by Feedsportal and Feedburner; Improved feed selection dialog when subscribing to a site offering several feeds; Issue of main window showing on launch at login when running on OS X 10.8; Issue of notifications showing over and over again for specific feeds; Issue of Monotony showing too many feed entries after wake up from sleep; Issue of Growl notifications being displayed for a too short period of time.

Monotony 1.0.1 (July 2012)

Fixed: Issues related to detection and display of feed icons.

Monotony 1.0 (June 2012)

Initial release.


How often will Monotony refresh my feeds?

This depends on the number of feeds you’re subscribed to. If you are subscribe to a small number of feeds (let’s say, below 20), Monotony will refresh them every minute. If the number of subscribed feeds is higher than that, refreshes will take place in slightly larger intervals. Every feed will be refreshed at least every five minutes, though.

I subscribed to a feed but nothing happens. Is something broken?

Probably not. After subscribing to a new feed, Monotony will show you a notification with a subscription confirmation. After that, Monotony will only show content of the feed if the feed has been updated since subscription. So if nothing happens, the feed just hasn’t been updated yet.

Will I be able to access past feed entries through Monotony?

No, Monotony will only show new feed entries arriving while Monotony is running (and your computer is awake), and will show each entry only once. You will be able, however, to access older feed entries by opening Growl’s history pane (when using Monotony with Growl), or by opening the Notification Center, depending on your configuration of those.

Monotony is showing too many feed entries at once. What can I do?

Basically, not much. Monotony is not a full-featured feed reader and will just display new feed entries as they arrive. If you subscribe to high-volume feeds (like the Stack Overflow feed) with several dozen new entries per minute or to several hundred feeds, notifications are pushed to its limits. You may try, however, to make the notifications sticky in order not to miss anything.

Why does Monotony sometimes show numerous new entries of a feed at the same time?

This is probably intended behaviour: Feed publishers will sometimes add a bunch of new entries to their feeds at the same time. Monotony presents all newly added entries at the time they’ve actually been added to the feed.

Will I miss feed entries when using Monotony?

This may happen. Monotony will not show feed entries when it wasn’t running at the time the entries were published, or when the computer was at sleep at that time.

When I click on a notification, nothing happens. What's wrong?

There are two possible reasons for such a behaviour: This situation will occur if Monotony is not running when you click on the notification, so please make sure that Monotony runs and everything should work. Another possible reason is that sometimes a feed entry won’t contain a link to a website - in such a situation Monotony can’t point you to a website and clicks will be ignored.

Why do I get an error message if I try to subscribe to a specific feed?

Good question. I’ve tested Monotony with quite a lot of RSS and Atom feeds and subscribing to a feed will work if the feed adheres to standard feed syndication formats. However, sometimes feeds don’t do this, and this may cause problems. Please let me know which feed is affected and I’ll have a look.

Can I use Monotony with Growl notifications?

Yes, you can. Support for this feature has been added in Monotony 1.3.

Can I use Monotony to subscribe to protected feeds?

Not at the moment, but support for this feature will be added in Monotony 2.