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Apple News+ in iOS 14 Opens Article Web Links in Apple News, Intercepting Traffic From Websites

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Apr 12, 2001
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Apple News in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur has a toggle that's designed to open web links from Apple News+ publishers directly in Apple News, which has the effect of directing users who tap to read a news story in Safari to the Apple News app instead of to the publisher's website.


Enabled by default in the Settings app, the option to open web links in Apple News is an Apple News+ "feature," so an Apple News+ subscription is required to have the Apple News app open when a web link is tapped.

The option to open links in Apple News instead of on the web was highlighted by Tony Haile, who points out that Apple is intercepting traffic from websites and directing it to the Apple News app instead, cannibalizing a publisher's audience and drawing more users to Apple News+. Haile suggests that Apple can accelerate News+ growth by intercepting publisher traffic, with the ultimate aim of attracting more publishers to the platform with a growing subscription base.



Publishers are not likely to be appreciative of this feature, even limited to Apple News+ subscribers, because the feature is enabled by default in the iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur updates. Apple has struggled to gain new subscribers to Apple News+, while also dealing with publishers who are not happy with the service because of its low subscription rates.

There have been multiple reports suggesting publishers are unimpressed with the revenue generated from Apple News+, which has fallen below Apple's initial promises. Apple News+ attracted multiple magazine publishers from launch thanks to Apple's acquisition of magazine service Texture, but it has struggled to entice news publishers.

The New York Times and The Washington Post have refused to participate in Apple News+, as have many other news sites. The New York Times recently ended its Apple News partnership entirely and pulled all articles from the service, stating that Apple News does not "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers."

The redirecting feature appears to be limited to publishers who participate in Apple News+, so this change in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur could perhaps spur additional publishers to end their relationships with Apple News. Apple News+ readers on iOS 14 can open the News section of the Settings app to disable "Open Web Links in News" while macOS Big Sur users can get to the toggle by opening the News app and then going to the settings section.

Many Apple News+ users have been asking for a way to open up web links in Apple News+ to avoid paywalls on the web, so Apple News+ subscribers that pay for the service are likely to be appreciative of the new feature.

Article Link: Apple News+ in iOS 14 Opens Article Web Links in Apple News, Intercepting Traffic From Websites
 
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Marbles1

macrumors regular
Nov 27, 2011
158
438
What a horrid feature, especially for desktop.

The Apple News app is awful. They should have made the access to magazines front and centre, instead it's like a child's version of an rss reader only worse. It presents a poorly categorised dull mix of the same kind of news stories.

The curated stuff, when political, takes a very narrow political view too. It's quite preachy.

I got 6 months of apple news plus for free through my mobile provider, I tried really hard to like it. In the end I only use it to occasionally read a Times (UK) article, which are really hard to find as there's no proper search engine in the app.

Once the 6 months free expires, I'll be deleting the app across all my iDevices.

Subbing separately to news services, whatever mix you want, that interest you and you'll actually read seems like a better options.

Apple News+ is a solution looking for a problem.
 
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Cosmosent

macrumors 65816
Apr 20, 2016
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La Jolla, CA
This is BIG, really BIG !

A direct relationship with the customer is "the Top Priority" of Media Outlets !

AAPL is now trying to get in the way of that !

I do NOT approve of this move by AAPL !

The potential for SIGNIFICANT backlash & bad press (for AAPL) is high !

They have clearly over-stepped their bounds here !!
 
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unobtainium

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2011
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I subscribe to the New York Times because they still engage in a lot of (expensive) investigative journalism, and that’s worth paying for. They also have a clean app design and nice presentation. I’m not sure why anyone would pay Apple to gather together other people’s content and present it in a messy, ugly app.
 
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twinpeaks_sf

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2015
50
49
San Francisco, CA, USA
For me, this is a nice feature that I intend to keep on. I get access to a lot of content via Apple News+ but don't have (or want, for that matter) individual logins for each publisher. So it's really nice when I hit a paywall in Safari to have the News app open and display the article I have access to. I bet a lot of people will appreciate this. If it's not for you, the toggle is there to turn off and I don't think people without a News+ subscription need think about this at all.
 
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Marbles1

macrumors regular
Nov 27, 2011
158
438
I subscribe to the New York Times because they still engage in a lot of (expensive) investigative journalism, and that’s worth paying for. They also have a clean app design and nice presentation. I’m not sure why anyone would pay Apple to gather together other people’s content and present it in a messy, ugly app.


Exactly this- in the UK you can get the Economist through apple news, but why not just sub directly for the real deal and use their website and beautiful app. Likewise for the Financial Times or Guardian or whatever you want to read.

Even the magazines are just awkward static PDFs, so backwards compared to a neat well hyperlinked website.

They should kill it, really.

If they want to sell a content bundle based around news it needs a big rethink.
 
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PieTunes

Contributor
May 6, 2016
763
1,104
San Diego, CA
As much as I love Apple, this seems like a bit of a d*ck move. I can appreciate them putting the screws to the likes of Facebook and advertisers with their questionable tactics, but this?
 
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twinpeaks_sf

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2015
50
49
San Francisco, CA, USA
I'll add, what I like about News+ — through appreciate it's not for everyone — it that I can read a few articles from a variety of publishers. I generally don't have so much interest in one magazine to subscribe directly, but rather enjoy reading across sources by topic.
 
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dbwie

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2007
438
8
Albuquerque, NM, USA
I am an Apple News + subscriber. The *one* way I would benefit from this is that I get emails from Dwell magazine, and when I click on links in the email it takes me to their website, where I’m asked to log in as a subscriber to see the photo slideshow from the email link. I then go into Dwell on Apple News + and I cannot find those photos. If this solved that issue I would be happy, otherwise I agree this is a bad development for the publishers themselves.
 
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Idec50

macrumors member
Feb 22, 2019
75
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TX
I like Apple News+. But it is clear Apple no longer leads with innovation and out-competing. It leads with exploiting holes in anti-trust laws to quash the very news sources it delivers for a fee.
 
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nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
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What a horrid feature, especially for desktop.

The Apple News app is awful. They should have made the access to magazines front and centre, instead it's like a child's version of an rss reader only worse. It presents a poorly categorised dull mix of the same kind of news stories.
I actually think this is much overdue and much needed feature. If I am an Apple News+ subscriber, I naturally want to bypass any paywall for contents available to News+ subscribers. Opening these web pages on Apple News is therefore a desired behavior.

My personal preference is "Sign in with Apple" that would bypass the paywall, but this is the next best solution.

As for the News app itself, yeah, it is cluttered and difficult to organize. I also hesitate opening certain "gossipy" story, because I don't want News to shove similar contents (i.e., I opened 2-3 Meghan Merkel stories, and now my feed is dominated by British royal gossips).
 
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coolfactor

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2002
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Vancouver, BC
I am still trying to figure out Apple's goal with Apple News+. Do they think they can bring a better user experience? Well, I know they can! I just don't want to pay extra for it when other news apps are "free". ;) I will say that I've grown disenchanted with certain news apps displaying ads before live streams, though.
 
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Charles50

macrumors member
Feb 2, 2013
64
140
This relinkage is the CORRECT behavior. I am continually annoyed by clicking links on web stories inside News+ and then it kicks me outside to Safari, where I do NOT have a subscription to the magazine. I can't wait for this feature to work correctly, then I can follow links inside expensive subscriptions like The New Yorker, etc.
I note that only in a recent update did the Share button allow you to kick a web page directly to Safari. Before that, you had to use gadgets like Stop The News which would redirect news:// links to http://, whereupon you usually discovered the story was specially formatted for News+ and you have to search out the separate copy on the publisher's site outside News+.
Yeah this all needs better integration. Proper RSS reading would be nice.
 
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Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,080
27,662
I rarely use this app but I hate that there is no way to share the actual URL of the article. The only option is a link that opens in Apple News. Honestly Apple should give up on this. It’s clear people aren’t interested.
 
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dwaite

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2008
275
219
This is BIG, really BIG !

A direct relationship with the customer is "the Top Priority" of Media Outlets !

AAPL is now trying to get in the way of that !

I do NOT approve of this move by AAPL !

The potential for SIGNIFICANT backlash & bad press (for AAPL) is high !

They have clearly over-stepped their bounds here !!

Without this link feature: Users hit the media outlet anonymously with fractions-of-a-penny ads.

With this link feature: Users hit the media outlet through News+, which pays them based on the percentage of articles the user reads out of pot.

If the media outlet _already_ opted into having their publications in the News+ service, sacrificing a direct customer relationship for a chance at a larger pot, then why would they not want this new feature?
 
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nutmac

macrumors 601
Mar 30, 2004
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I am still trying to figure out Apple's goal with Apple News+. Do they think they can bring a better user experience? Well, I know they can! I just don't want to pay extra for it with other news apps are "free". ;) I will say that I've grown disenchanted with certain news apps displaying ads before live streams, though.
In theory, Apple News+ is a great idea. A single subscription that unlocks news and magazine paywall. I would gladly pay $9.99/month if it means I can read articles from my news and magazine sources without being subject to page full of ads and paywalls.

But it is hobbled by the monstrosity that is the News app. Bloated, messy, difficult to manage, and opinionated. The same design language that (to me) also makes TV and Music apps often unpleasant.
 
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