Apple’s Upcoming iOS 14 Will Automatically Redirect Users to Apple News When They’ll Click on Links from News+ Publishers

Apple’s upcoming operating system, iOS 14 is still in beta, and will automatically redirect the subscribers of Apple News+ to the News application when they will click on stories from publishers enrolled in News+. This setting in enabled by default in macOS Big Sur, iPadOS 14, and iOS 14. In other words, when you tap on a link to a paywalled story published by news sites enrolled in Apple News+, you will be redirected to the article page in the Apple News+ application even if the link ostensibly points to the website of the publisher.

The new feature was first spotted by Tony Haile, founder of Scroll, the ad-free subscription news service. On Monday, Haile wrote in a tweet that the new operating systems of Apple are ‘intercepting traffic’ from publisher sites. He stated that the new iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are intercepting traffic from publisher websites by default and sending the traffic to Apple News.

This experience should be familiar to users of the NY Times applications who, when they tap on a web link, are taken to the article page in the New York Times application. Although Apple News+ subscribers get access to paywalled stories from publishers such as The Wall Street Journal, and The NY Times, they can only access the stories via the Apple News application- not the websites of the publishers. It appears that the functionality will make the Apple News app more user-friendly.

Apple said in a statement that this change offers News+ subscribers seamless access to the content that is part of their subscription right in the Apple News application or publisher application. It also provides publishers better engagement as well as revenue opportunities on the Apple News app. The functionality only applies to News+ subscribers and they can also disable the ‘Open Web Links in News’ feature in Apple News settings on macOS as well as iOS.

However, publishers may not be happy about this functionality, even if users can turn off this feature. The functionality bypass any ad revenue publishers make on their website, and it also makes those readers invisible to most web analytics tools. Several prominent news organizations have refused to participate in News+, and recently, The NY Times left Apple News because Apple News did not align with The NY Times’ strategy of building direct relations with paying users. You may also note that Apple has reportedly struggled to attract new Apple News+ subscribers, and publishers have been disappointed with the lack of revenue.

Read next: Apple Introduces A New Way To Make SMS Passcodes More Secure In iOS 14

Photo: Hadrian (Shutterstock)
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