Apple iOS update redirects users to News+ app

Anne Freier | August 14, 2020

App Business

Apple has angered some users by reportedly redirecting their requests to launch a news page to its Apple News app instead of the requested publisher’s web page.

CEO of Scroll, Tony Haile, posted tweets earlier this week which show how a mobile user clicking on an article by the Atlantic in Google search results was redirected to the Apple News app rather than the Atlantic website.

The changes are part of Apple’s recent update to its mobile operating system – iOS.

The redirection to the dedicated News+ app will be set as a default when users upgrade, but can be switched off.

According to Digiday, various publishers were outraged by the changes and said they had not been informed of them either. Some called them “illegal” and “unethical”.

Upon request, Apple provided the following comment:

“This change offers subscribers seamless access to the content that is part of their News+ subscription right in the News app or publisher app, as well as providing publishers with increased engagement and revenue opportunities on Apple News.”

When a user subscribes to Apple News+, 50% of the revenue is being distributed to publishers based on dwell time on a particular content piece.

However, publishers have argued that this potentially stifles their own subscriptions.

Digiday previously reported that nine months after News+ launched, publishers were left feeling unimpressed with little change to their revenues.

Meanwhile, Apple is trying to boost engagement on News+ by rolling out audio versions of stories.

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