iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur redirecting web links to Apple News app
iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur will “intercept traffic” heading to the websites of Apple News+ publishers by automatically redirecting users to the Apple News app on iPhone, iPad and Mac, reports TechCrunch.
Spotted by Tony Haile of news service Scroll, Apple is bypassing publisher websites by funnelling users who had intended to read a story online to instead read it on the Apple News platform instead.
The redirecting feature is only activated when a user has a paid Apple News+ subscription, as the $9.99 membership to paywalled stories from publishers like The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal are only valid through the News app, not on individual publisher websites.
In theory by “intercepting traffic,” Apple is able to offer a better experience for Apple News+ subscribers, as they are able to tap on a paywalled link they’ve seen online and instantly get access to the story, however on the opposite side from a publisher’s point of view, the “Open Web Links in News” feature can be seen as a threat as it reduces visitors to sites, therefor lowering ad revenue and the chances of a user signing up directly to that publishers subscription service.
In a statement to TechCrunch, an Apple spokesperson said “This change offers subscribers seamless access to the content that is part of their News+ subscription,” and that users can disable automatic redirects in the News settings.
Apple is committed to creating the best experience for Apple News+ subscribers. 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. News+ subscribers can set their link preference in their News settings.
Apple is offering another free trial of Apple News+ to some former subscribers of the service who have since canceled their paying subscriptions, in an effort to boost adoption of its newly launched Apple News+ Audio stories.