iOS 14 can automatically redirect web links to Apple News+ for premium articles


One of the best parts of the Apple News+ subscription is the inclusion of newspapers like The Wall Street Journal. For $9.99 per month, you can access almost all Wall Street Journal content, in addition to the magazines and digital publications. However, accessing those articles is a bit tricky. A new feature in iOS 14 makes it easier for people to take full advantage of their News+ subscription.

Let’s assume you have a News+ subscription and encounter a link to a WSJ story. On iOS 13 and earlier, tapping on the link would launch Safari and open the article on their website, but it would show a paywall and you wouldn’t be able to read the story. This is because the News+ subscription does not include standard web login access. To read the story, you’d have to press the Share button, then use the Open in News action.

iOS 14 has made this even simpler. There is now a new setting called ‘Open Web Links in News’. With that enabled, the system will automatically detect links to stories that are included in your News+ subscription.

When the link is tapped, the iPhone will launch the News app rather than the web browser. This removes the intermediate navigation step, and allows you to instantly see the article – rather than a website paywall.

Apple is investing into the News+ service after a muted launch last spring. iOS 13.6 beta revealed a fully-implemented — but hidden — new tab, called News+ Audio. Apple is hiring famous names and voice actors to record audio versions of stories, allowing News+ subscribers to listen to premium stories, not just read them. However, the company did not announce News+ Audio at its WWDC keynote this week. This might mean the feature won’t ship until the fall with iOS 14.

Apple is also expected to be preparing a subscription bundle of its content services (including News+, TV+ and Arcade) which will drive engagement with the News+ offering. WWDC featured significant updates for Apple Arcade, including rich game controller support, multi-user switching on Apple TV and integration of Game Center social features in the Arcade tab of the App Store.

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