How Apple News Works in iOS

c/o Jon S and Flickr

Are you getting the best out of Apple News? Here’s everything you need to know to help you get just that.

What is Apple News?

Apple News isn’t only a collection of hungry writers working pretty hard to develop a unique slant on each other’s headlines, it’s also an iOS app Apple’s designed to connect you to the news reports you most want to read.

Introduced in iOS 9 and much improved since, News is a news aggregation app that lets you read the things you most want to read using a clear, nicely designed layout that’s optimized for your iPhone or iPad. It also tries to figure out the news you most want, and can send you notifications of breaking news if you like. It’s fast, responsive, so fits in nicely with your morning routine. And it’s only available in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

To Improve it, Use it

Apple News monitors the stories you read and uses this knowledge to help it recommend new tales it thinks you will like, which it presents to you in the For You view. In order to improve its recommendations, the best thing to do is to use the app. You can play videos by tapping them and summon new articles by pulling down to refresh the feed.

Like and Love – the Share Button

You can share stories using the Share pane (this appears all over the app), and it’s important you try to use this button. When in a story you’ll find it to the top left of the display, beside the font button that lets you increase and decrease font size – but share has hidden powers:

For a start, you can share news items with friends, create notes, Tweet stories and so on, but the most important tools are those in the bottom row.

That’s where you’ll find the Love and Dislike buttons, which you should use as often as you can in order to improve the service.

You’ll also find a Save button, a Mute Channel button, in case you accidentally find yourself reading an evil publication such as The Sun and don’t ever want to read content from that title again, and buttons to open the story in Safari or pop it into Safari Reading List for an offline read later on.

Getting to know UI

When you launch the app you’ll see the news articles in the larger portion of the window.

At the top of the page you’ll see a News app icon, and beside this you may see your location and the temperature where you are. If you use an iPad you’ll see another icon that shows what the weather is like.

Scroll down the page for more articles. These will be split into Top Stories, Trending Stories, Editor’s Picks/Best Reads, For You recommendations, and a series of different sections depending on your choices. (Yes, those editor’s picks do depend on real editors who work at Apple curating these feeds).

At the bottom of the page you’ll find five buttons:

For You:

Stuff you are likely to be interested in. This is based on what you do, so the more you use News the more accurate it should become.

Favourites:

  • All the publications and topics you most like.
  • To get rid of a topic just tap the Edit button.
  • Tap on Favorites and you can sort these out by name, most recent article and most visited.
  • Tap the bell icon to the top left and you can see your Notifications. This will let you choose which publications/topics (Apple calls these “channels” will send you Notifications. Just toggle them off and on

Explore

You can explore all the categories Apple News provides using the Explore tab. Tap this and you can tap through to find out more about subjects that interest you. Available channels are gathered in Editors’ Picks, Recommended for you and by categories. Tap on something you like to add it to your feed.

The topic-based channels are interesting, if you tap on these you can drill down to get to the exact topic(s) within that feed that interest you. Tap Technology and keep drilling down to find all available Apple feeds, for example.

Search

You can search for topics or publications using the Search bar. You’ll also see Apple provides a selection of Trending topics here, which at time of writing is headed by the current U.S. President.

When you search for something you’ll be presented with a list, tap the + sign to add something to your feed, or, if you want more choices, tap Show More Topics or Show More Channels (in blue) to get to even more sources.

Saved

This frame will show you articles you have saved. It will also show you a History view in which you’ll be able to look back at articles you’ve read using Apple News. Swipe left on a story to share, unsave or delete it – or tap Clear at the top left.

Report a Concern

The Share pane also lets you report any concerns you may have with content – a video that doesn’t play correctly, incorrect content, offensive stories, and more. Tap Report a Concern and you will be asked to provide a reason for your complaint, will provide a few details and sent it across.

Settings

You also need to know what Settings you can configure in News. Open Setttings>News to find the following:

  • Location: This lets you control how you share location data with your app.
  • Notifications: This lets you decide how News notifications appear, if they appear and if they appear on the locks screen.
  • Background App Refresh: Toggle this on/off depending on how much battery life you wish to preserve.
  • Mobile Data: If you have an all-you-can-eat mobile data deal then you may leave this green (on). The rest of us will disable Mobile Data so we don’t use it until we need it.
  • Show Story Previews: Lets you preview stories from the web before opening them

For Publishers

Apple lets big media firms and independent bloggers submit their work through Apple News Publisher, though both bloggers and big league news sources can all submit content through News.

Publishers can customize their section, but only to a small extent: they can change logos, set the background color of the top bar, and define which sections their news appears inside.

Apple also offers publishers some way to monetize their content, with a built-in advertising platform. This provides campaign management, targeting, creative and reporting capabilities. Publishers can keep 100% of the revenue from ads they sell themselves, or 70% when Apple sells ads for them. (Those ads that do appear – and I don’t see too many – have a tendency of being quite discreet and lightweight – you won’t see your display taken over by some ugly mobile ad here).

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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