‘Power Moves’ and ‘Hijackings’

Owen Williams writes on OneZero: Apple’s Latest Power Move Steals Web Traffic From Publishers

A change discovered in iOS 14 and macOS 11 betas this week suggests that Apple is hoping to quietly hijack and redirect users into its paid Apple News+ service

From various comments I’ve heard of Apple News+, one of the most frustrating aspects of the service is that even after subscribing, when you click a link on the web that’s behind a paywall, but is from a publisher you have access to as part of your Apple News+ subscription, you are still locked out from reading it. The only way to read the article that you’ve paid to access is to search for it within the Apple News app. I’m pretty sure Apple are simply addressing this flaw in the design and common user complaint. If you don’t pay for Apple News, and haven’t started a free trial, this won’t effect you.

So no grand plan, no ‘power move’, and certainly no attempt to ‘hijack’.

That said, I think iOS should have an option to stop all web (http) links launching apps altogether – not just Apple News. I’ve uninstalled apps such as The Guardian because I was fed up of web links opening in the app. Apple already has an elegant way to show you that an app you have installed can be used instead of the web – “Smart App Banners”. One extra tap isn’t really a big deal and would’ve caused less uproar in the case of Apple News+.

iOS Smart App Banner
Smart App Banners prompt users to install or open a website’s app, and once the app is launched, users are shown the same context within the app.