Prevent Apple News + From Hijacking IOS or MacOS

Even if you haven’t played with iOS 14 or macOS Big Sur yet, there is one setting you want to know if you are an Apple News + subscriber. This is because, starting with iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, news web links you click or click will display the specified articles in Apple News + and not on the publisher’s site.

This “feature” only applies to publishers participating in Apple News +, but it’s a bit of a nasty takeover from the Apple app. While it is not uncommon for various websites to redirect links to their apps whenever possible, or at least ask you if you want to run the linked app instead of the web content you are trying to access, Apple’s implementation in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur will send you directly to the News app. And as far as I can tell, this behavior is enabled by default.

To turn it off in iOS 14 – since you’d rather keep visiting the publisher’s website than launching the same content in the Apple app – you’ll need to visit Settings> News. There, find the option “Open web links in the news” and turn it off:

And if you don’t want to deal with the same mode in macOS Big Sur , you need to launch the News app and bring up its settings via the News menu in the menu bar. You will see this screen:

Uncheck this box if you prefer web browsing to be different from reading news.

Apple’s implementation of this redirect is not perfect. As Dieter Bon writes for The Verge :

“I find this behavior a little odd. When you click the link in Safari, Apple News opens. If you click the link in Chrome, it stays in Chrome. If you click a link in another app, such as Slack, it will open in Apple News, even if your default browser is Chrome. This is weird simply because it is not clear how Big Sur knows that it should redirect some websites and not others. Is it validated against a pre-approved list of participating publisher sites (if so, at least it is offline)? Is this list stored locally or verified by Apple? Whatever the answer, the bottom line is that what happens when you click on a link is inconsistent. Maybe he opens a browser, maybe he opens Apple News. “

There is, of course, another big advantage to keeping these options enabled. If you subscribe to Apple News +, but not to news websites individually, then clicking on stories hosted on paid sites should instead open the full article in Apple apps, rather than send you to “sign in here! ” or a request “sorry, subscribers only”.

However, isn’t this an overkill on Apple’s part? I will be curious to know what people will think after the final versions of iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur are released for everyone.

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