In iOS 9, Apple introduced Apple News and its associated News app as a replacement for Newsstand (see “The News about News in iOS 9,” 30 September 2015). News was more of a traditional RSS reader, although Apple also eventually gave publishers more control over the display of their articles with the proprietary Apple News Format. The company has yet to bring the News app to the Mac, although perhaps we’ll see that in conjunction with whatever news service results from Apple’s purchase of Texture (see “Apple Acquires the Digital Magazine Service Texture,” 12 March 2018).
Before I get into how you can read TidBITS in Apple News, I’d like to run a quick survey — how often do you use the News app? We have a few hundred responses already, and we’ll report on the results next week.
For those who are already using the News app, I’m pleased to say that TidBITS is now available in Apple News via the Apple News Format, so our articles look better than ever before on both the iPhone and iPad, as you can see in these screenshots.
I hope providing our articles in Apple News Format will expose TidBITS to more people who are interested in Apple technology, but I have no idea if that will happen or even if we’ll be able to tell.
In the meantime, if you use the News app, you can easily add TidBITS to your Following list, which makes it directly available and should include TidBITS articles with everything else you see in For You.
The easiest way to do this is to click this link while reading on your iPhone or iPad. That’s the same as going to tidbits.com in Safari and tapping Get TidBITS > Apple News. (On the iPhone, tap the ellipsis button to the right of the logo, scroll down in the menu, and tap Apple News.) Either way, you’ll be sent to the TidBITS channel in the News app. Tap the heart icon in the upper right to follow TidBITS.
Alternatively, you can follow these steps within the News app:
- Tap Following in the toolbar at the bottom of the News app to bring up the Following screen.
- In the search field, type “TidBITS” and when it appears, tap the heart button.
- From then on, TidBITS appears in your Following list, and you can access the latest stories by tapping it.
A few quick notes about our Apple News integration:
- We’ve created different sections for articles and Watchlist items — tap the links at the top to switch (Drafts is just for me). The Watchlist items aren’t working as well as we’d like yet. News sometimes cuts off the icons we use for Watchlist items; I don’t believe there’s anything we can do about that. And on the iPad, the icons are ridiculously large.
- There are currently no links to the comments for our articles. I’m looking into if it’s possible to add them.
- On an iPhone, screenshots can get pretty small. Remember that you can flip the iPhone to landscape orientation to make them bigger, or tap them and then pinch to zoom in, if you want to read some text or look at a detail.
- If you use the standard iOS share sheet to share a link to one of our articles with a friend or colleague (please do!), you’ll be sharing an https://apple.news link. It may look unusual, but it will open in News on iOS devices and will work normally in Web browsers on all other devices.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments on how we have things set up with Apple News. It’s all done via the Publish To Apple News plug-in for WordPress from Alley Interactive, so we have only limited control.