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Is Apple Turning iOS into Adware?

Apple has become increasingly reliant on its Services business segment every quarter, but is its focus on growing Services revenue harming the iOS experience? That’s the question posted by developer Steve Streza, who analyzed Apple’s built-in apps on a fresh install of iOS 13 and a new iCloud account.

Streza found an endless barrage of ads for Apple’s services: Apple Arcade, Apple Card, Apple Music, Apple News+, and Apple TV+. “If you don’t subscribe to these services, you’ll be forced to look at these ads constantly, either in the apps you use or the push notifications they have turned on by default,” Steza said. He goes so far as to describe iOS 13 as “adware” since it’s full of unremovable ads.

I wrote about this issue last month in “Why Is the Apple TV Constantly Advertising at Us?” (16 January 2020), noting how Apple’s focus on services is spoiling the user experience. Given that a better user experience has always been Apple’s advantage, this trend toward pushing services could backfire if it starts to drive users away.

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Comments About Is Apple Turning iOS into Adware?

Notable Replies

  1. Sadly Apple has been eroding across all product lines. Software has gone from “It just works” to “It usually works, but isn’t the stock price wonderfully high?”

  2. Yes, I do find Apple’s ads promoting their services to be very annoying. I’m particularly aggravated by the extremely annoying messages attempting to shove News+ down my throat thay aggressively populate the original no frills Apple News with. But Apple is not selling information to third parties or cross referencing with location data, prior purchases with outside companies, or giving third parties the opportunity to buy advertising. They are not even producing or serving prerolls or pop-up ads. Apple is promoting its own services, which is nothing resembling adware.

  3. The News app has become unusable due to the intrusive messages (ads) and numerous links to subscriber-only news websites. There is only a 50% chance that I am able to instantly read a link that I click on.
    Even the insidious Google News is a better experience.

  4. I find the aggressiveness of the their push annoying. In some cases after every update I have to again say, no, I don’t want this or that service. My answer to all that is simple and I’m sure exactly the opposite of what Apple marketing wants. I shut off as many of their notifications as I can, I opt out of all and any mailings, and I refuse to use their paid services such as Music, News, TV+, iCloud storage etc.

    I’ll get interested when your features convince me, but as long as you send marketers my way I’ll assume that’s because you consider your features alone aren’t cutting the mustard.

  5. I fully agree they have almost destroyed the effectiveness of their News app with their push on the wonder of subscribing to paid News. There is this constant barrage of ads that are not needed nor wanted. Particularly irritating to me is the constant reminder that I am missing the true meaning of life by not upgrading to Catalina (on my old computer??) or I need to upgrade to the latest iOS which I will do when I wish to. Why does such a good company think we don’t know what goodies they are offering and are paternalistic enough to think we can’t decide for ourselves. THANK you for raising this concern - are you listening Apple???

  6. Noted… I think the article would have been more accurate if it was titled:
    “Is Apple Turning iOS into Promoware?”

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