Hands on with Apple News+ -- Is it worth the monthly fee?

Posted:
in iOS
AppleInsider takes you in-depth with the new Apple News+ subscription service to show you how works with both free and paid content on the iPhone, iPad, or Mac-- and whether or not it is worth subscribing to.

Apple New+
Apple News+


Apple News+ is Apple's latest offering into the service arena. It was announced at its March event alongside the Apple Card, Apple Arcade, and Apple TV+. Of all the announcements, Apple News+ was the only one to be available immediately thanks to iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4.

We've spent some time toying with the new service and will walk you through the feature highlights, how to cancel your subscription, and evaluate whether or not Apple News+ is worth its monthly fee.

The new News

Apple News+ resides as a new tab in the News app. The morning/evening digest tab has now been renamed "News+". After updating your devices and launching the News, everyone can start a month-long free trial before the $9.99 fee kicks in.






Family Sharing is included with News+, requiring no additional fee for each person in your family to also have access with their own personal recommendations.

In that tab, there is a sliding bar along the top that breaks down the available magazines by interest. The first two in the list also make the periodicals viewable alphabetically.

Below that is where "My Magazines" live which consists of magazines you've downloaded or started reading. Alongside is a list of recent magazines that Apple News things you may be interested in. A download button sits next to each of these installments for offline viewing.




Everything in Apple News syncs via iCloud, so any time you start reading on one device, it picks right up on another. Apple News+ is available not just on iPhone, but iPad and Mac as well.

Magazines in Apple News+ go between simple PDF-like pages and full interactive spreads. Newer, and larger, publications will likely devote added resources to these better layouts while others will more simplistic. Regardless, they all look great on any device.

In our testing, iPad was the best device for consuming magazines with the large beautiful display making it a joy to use. Apple News on Mac still seems a bit of an afterthought, not seemingly entirely optimized for a desktop experience. Still, it is better to have slightly subpar access than no access on our Mac.

One of the big benefits of Apple News+ is access to The Wall Street Journal. You don't have to pay the $40 a month that WSJ charges for digital access, though the content is slightly different. Apple News+ will present a curated slate of stories that are tailored to you as well as a general audience. To access more articles and topics you have to dig into the app a bit which keeps them largely out of reach. WSJ offers more stories, better curations, and additional benefits by subscribing directly.

Managing your subscription

As we said, Apple News+ is a monthly $9.99 subscription. When signing up, you get one month for free before billing commences.

Apple News+ subscription
Apple News+ subscription


If you aren't a fan of Apple News+, canceling is easy. Just head to your iTunes account, tap Manage Subscriptions, and tap on Apple News+. It will appear in the list just as Apple Music, iTunes Match, and App Store subscriptions reside.

This screen will tell you how much the subscription costs, when it bills, and when it expires. Even the status of the free trial period. Make sure to check out our more in-depth piece on how to manage your subscriptions if you need additional information.

Is it worth it?

That brings us, as it always does, whether or not the product is worth the price paid.

Apple News+ National Geographic magazine
Apple News+ National Geographic magazine


In our opinion, the answer is a resounding yes. Apple News+ contains more than 300 magazines which outpaces the roughly 200 that were offered in the acquired Texture subscription service. Texture ran the same price, with similar features, and less content.

If you enjoy reading magazines or dipping your toe into The Wall Street Journal then Apple News+ is an easy decision to make. There is endless content available, an engaging experience, and access for your whole family across multiple devices.

That is a good value for what Apple asks for in return. If you don't read News or don't peruse magazines then Apple News+ is a nonstarter, but for those that do, it is a bargain.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 61
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 446member
    I looked at it last night and signed up.   The shear amount of magazine content is astounding and the specialty topics such as sailing and biking (in my case) made it attractive to try out.  I already have a subscription to WSJ (and Apple's is NOT as full featured as there are limits to 3 days of back issues and only the curated articles are visible, but full searching of all articles is possible).  

    The one complaint I have is that I cannot pinch and zoom on either iOS or MacOS.  I'm so used to doing that with web pages it was frustrating.  Hopefully an update will allow this in the future.

    I'm particularly excited about the possibility to have additional magazines/periodicals/newspapers from around the world added - with translations please.   

    I think the price provides good value.
    lostkiwirainmakern2itivguycat52
  • Reply 2 of 61
    mewenmewen Posts: 1member

    Apple News+


    This is a no brainer for me. I have been a user of Texture in Canada for years now and am a heavy Apple users, totally immersed in the Apple environment. There appear to be a few problems. First my download magazines do not show up in the My Magazines section, secondly I cannot find a way to delete downloaded magazines (and why do we have to download the magazines, why can’t we have the option of reading them online)

  • Reply 3 of 61
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 118member
    I think it's worth the ten bucks a month so far. It's sad that so many magazines are still not dynamic and are just big jpegs of pages (not Apple's fault).

    Confident that more titles will be added as time goes by.
    edited March 26 lostkiwin2itivguychasm
  • Reply 4 of 61
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,672member
    Thanks for that...
    I tried it on my iPhone and on my iPad Mini this morning and the iPad was very definitely the better experience.  Everything was there on the iPhone, but the iPad just made it better.

    I couldn't find it on my Mac -- but I didn't see that News+ tab on the left -- so again, Thank You!   (I was looking for what I saw on my iPhone and iPad where it's on the bottom.   I wish Apple would smooth out these interfaces.)

    I also find it strange that News+ only shows magazines by default.   If you want a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal you have to search for it.
  • Reply 5 of 61
    fred1fred1 Posts: 329member
    There’s something I’m missing here. Apple gives you 300 magazines for $10 a month and Magzter gives you over 5000 magazines for $10 a month. Why go with Apple on this?
  • Reply 6 of 61
    ddf200ddf200 Posts: 2member
    I have subscription fatigue. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Spotify, newspapers.... plus backup service, Adobe, VPN, cloud storage, Quicken. Subscriptions can be great value, the problem is in aggregate, they have become a financial burden forcing me to reevaluate all subscriptions and where I want to focus monthly spending.
    entropysDAalsethmacplusplusberndogstourquerobbyxgordoncomstockCarnage
  • Reply 7 of 61
    dougddougd Posts: 255member
    I say NOT worth it
    jbaugh
  • Reply 8 of 61
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,748member
    Betteridges law

    "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."
    DAalsethjbaughCarnagecornchip
  • Reply 9 of 61
    Are there annoying pop-up ads in Apple News+?
  • Reply 10 of 61
    emoeller said:
    I looked at it last night and signed up.   The shear amount of magazine content is astounding and the specialty topics such as sailing and biking (in my case) made it attractive to try out.  I already have a subscription to WSJ (and Apple's is NOT as full featured as there are limits to 3 days of back issues and only the curated articles are visible, but full searching of all articles is possible).  

    The one complaint I have is that I cannot pinch and zoom on either iOS or MacOS.  I'm so used to doing that with web pages it was frustrating.  Hopefully an update will allow this in the future.

    I'm particularly excited about the possibility to have additional magazines/periodicals/newspapers from around the world added - with translations please.   

    I think the price provides good value.
    Can you clarify the WSJ experience.  Is there no way at all to browse the day's WSJ content?  So if there were a page-3 story about the economics of Panamanian basket weaving, the only way I could find it would be my searching for it?
    cat52
  • Reply 11 of 61
    ddf200 said:
    I have subscription fatigue. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Spotify, newspapers.... plus backup service, Adobe, VPN, cloud storage, Quicken. Subscriptions can be great value, the problem is in aggregate, they have become a financial burden forcing me to reevaluate all subscriptions and where I want to focus monthly spending.
    Ok, I'll help.  You can cancel Amazon (just buy $25 worth of stuff at a time) and Quicken (perfectly good free alternatives).  You're welcome.  What's a good VPN to use?
  • Reply 12 of 61
    Bob SpauldingBob Spaulding Posts: 3unconfirmed, member
    I refuse to pay for anything is advertising is involved. Free with ads or ads removed for a price. No double dipping. It's ruined TV and will online media as well. If your product is so great it should speak for itself, why should I believe and ad when the advertiser is the only one who has anything to gain?
  • Reply 13 of 61
    I refuse to pay for anything is advertising is involved. Free with ads or ads removed for a price. No double dipping. It's ruined TV and will online media as well. If your product is so great it should speak for itself, why should I believe and ad when the advertiser is the only one who has anything to gain?
    Huh? Print and screen media have always been advertising-based. The $ you paid for a subscription merely covered (or only partially covered) the cost to print and deliver it to you (I assume you’ve paid for magazine subscriptions before - magazines that also contained advertising?). Apple is simply taking on the role of distributor with a monthly fee for their efforts. The publishers will still make their money via advertising. Do you really expect ad-free unlimited access to 300 magazines for $10 a month??? LOL. 
    fastasleeprandominternetpersondasanman69
  • Reply 14 of 61
    I refuse to pay for anything is advertising is involved. Free with ads or ads removed for a price. No double dipping. It's ruined TV and will online media as well. If your product is so great it should speak for itself, why should I believe and ad when the advertiser is the only one who has anything to gain?
    I don't think I've seen any ads in any of the News+ sources. I might be wrong—I was subscribed to some of them prior to News+ yesterday and I may just be ignoring the ads.

    Regardless, I feel the need to point out that ads in print publications are acceptable and you (in general, perhaps not you, yourself) would still pay for those, so why would an ad in the digital version of a print publication be an issue? If we look at ads on, say, Hulu or Philo, I agree they're annoying, but the price you're paying for them is markedly less than you would pay a traditional cable subscription for (assuming, of course, they have the content you want). Let's say you love Wired—if paying for News+ and seeing an ad in an article (when you would have paid for the print issue and seen ads in it) means Wired survives as an entity, is that a bad thing?
    edited March 26 fastasleep
  • Reply 15 of 61
    felix01felix01 Posts: 242member
    After digging much deeper into what I was losing by giving up my existing WSJ subscription, I realized Apple’s News+ contains a WSJ chameleon which might satisfy the needs of a casual financial reader but won’t satisfy the requirements of someone who makes significant money in the markets.

    So I’ll be keeping my WSJ subscription and passing on News+ despite what I said yesterday.

    I'm really irritated that Apple tried to pull this sleight of hand trickery, acting like the full subscription was available except the archives. Not true, a deep dive will show WSJ is withholding a lot of data and analysis.
  • Reply 16 of 61
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,715member
    fred1 said:
    There’s something I’m missing here. Apple gives you 300 magazines for $10 a month and Magzter gives you over 5000 magazines for $10 a month. Why go with Apple on this?
    Wow, less than that!

     5K magazines via Magzster at just $50 for an entire year. Quite a bargain, perhaps a reaction to Apple News+? No Wall Street Journal though.
    https://www.magzter.com/
    edited March 26
  • Reply 17 of 61
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,968member
    dougd said:
    I say NOT worth it
    dougd with the hot take.
    randominternetpersoncornchip
  • Reply 18 of 61
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,912member
    I refuse to pay for anything is advertising is involved. Free with ads or ads removed for a price. No double dipping. It's ruined TV and will online media as well. If your product is so great it should speak for itself, why should I believe and ad when the advertiser is the only one who has anything to gain?
    Have you ever bought a magazine that hasn't had any advertising in it?   :/

    Not realistic.  Expect to pay double, triple, or more to get what you describe.  At which point you'll likely moan that it's too expensive and you won't pay.  Purity breaks the bank.
    dasanman69
  • Reply 19 of 61
    I wish the price didn't jump up to $13 in Canada. $9.99 seems ok but the extra $3 sounds pricey. Maybe I'm being cheap.

    Does anyone think they'll start bundling the various services? ie. i'm already paying $15/month for family access to Apple Music. If I also get News+, AppleTV+, and Arcade, will there be a price break?
  • Reply 20 of 61
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 4,672member
    ddf200 said:
    I have subscription fatigue. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Spotify, newspapers.... plus backup service, Adobe, VPN, cloud storage, Quicken. Subscriptions can be great value, the problem is in aggregate, they have become a financial burden forcing me to reevaluate all subscriptions and where I want to focus monthly spending.
    Quicken is a good example:   It used to cost about $40-50 to buy and it was good for three years before online services stopped working.   Now it's a $45 a year subscription.  

    For certain things subscriptions are good -- like Apple News+.   But most today are just a way of extracting more money from you.
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