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iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur direct web links to Apple News app, bypass publisher sites

Credit: Apple

Users of Apple's upcoming operating systems will be redirected to the Apple News app when clicking on links from participating Apple News+ publishers, bypassing those publications' websites.

The setting, which is enabled by default in iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, is an Apple News+ feature, meaning only users with an active subscription to Apple's premium news service will see it.

Tony Haile, founder of news service Scroll, first spotted the new feature. In a tweet Monday, he said that Apple's new operating systems are "intercepting traffic" from publisher websites.

As TechCrunch notes, the functionality appears to be an attempt at making Apple News+ more user-friendly, as the service doesn't technically grant access to articles behind paywalls on a publisher's website. Haile, however, said that the feature "directly cannibalizes a publishers' core subscription audience."

In a statement, Apple said that the change "offers subscribers seamless access to the content that is part of their News+ subscription right in the News app or publisher app, as well as providing publishers with increased engagement and revenue opportunities on Apple News."

The company also points out that the behavior can be disabled in News settings on iOS and macOS.

There's a good chance that many publishers won't be happy about the change, even if it can be disabled. Many prominent news organizations have refused to participate in Apple News+, and The New York Times recently left Apple News altogether because the platform didn't "align with its strategy of building direct relationships with paying readers."