Apple blocks news app for everyone in China, regardless if your iPhone is registered in the US. If you’re travelling to China and Apple’s news app is your main source for headlines, you’ll be in for a nasty surprise once you land.
As long as you are connected to select Chinese telecom networks, regardless if you are a Chinese citizen or not, trying to access Apple News will be met with a short message that displays the unavailability of news in your area.
Back in September, the news reading app released a statement in their US region telling readers from around the globe that Apple itself is censoring China – not the Government as we initially thought.
Larry Salibra, founder of a Hong Kong software startup is affected by Apple’s decision. It was thought that China’s Great Firewall banned access to the news app – as it does with the New York Times and social media behemoth Facebook.
But why has Apple deliberately neutered its entire app for iPhone owners that use it from particular China telecoms?
The Cupertino-based company seemingly monitors access to Apple News by analyzing the mobile network users connect from. Salibra notes that when he uses Apple News on CMHK, China Mobile Hong Kong, the app works just dandy. However, if he switches over to its mainland mobile network, the app blocks his access.
An American citizen who now resides in Beijing purchased his iPhone in the US – he has also registered it in his home country. He had no trouble accessing Apple’s news app from Taiwan, even though the app itself is unavailable in the local app store. Yet, when he attempted to access it from China, the message down below was displayed. Furthermore, this issue was encountered even when the user masked his location with a virtual private network – VPN.
Confusingly, he doesn’t seem to have trouble accessing the now-known nasty news app from his iPad when using a VPN.
Another American Apple user based in Beijing, also a startup founder 28 years old of age, said that although she had full access to the US iBooks and App Store, when she attempted to download Apple News – that is with and without opting for a VPN connection; she was greeted by the message bellow.
Salibra adds that regardless if you stored your article for offline use in the read-it-later style, users in China still don’t have access to content. This is rather worrisome and it indicates that Apple is censoring content that you have stored on your device. He takes to Reddit to discuss with the community.
Of course, Apple has declined to comment the situation.
Technically, Apple News is available only in the US, UK and Australia. Still, it’s service should be available for users that travel from and to any country – as long as the app was downloaded from the Australian, UK, or US App Store it shouldn’t be a problem.
This aggressive move that Apple is trying to force is more than alarming. Apple is deliberately refusing access to users that reside in the Central Kingdom i.e. China.
Nobody understands why and what is Apple’s end-game right now. Their hardware sales in China are stronger than ever – the Middle Kingdom is responsible for 50% of the Cupertino-based company’s overall revenue growth. Even though Apple has always been on the slow-side of releasing media and software to China. Take Beats 1, the radio-like music service is still unavailable. Apple just launched its iTunes Store for China about two weeks ago.
Deciding to block Apple News may very well be the cherry on top. Why would you want to annoy a whole region which is responsible for the majority of your overall revenue growth? Could it be because Apple wants to appease authorities, wishfully thinking that the Chinese government won’t embargo their main source of income? How about users? Don’t they matter at all?
Regardless of the answer, the issue that Apple blocks news is still alive and present. Users are recommended to switch to its competitor – Google News; if you like that kind of thing, that is.
Elon Musk thinks Apple is the Tesla graveyard because the Cupertino-based company hires engineers that just didn’t make it at the automotive company. Apple is gaining a bad rep at the moment. We’ll be covering this story, and others, while it unfolds.