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Apple's News app is disabled in China


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The News app in iOS 9 is officially available only in a handful of places, but you can still access stories when you're traveling abroad... unless you're visiting China, that is. A New York Times source understands that Apple has completely disabled News access in China, preventing you from reading anything new even if you're using one of the country's few uncensored connections on a US device. Apple hasn't commented on why it's switching things off, but the theory is that it would rather turn off News access altogether than deal with the many hassles of censoring individual sources and articles.

This kind of nation-specific deactivation isn't new. Apple automatically disables Maps' regular data when you're in China, replacing it with government approved maps that blot out details of most other parts of the world. As software testing service head Larry Salibra notes, though, there are worries that Apple is a little too willing to automatically change features the moment you set foot in China, even if you've turned location services off. While the company's current approach is arguably necessary if it wants to keep selling iOS devices in China (and it definitely wants to), the concern is that officials may ask Apple to selectively disable other apps that challenge the nation's political status quo.

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