Since launching on iOS 9 in 2015, the Apple News app has only been available on iOS. You couldn't access it in Windows, on the web, or even on a Mac. However, Apple software chief Craig Federighi announced at WWDC 2018 that Apple News was coming to MacOS Mojave.
In fact, the only Mac that will be able to run Apple News is one that has MacOS 10.12 Mojave, which will be released in September or October 2018.
As you might imagine, though, Apple News on MacOS won't work quite the same way as it does in iOS, since there won't be a touchscreen. So let's walk you through how to get it, how it's going to work on your Mac, and how it compares to Google News and Flipboard.
How to get Apple News in MacOS Mojave
Once you've upgraded to MacOS Mojave, or you've bought a Mac that has Mojave already on it, you will find the Apple News app already located on your dock. That's because, like iOS, the Apple News app actually comes pre-installed with the operating system, alongside stalwarts such as iTunes and Safari.
In fact, you don't even need to wait for the retail version of Mojave to come out, if you're eager to check out Apple News right now. If you're feeling adventurous, you can download the public beta and install it on your Mac today, and you'll find Apple News already there. We have the step-by-step instructions to install Mojave on your Mac right here.
How to navigate Apple News in MacOS Mojave
The initial setup process is basically the same as with the mobile version. If you've never used Apple New before, when you first open Apple News, it will show you a grid of publications (Apple News calls these "Channels") that you can select to personalize your news feed. Just click on the heart in the upper right corner of each icon, scroll down to see more channels, and click the Done button when you're finished.
If you've used Apple News on iOS with the same Apple ID you use in Mojave, however, then you can pick up right where you left off on your iPhone or iPad. All of your previously chosen channels will be represented in the MacOS version.
You'll now see a Top Stories section based on your selections on the previous screen, and a column on the left to help you navigate. This column will have an entry for each channel that you've selected, so that you can click on it to see a news section dedicated to that news source. There will be an Edit link in the upper right that lets you customize your channels further, if you change your mind about one of them or want to add another.
Also, you can hide the left-hand column by clicking on the right-most button in the upper left. Its icon looks like a box with a vertical line drawn through it.
Below the list of channels, you'll find additional channels suggested by Siri. These entries are chosen based on the channels that you've already selected. So for example, if you've already selected CBS News, Siri may suggest CNN or MSNBC to complement it. Or it may suggest an entire topic, like U.S. Politics.
The search function on MacOS
In the MacOS version of Apple News, the search function is available in the upper left corner. This can be handy for finding stories on specific items that don't have their own channel or topic in Apple News. Just click on it and start typing, and the app will start searching as you type. Its prediction is quite good, so you may not even need to type out the full search before finding what you want.
If the search term is popular, Apple News may have a whole topic dedicated to it. This will show up at the top of your search results. Below that, you'll find a list of articles that are about what you're searching for. Below that, you'll get a list of channels that are related to the keywords of your search.
For example, if we search for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, we need only to type out the first few letters of his last name in the search box to get a good selection of search results, including a topic dedicated just to news about him.
When you click on an article in Apple News, three buttons will light up in the upper right corner. If you don't like a story, click on the heart with a line through it, and you'll see articles containing its keywords show up less often. You may have to do this a few times before Apple News gets the hint.
To the right of that is the share button. Like with Apple News on iOS, you can text a link to this story via Messages, or put it in an email, or share it via a desktop app that you've installed, like Slack or WhatsApp.
The Apple News history function on MacOS
If you need to look back and reference an article from a few days or weeks ago, it should be available in the History section. You get there by scrolling down the column to the left and clicking on History. Unfortunately, you can't search within the History section, nor apply any sorting, but if you're concerned about privacy, there are options to clear your history, clear your recommended articles, or clear both.
If the publication has deleted the article from its website, though, it will no longer be available in Apple News. Apple News doesn't store the news content, it just acts as a portal to the websites that are hosting the articles.
Apple News versus Flipboard and Google News
Flipboard's news website isn't quite as sharp as its mobile app, though it's not bad. The mobile app just sets a high standard for information density, typeface design, and content discovery. Just tap on the magnifying glass in the mobile app, then compare it to what you get when you do the same on Flipboard's website.
In the app, you get a host of neatly categorized recommendations, then tapping on the search box shows you a list of trending topics. Tapping on a list item produces a dynamically generated tabbed list of results, from hashtags to individual articles to social media activity.
Also, we originally signed up for an optional Flipboard account by signing in with a Google account, but the website doesn't provide an actual function to do that, despite directing us to do so. Google account credentials can only be used in Flipboard's mobile app.
Overall, Apple News on MacOS provides a nicer looking layout than the web version of Flipboard (though Flipboard is arguably a better choice than Apple News on iOS).
As for Google News, the choice is harder. Google News refreshed its visual design recently, and its new minimalism may appeal to Apple fans more than Apple News does. News category navigation is also much more accessible in Google News. In the web version, it's all in a column to the left. In Apple News, you have to scroll past all of your individual publication channels before you find the category listing.
However, if you're looking for news from a specific publication, Apple News is better, because its channels are readily designed to populate your screen with articles from a single source, whereas Google News prefers to cluster multiple publications around a topic.
In our experience, Apple News may also draw content from a wider variety of sources. You can add dozens and dozens of them to Apple News, and it does a respectable job of juggling them all into the appropriate topics.
However, as we mentioned earlier, blocking a website in Apple News may require repeated requests before the app gets the message. To block a website in the web version of Google News, you just hover your mouse pointer over the story, click on the three-dot menu, and select "Hide all stories from [website]." That site will never show up in your feeds again.
Last but not least, Google News also features a local weather widget with a 5-day forecast powered by Weather.com, while Apple News provides only the current temperature.
Thankfully, all three of these news platforms are free to use, so you can ultimately decide for yourself which of them best suits your needs, or you can juggle them all.
FOLLOW Download.com on Twitter for all the latest app news.
- Apple to bring iOS 12 apps to MacOS Mojave
- The first 4 iOS apps coming to Mac
- How to try out Apple's Siri Shortcuts app for iOS 12 to automate your life
- Apple sets Sept. 12 for its next big event, new iPhones on deck (CNET)
- Here are Apple's best MacOS Mojave features (CNET)
- Rejoice Mac mini pro fans: Apple hasn't forgotten you (ZDNet)
- Apple's Sep 12 event: What the pros expect (TechRepublic)
- iPhone XS: 7 things the pros need (TechRepublic)