Why I’ve removed individual news apps.

There’s so much going on in the world right now and we consume so much news in different formats, sometimes not even thinking about it. 

This weekend, I decided to remove all individual news organisations apps from my device. Sky, BBC, BBC Sport and Metro just to name a few. In all, I think I had about six apps for individual organisations stored in folders on my phone.

But why get rid of so much news? I hear you cry. Well, pretty much every app was filled with articles about the same stories, but always with a different slant. I know, that’s how news works, each organisation has it’s own agenda and audience, but I found myself getting too consumed in all these apps – and the notifications, the watch on my wrist hasn’t buzzed so much than it has during COVID-19 (And yes, I’m aware you can turn notifications off).

With all of the news largely based around Coronavirus, it’s pretty hard to get away from what is a very important subject. But what if you do want to get away from it and find some other news? Perhaps news from a subject area that interests you, or something lighthearted and funny.

This is where Apple News comes in. The app that you’ll probably delete, or hide in one of your folders never to be tapped again.

Since I got my iPhone in March, as well as all those individual news apps, I’ve also been curating Apple News’ app, so I can see stories that actually matter to me. Of course, there’s no escaping what’s going on in the world right now, that, is always front and centre on the app, but the variation of news I’m seeing now, just makes things a little more bearable. 

Take this as an example – It’s 19:35 on a Monday night. Here are the subject areas in the top section of Apple News, for me:

  • Coronavirus
  • Protests
  • Protests
  • Coronavirus
  • Coronavirus

Then we head onto the trending stories from a variety of outlets, including BBC News, Sky News, Evening Standard, The Sun and Forbes. 

Scrolling further down, I’ve got stories from things that interest me:

  • Mobile Apps (Tech)
  • For You (General news items around the UK)
  • Apple
  • Technology
  • NHS
  • Healthcare

And mixed between those are quietly placed ‘For you’ sections, stories Apple News thinks you might be interested in, based on the accounts within Apple News you follow.

I actually found even though I had the individual apps, I would always use Apple News as my first port of call – and I’m quite enjoying the tailored news experience, because it’s based around the important news from the UK and around the world, as well as my interests. It’s displayed in such a way, it’s not all doom and gloom, it’s not overwhelming, it’s easy to read and find stories that matter to me.

Google do something similar, but don’t offer it on the same level as Apple. It’s also worth noting that I don’t have the Apple News + subscription. This is all on the original, free version of Apple News that comes shipped with all new iOS devices (Including MacOS).

News, as it has done, will always have an important role to play in our lives. It will inform us of what’s happening in the world, it will educate us and it will entertain us. But instead of the news outlets setting out their agenda, we can now set the agenda ourselves, through the likes of Apple News, Google News and any other app or website I’ve not thought of.

Of course, I will continue to get news from radio; tv and online (including social media) and word of mouth, but I’d say throughout most of the day, the news comes from my phone or other device.

I won’t miss the constant notifications, but I will enjoy getting a varied mix of news daily, in the palm of my hand, or on my OS.