In what seems to be a move by Apple itself, the company's News app has been disabled in China. The iPhone maker has blocked users in China from accessing the Apple News App according to reports.
The Apple News app is limited to residents of the United States, although availability is currently being tested in Britain and Australia. Customers who have already downloaded the news app by registering their phones while in the United States can still view news content through it whenever they travel overseas, but recent events have made the app unavailable in China.
Larry Salibra, a Hong Kong entrepreneur had noticed the block on Apple News last week during his short holiday in Mainland China even when he was using uncensored roaming Internet. Through a series of tests, Salibra was able to deduce that Apple isn't using location tracking and geofencing to shut down the News app, rather, the iPhone maker is doing so by the mobile network the device is connected.
Users in China who get their news from Apple's News feed, which would normally display content based on the user's preference are instead met with an error message: "Can't refresh right now. News isn't supported in your current region."
Next to United States, Greater China is Apple's second-largest source of revenue. Cupertino reaped sales of more than US$13 billion in the quarter. This would likely mean that Apple is taking extra care in delivering new content through its news app within China.
"They're censoring news content that I downloaded and stored on my device purchased in the USA, before I even enter China just because my phone happens to connect to a Chinese signal floating over the border," Salibra wrote further in a post on Reddit.