Getting the Apple News app for macOS in unsupported regions

macOS 10.14 “Mojave” beta ships with the Apple News app installed by default. However, you may not be able to see the app if your Mac is configured with region settings other than Australia, United Kingdom, or United States. I’m no fan of region-restrictions, so I thought I’d show you how to get around Apple’s geographical restrictions on the News app.

As of macOS 10.14 Beta (build 18A293u) the new Apple News app is only available in Australia, United Kingdom, and the United States. This matches the region availability on iOS. The app is actually pre-installed and available everywhere but will only display content targeted for the United States and not your local region. If you’re happy with this compromise, then read on to learn how to unlock the app.

The obvious solution is to open the Settings app and change your Language and Region: Region setting to either Australia, United Kingdom, or the United States. However, this may cause issues for other apps and especially formatting and localization.

Ways of opening the News app

You can open the app from any region using any of the following methods:

1) Open Safari, type applenews: in the address field, and press Enter.

or 2) Open the Terminal app, type open applenews:, and press Enter.

or 3) Open the Terminal app, type open /Applications/News.app, and press Enter.

Once you’ve opened Apple News with one of the above methods once, you can simply pin it to your Dock; and you’ll have a quick and convenient app to open it again.

Making the invisible News app visible

You can create an alias/shortcut to the News app to make it visible in your Applications folder, in Launchpad, and in Spotlight searches. An app shortcut to a region-restricted app will still be visible even outside the supported regions..

To create the app alias to make the News app visible, you’ll first need to open the Terminal app, type the following command, and then press Enter:

ln -s /Applications/News.app "/Applications/Apple News.app"

This won’t actually make the News.app visible, but you’ll get an alias for it called “Apple News.app” which will be visible in your searches and app launchers.

Some notes for developer and publishes

It’s definitely the same News app we’re used to from iOS. At least, it’s bug-compatible in many ways with the iOS version of the app. E.g. it still registered a protocol handler for the ‘feed:’ URI protocol, but doesn’t actually support reading arbitrary syndication feeds.

At least in the first beta, and I suspect this will remain the same for the stable release, the News app doesn’t open non-Apple News formatted article (legacy RSS publishers) in a webview inside the News app; but defers these to the system’s default web browser instead. As such, there is no unique User-Agent for the News app unlike the iOS counterpart.

Developers may be interested in the new LSSupportedRegions (array of country code strings) app property introduced with macOS 10.14 beta. Finder will hide apps when the current user isn’t in a region included in the array of supported regions. As indicated above, it’s not a strong regional lock but there can still be some interesting uses for it. Not to give anyone any ideas here, but malicious developers could use this new capability to hide their apps from regular users by setting the value of LSSupportedRegions to “Kronos” (the Kligon homeworld); thus effectively making the app invisible to all but the Terminal literate users.

You should not attempt to modify the News app to add your own region to the list of supported regions. This will end in tears; or at the very least it will break the security code signature and make macOS really unhappy with you.

Sources

  • News.app 4.0 (1572.10.5)
  • macOS 10.14 Beta (18A293u)

Feature image background by © 2017 Jesus Kiteque.