BBC News iPhone and iPad app: Help guide for iOS devices

  • 15 December 2014
  • From the section Help

A guide for users of version three of the BBC News app, on iOS devices.


What's new in the BBC News app?

The new version of the app brings a richer and more personalised experience of our news content. You will find:

  • More customisation - so you can follow the news you're interested in.
  • Even more content in different formats - for example, more live and on demand video, easily identified with a play icon.
  • Multiple levels of content - from world news to UK national news information at a very local level.

What versions of iOS is the app available for?

Version 7.0 and above.


How can I add topics to My News?

You can customise the app by following the topics that are of particular interest for you. There are four ways of adding topics:

  • From the Add Topics menu, by tapping on the "+" icon next to the topic. This list consists of topics related to recently-visited stories, editorially selected topics and key sections of core BBC News output.
  • From key section pages on the app - like world, business and entertainment - available in the Menu (in the top corner of the app).
  • By using a topic search, which can also be found in the Menu
  • Directly through article and video pages by clicking on Related Topics at the bottom of the page.

The key sections are the same ones that can be found on the BBC News website and are managed by editorial teams. The new topic pages are automatically ordered by time of publication, with the latest appearing at the top.

A maximum of 25 topics can be followed at any one time.


How can I manage or remove topics from the list of My News?

Go to the Add Topics section of the app and tap on the Manage tab. You can also access the same screen by tapping on the Edit icon in the top navigation bar.


How does the app use my location?

For UK users only, the app uses a location setting to provide content based on the location of a user.

When you go to the Add Topics or Menu screens for the first time you will be asked if you wish to share the location with the app. By agreeing, you will allow the app to detect your location and offer the most relevant BBC News region. You can then choose to follow this region as a favourite topic in My News.

If you change location, you will be offered the new location to follow. This will appear in My News along with the previously chosen region.

You can switch the use of your location off by going to Settings on your device.


How do I refresh the content in the app?

Pull down on the main content area that shows you the stories that are available to read. This applies to both the iPad and iPhone versions of the app.

You can also refresh an individual story by pulling down on the story body text.


How do I change the font size on a story?

The font size controls can be found in the Settings of your device. Please go to Settings, then access General and then Text Size.

Tap this button and drag the slider left or right to adjust the font size. Your preference will be remembered for all subsequent story page views.


How do I share a story?

The app gives you the option to post BBC News stories to Facebook, share on Twitter, send a story link via email, or copy the link to your device's clipboard.

To access this feature, tap the Share button from any story page - styled as a box with an arrow coming out of it - and select your preferred means of sharing from the menu.

Please note that you may be asked to configure a Facebook, Twitter or email account if your chosen sharing method has not already been set up on the device.

We have introduced rich sharing which means that you will be sending not only the text but an associated image as well.


How can I use the BBC News app when not connected to the internet?

The app will automatically save stories on the device for reading when you don't have a network connection.

As video and audio clips are streamed to the device, these will not be available when you don't have a network connection. You may also find that some images are missing when you are using the app offline.


How can I find the Settings menu for the app?

Tap on the Menu icon at the top right-hand side corner of the app and then choose the Settings icon on the left side at the top.

You will find options for background refresh, sharing statistics, push notifications, edge swiping and auto-play. Our privacy policy, terms of use and other links are also available here.


Can I save video to watch later?

No. Currently, the BBC offers video and audio clips as streams which are only available when your device has a network connection.


Do I need a TV licence to watch live TV on my mobile device?

UK users need to be covered by a TV licence to watch live TV on your device, that includes the BBC News Channel in the app.

A live TV programme is watched or recorded at the same time (or virtually the same time) as it is being broadcast, or otherwise distributed to members of the public.

As a general rule, if a person is watching a programme on a computer or other device at the same time as it is being shown on TV then the programme is live. This is sometimes known as simulcasting.

You do not need a TV licence if you only use BBC services to watch television programmes which are not live.

International users can access BBC World Service radio from the 'Live' tab' free of charge, however your operator may charge you for the amount of data you use. If you are unsure how much data costs on your tariff, contact your network operator.


What will happen if I don't have a TV licence?

(UK users only) It is a criminal offence to watch live television without a TV licence or to possess or control a device which you know or reasonably believe will be used to watch live TV without a TV licence.

You could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 (plus be ordered to pay legal costs) for these offences.


Where can I buy a TV licence or get more details?

To buy a TV licence or to obtain further information about licensing requirements call TV Licensing on 0870 241 5590 or visit TV Licensing.


What are push notifications?

These notifications enable you to be alerted to the biggest news stories as they happen.

When a push alert is received it will pop up on your screen similar to a text message, regardless of whether or not the app is open at the time. Depending on your settings the alert may also be accompanied by a sound.

Tapping the notification will load the corresponding story in the app.

The service is available to users with iOS 7 and above, running version two of the BBC News app or higher. To download the latest version, visit the App Store from your device's home screen and tap Updates.


How can I subscribe or unsubscribe from push notifications?

When opening the app for the first time you will be presented with a message requesting permission to send you push notifications.

Tap OK to subscribe or Don't Allow to decline. This preference can also be changed at any time within your device's notification settings.

- To turn notifications off:

From your device's home screen, visit Settings > Notifications and select the BBC News app from the list. Ensure all options are set to Off, and Alert Style is None.

- To turn notifications on:

From the same screen set Alert Style to either Banners or Alerts.

Additionally, you can choose whether to display alerts in your device's Notification Centre or lock screen.

If you are not receiving notifications but the settings screen suggests they are switched on, it may be necessary to reinitialise the push settings by first turning all alert settings off before turning them on again.


How do I turn the push notification sound off?

By default the BBC News sound is played whenever an alert is received.

This can be turned off or re-enabled from your device's notification settings screen (see above).


How many push notifications will I receive?

The number of alerts we send out will vary according to the news agenda, however this will typically be between one and three notifications a day.


Will I be charged for push notifications?

Push notifications are free to receive but may make minimal use of your data plan if delivered via your mobile network provider.


Push notifications privacy policy:

If you choose to receive push notifications, a unique identifier relating to your device will be stored by ProcessOne on behalf of the BBC to provide you with the service.

No other personal data relating to you (such as a username or email address) is processed. The BBC will keep your information secure and not share it with anyone else in accordance with the BBC's Privacy and Cookies Policy.

You can choose to unsubscribe from push notifications from BBC News in your device's Notifications screen.


Can I send a story or photo in to BBC News?

This functionality is currently unavailable via the app. But you can still submit your stories and photos via the BBC News website.

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist, please include a telephone number that we can contact you on.

In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.

When sending us pictures at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.


How do I send feedback to the BBC about the iPhone or iPad app?

If you have a comment or suggestion, or a question that isn't covered here, please email news@mediaapptech.com in the UK or mobileapps@bbc.co.uk if outside the UK.

If you wish to raise a formal complaint about the app, please go to the BBC Complaints homepage.


How do I opt out of statistics collection?

We collect statistical data about how the application is used to help us learn what works and what's most useful to you.

The more data we can gather, the better we can understand what people want from applications like this.

All data is collected anonymously (for example, we won't know what pages a specific person visits, or their location, but we will be able to see general trends about which pages and areas are more popular). Naturally, if you'd prefer us not to collect this data, we won't.

To opt out of statistics collection, go to the Settings in your app.

You can also do it via your device settings. Scroll down the Settings screen and tap on the BBC News app entry.

In the Settings menu set the Share Usage Statistics with the BBC option to OFF. Tap the Settings back arrow to return to the Settings screen and save the changes.

The BBC will only use usage statistics information to analyse and improve the services offered through this app. For more information, tap on the Privacy Policy button in Settings.