iPhone and iPad

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC

Mark O'Neill 20-08-2013

If you want high quality accurate news, then it is the BBC you should turn to, regardless of where you live in the world. The BBC often puts other international media organisations to shame. If you have an iPad or iPhone, you can enjoy the BBC on your smart device via dedicated apps.Even though there is also an Android version, today I will be focusing on the iOS app, and how it differs from CNN’s digital offerings.


The BBC’s App

Ever since it was founded in 1922, the British state media organisation known as the BBC has been known around the world for its high quality journalism and factual reporting. During the dark days of the war, many members of the German population risked execution to listen to the BBC, as they knew that the organisation would report the facts accurately and fairly, without the flagrant use of propaganda that the Nazis were famous for.

Upon launching the app on your iOS device, whether it is an iPad or an iPhone, you will be greeted with the headlines. The iPad version displays stories on the left in a black background with the main headline on the right.  Changing stories is as simple as tapping on the story you want and it will immediately open up on the right. You can also use your finger to push the current story left and right to move to the next one or the previous one.

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC bbcnews1 header

If your eyesight is not the best How to Force Rotate Into Landscape Mode on iPhone Here's everything you need to know about how to force rotate your iPhone screen, including apps and tips for troubleshooting. Read More , you can change the size of the text to make it bigger using the two “A”s button, located on the top bar of the app.

Live radio is another feature offered, which is pretty nice. If you press the red button in the top left hand corner, then you will start to hear the BBC World Service. There are no other radio channel choices to select, but the World Service is designed to deliver the news, so what more would you want?


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If there is a story which you would like to share with someone, whether it’s by email, Twitter, or Facebook, then you can open up the social sharing menu in the top right hand corner. You can also get the direct web link if you prefer to share it that way (for example, via instant messaging).

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And of course, it goes without saying that you can customise the app to your preferences. You can choose which news categories you are interested in seeing (and not seeing), and in what order you want to see them. Just use your finger to drag the news categories around until you have them in your preferred order.  Then press the Done button in the top left to go back to the app.


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One of the things I find really neat about the BBC app is that you can send them news stories and tips directly via the app. Just scroll all the way to the bottom of the headlines list on the left and you will see two buttons – Send Photo and Send Story.

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Tapping on Send Photo opens up your iOS Camera Roll where you can then choose an image, while Send Story opens up a new email window, where you can send your next Watergate exclusive.


Comparisons With CNN

What I like about the BBC app is that it has just the right amount of things, nothing more, nothing less. Although I am disappointed that the app has no video, I am pleased that there is no advertising, no distracting heavy graphics and no silly gimmicks.

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC cnn1

The fact that there is no video with the BBC app is exactly what draws me to the CNN app. Although the CNN app has adverts all over the place (which irritate me), it does have video reports of some of its stories 6 Shocking Video Websites to See News They Won't Show You on TV Sites like LiveLeak are for controversial news footage not shown on TV. Here are a few uncensored websites for shocking news. Read More , which is nice if you are lying in bed or you are tired of reading.  You can just start the video version and listen and watch. CNN has a dedicated video section, as well as sprinkling video stories throughout its news categories.

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC cnn3


There are two other features in the CNN app, which are notably absent from the BBC’s offering. First, you can directly send the name of the story and the link to someone via SMS or iMessage.

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC cnn2

The other great thing is that you can save stories in your app profile, for later reading. Simply press the star logo at the top of the story page and the link is immediately saved in your profile. You can access your profile by pressing the three bar “menu” logo in the top left hand corner and scrolling to the bottom.

Get Your iOS International News Fix From The BBC cnn profile

Reporting In

Despite these few features which are missing from the BBC app, I still prefer the BBC for my news fix. Maybe I am biased because I am British myself, but the BBC app just seems smoother, more polished, and the writing (in my opinion) is much better.  Less sensationalism, and more focus on the facts. Plus I really find the font in the CNN headlines just downright ugly (I am a bit of a font fanatic).

The BBC app can be downloaded here and the CNN app can be downloaded here. Give both a go yourself and let us know in the comments which one you prefer.

Do you agree that the BBC one is nicer, or does the CNN app beat the BBC app in other ways that I haven’t noticed yet?  If so, set me straight in the comments.

Image credit: PlaceIt.Breezi.com

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  1. Al Kimy
    August 20, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    CNN is more directed to US viewers who do not want to see beyond their borders. Even if the biggest news is a huge tragedy on the other side of the world, if it does not involve the US in any way, it might not even be mentioned.

    Obviously the BBC is a better source for international news.