Apple Introduces New iOS 17 Feature Allowing Content Subscribers to Access Exclusive Podcasts via Apple Podcasts

New iOS 17 Feature Links App Store Subscriptions to Apple Podcasts


Among the many changes coming with iOS 17, Apple will also introduce a new feature that will allow users to connect a content subscription they use in an App Store app to Apple Podcasts in order to access a range of additional benefits.

The Problem with Paywalled Podcasts

Publishers and their subscribers alike may not have appreciated the previous setup, given that it was asking paying customers to pay yet again for exclusive podcast content. The New York Times launched its own audio streaming app, where it makes all its podcasts available, including some that are just for its paid subscribers. But it’s not clear that consumers are actually interested in installing and using a separate app outside of their preferred podcasts player just to access exclusive audio content.

The Solution

Under the new iOS 17 configuration, a publisher like the NYT could instead use the new linking mechanism to ensure their subscribers could access their exclusive content in the Apple Podcasts app that many customers already use. Apple is making linking and authentication easy to do, as well.

Easy Authentication for Subscribers

After updating to iOS 17, the first screen users will see is one that informs them of their existing subscriptions, which are automatically connected if they originally subscribed to the publisher’s app through an in-app purchase on the App Store. Meanwhile, those who bought a subscription elsewhere — including directly from the publisher’s website — will be able to go to the podcast’s Channel page and click a link that reads “Already a subscriber?” where they can then log in and authenticate via the web.

The Type of Content Offered

As for the exclusive content, it can really be anything publishers want to offer, Apple says, as long as it’s audio. Apple believes the new feature will be most popular with news apps, health and fitness apps, and kids and family apps.

Early Adopters of the Feature

The company has a handful of early adopters who will make their paid audio content available to subscribers from day one of iOS 17’s launch. These include Bloomberg, Calm, The Economist, L’Équipe, Lingokids, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and WELT.

Listening to Paywalled Audio Stories

In addition to this update, Apple is also making it possible to listen to paywalled audio stories from its own subscription service, Apple News+, via Apple Podcasts. These include professionally narrated audio stories from across top magazines and newspapers that were previously only available in the Apple News app.

The Updated Podcasts App

The Podcasts app is also being updated with a refreshed Now Playing design with a background showcasing the podcast art, enhanced controls for managing the queue, support for episode art, and a redesigned Up Next section.

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