How to Subscribe to a Magazine or Newspaper on the iPad

The iPad has been touted as a great eBook reader, but it may be even better at viewing magazines. After all, the spirit of a magazine is often the art of photography combined with the talent of writing, which makes them a perfect pairing with that gorgeous "Retina Display." Didn't know you could subscribe to magazines on the iPad? You aren't alone. It's not exactly a hidden feature, but it can be an easy one to miss.

First, you need to know where to go to subscribe to magazines and newspapers.

It might surprise you to know that magazine and newspapers are available in the App Store, not some special store just for subscriptions. While the iBooks app supports both buying and reading eBooks, magazines and newspapers are treated more like apps.

This includes the ability to use in-app purchases to subscribe to a magazine or newspaper. Once you download a magazine from the App Store, you can subscribe to it within the magazine's app. Most magazines and newspapers also offer a free issue, so you can check out what you are getting before you make your purchase.

  • Launch the App Store.
  • Tap the "Categories" icon on the bottom row of buttons.
  • The categories will be displayed on the left side of the iPad's screen.  Choose Magazines and Newspapers.
  • You can choose "All Magazines and Newspapers" at the top of the list if you want to browse through the featured magazine and newspapers, otherwise, you can narrow your topic through the different categories.
  • Browse and download magazines just like they are apps. Tapping a magazine will give you more details, including user reviews. Tap the "Get" button to download the magazine or newspaper.

Where do the magazines and newspapers go?

Newspapers and magazines were once placed in a special folder called the Newsstand, but Apple eventually killed off this rather confusing feature.  Newspapers and magazines are now treated just like any other app on your iPad.  You can choose to put them all in a folder if you wish, but there are no actual restrictions on them.  

You can also use spotlight search to find your magazine or newspaper.   This is a great way to pull up the magazine without hunting through every page of icons to find it.  

And as an alternative to subscribing to newspapers, you can simply use the News app.  Apple introduced the News app as a better way to read the news.  It aggregates articles from various newspapers and magazines and presents them based on your interest.  And you don't need to download News.  It's already installed on your iPad so long as you have the latest update to the operating system.  

How do I subscribe to magazines?

Unfortunately, every magazine or newspaper is a little different. In essence, the periodical you have downloaded is its own app, but generally, if you tap an individual item from within the app -- such as the June 2015 edition of the magazine -- you will be prompted to either buy that issue or to subscribe.

Apple handles the transaction, so you won't need to enter your credit card information. The purchase is exactly like buying an app from the App Store.

More importantly, how do I cancel a subscription?

While most digital magazines and newspapers make it easy to subscribe, Apple hasn't made it easy to unsubscribe. Actually, that isn't entirely correct. It's not hard to subscribe once you know where to go. Subscriptions are handled on your Apple ID account, which is managed through the App Store. You can get to it by going to the Featured tab on the App Store, scrolling to the bottom and tapping on your Apple ID.

Do I have to subscribe?

If you don't want to commit to a subscription, most magazines and newspapers will allow you to buy a single issue. This is a great way to digest the information you want without filling up your iPad with issues you never read.

Can I read them on my iPhone?

Absolutely. You can download magazines, newspapers, music and apps on any device connected with the same Apple ID. So as long as your iPhone and iPad are connected to the same account, you can purchase a magazine on your iPad and read it on your iPhone. You can even turn on auto-downloads and the magazine will be there waiting for you.

Are there any free magazines?

If you go to the "All Newsstand" category of the App Store and scroll all the way to the bottom, you will see a listing of 'free' magazines. Some of these magazines are only partially free, selling 'premium' issues alongside the free ones, but the free section is a great place to get started.