BBC News app: Help guide for Android devices

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A help guide for users of the BBC News app, on Android 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 and national and regional content, to information at a very local level.

What versions of the Android operating system is the app available for?

Version 4.0 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 - including UK, world, politics and entertainment - available in the Menu (in the top right-hand side 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 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?

The app uses a location setting to provide content based on the location of a user.

When you go to the Add Topics screen 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 change the font size on a story?

On some phones, the font size controls can be found by tapping on the Overflow button in the top right-hand of your screen, represented by a symbol of three vertical dots.

If you do not have an Overflow button you will need to tap the Menu button to access the font controls.

How do I share a story?

The app gives you the option to post BBC News stories to Facebook, Twitter, email or any other app on your device that supports sharing.

To access this feature, tap the Share button from any story page - styled as three dots in the shape of a triangle, with two of the three sides connected - and select your preferred means of sharing from the menu.

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

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.

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?

Settings are available in the app menu which is accessible via the Menu button at the top of the screen.

How do I change my automatic download and notification preferences?

The app allows you to specify whether or not it automatically downloads the latest news.

This option is available from the Settings screen. To enable the app to automatically download the latest stories you should ensure the Automatic news updates checkbox is ticked.

If automatic updates are chosen, the app will then allow you to specify the frequency of updates and the option to receive visual and/or audio notifications from the options underneath.

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?

That depends where you are and what you're doing.

Inside the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man:

You will need a TV licence to watch or record the BBC News Channel live in the News app.

Some articles in the News app contain links to BBC iPlayer content. You will need a TV licence to watch or download any BBC programmes using BBC iPlayer, including when you click on a BBC iPlayer link in the News app.

Outside those locations:

You'll need to check if your country has its own TV licensing scheme.

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?

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 briefly be displayed in your device's status bar and may be accompanied by a sound depending on your settings.

Alerts can then be viewed within the Android notification area (accessed by dragging down the status bar).

The service is available to users with Android 4 and above, running version two of the BBC News app or higher. To download the latest version, visit the Play Store on your device.

The BBC News app does not currently support push notifications on Amazon devices.

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.

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 Yes to subscribe or No to decline. This preference can also be changed at any time from the app's Settings screen.

To turn notifications off:

From the app home screen select Settings from the menu (depending on your device this may be located in the red action bar overflow at the top of the screen, a hard key beneath the screen, or a soft key in the overflow menu at the foot of the screen).

Under Notifications untick the box next to Breaking News notifications.

To turn notifications on:

From the same screen ensure the box next to Breaking News notifications is ticked.

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).

Push notifications privacy policy:

If you choose to receive push notifications, a unique identifier relating to your device will be stored by Airship 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.

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

The BBC will keep your information secure and not share it with anyone else in accordance with the BBC's Privacy Policy, to read BBC's Privacy Policy go to

If you install this app you accept the BBC Terms of Use at

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 app?

If you have a comment or suggestion, or a question that isn't covered here, please email You can also provide your feedback via an online survey.

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 at the bottom of the home screen.