As part of the iOS 17 update to its iPhone software, Apple has added some fun and games to the News app. If you subscribe to the Apple News Plus service, you now have access to daily crossword puzzles — if you know where to find them.
At the moment, iOS 17 features a pair of daily games — a full crossword puzzle and a quicker 5x5 grid called a Crossword Mini. Each day, Apple published new games, and if you miss a day, you can peruse an archive of past puzzles in the News app.
Crosswords are a fun addition to the News app, so much so that they might persuade you to pony up the $12.99 monthly fee Apple charges for News Plus. (If you're already a News Plus subscriber, the puzzles are a wonderful value-add.) Like any game, crosswords provide a nice break in your working day, while also keeping your brain stimulated. The only question about their arrival in News is why Apple didn't add it sooner.
Well, there is just one other question about crosswords — just where can you find them in the oft-cluttered News app? Here's a look at how to find crossword puzzles in the News app on your iPhone and how to play once you've tracked down the puzzles.
How to find crossword puzzles in iOS 17 news
There's no dedicated Puzzles tab in News nor is there a drop-down menu in the app to guide you straight to the new crossword feature. Instead, Apple seems to have included several ways to find crossword puzzles in News, most of which rely on discovery.
Initially I've had some luck heading to the News+ tab on the bottom of the News app screen and then scrolling through articles there until I found a link to crossword puzzles. While that will certainly work, here's a more direct route to iOS 17's new crossword puzzles.
Note that these steps assume that you've downloaded and installed iOS 17.
1. Launch the News app
Launch the News app and go to the Following tab — it's the one on the far right.
2. Select Puzzles
In the Following tab, you should see Puzzles listed on the top of the page. Tap Puzzles, and you'll be taken to the main Puzzles page, which includes the latest crosswords, plus an archive of past puzzles.
3. Subscribe to Apple News Plus
Tapping on a puzzle lets you start playing — if you're already an Apple News Plus subscriber. Otherwise, you'll be prompted to sign up for Apple News Plus. Tap the Get Started button — if you've not subscribed to Apple News Plus before, you may see an offer for a free month of service — and then follow the on-screen prompts to confirm your purchase.
You're now ready to play crosswords in the news app. Going forward, you should be able to find a new daily puzzle by heading to the Puzzles section of the Following tab.
How to play crossword puzzles in iOS 17 news
Filling out a crossword puzzle is pretty straightforward in the News app, though there are a few quirks related to the interface you'll need to get used to.
Clues appear just above the keyboard, and the puzzle itself will highlight the squares you're trying to fill in. To switch between Across and Down clues, tap on clue itself.
If you would prefer to see stacks of clues, rather than the grid layout of the puzzle, tap the list icon in the upper menu of the crossword puzzle. You'll see a display of the clues plus how many letters each word requires.
You can decide whether or not to show how long it's taking to finish a puzzle. Tap the clock icon above the puzzle to show the time; tap again to hide it, if you find that distracting.
Need a hint to make sure you're on the right track. Click the Check icon on the right side of the upper menu. There's an autocheck feature that, when enabled, will show you've used the wrong letter by running a red slash through your mistake. You can also check words and individual squares from this menu.
And that's a look at how crossword puzzles work in iOS 17 News. Looking for more help with Apple's latest iPhone software update? We've got a look at 11 hidden iOS 17 features you may have missed. We can also show you how to share passwords with trusted people in iOS 17 as well as how to send callers to voicemail with a single tap.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.