If you updated your iPhone to iOS 12.2, you'll notice in the Apple News app that there are no longer "Love" and "Dislike" buttons inside stories. Why did Apple remove them? And will they make a comeback?
The short answer to both of those questions? We don't know. We've reached out to Apple to see why they were removed and if they will reappear in a future update, but as of this writing, we have not heard back yet. Until we get an official answer, we can only guess.
My best guess is that is was an unintended consequence of rolling out the Apple News+ subscription service. There is currently no way to share anything, let alone Love or Dislike it, in the magazine, news, or other premium content inside the "News+" tab. As such, it may have just been a snafu that the Love (heart) and Dislike (crossed-out heart) icons were removed from stories in the "Today" feed.
There is still plenty of space in the bottom left of stories to include the buttons, but for now, it's just wasted space down there. The action button (aka share button) was moved to the top right inside stories, which makes it seem intentional that Apple removed the Love and Dislike buttons. Why move an icon and forget about the other two that were with it?
Okay, but the real issue here is why this matters. Personally, after I read a story, I'll Love or Dislike it right then and there. But now, in iOS 12.2, you have to hit the action button, then swipe along the action extensions to find the "Love Story" or "Dislike Story" options. That's a few more steps than before.
You could also tap the back button and swipe left on the story in the "Today" feed to reveal the "Love Story" button. Likewise, swiping right on the story shows the "Dislike Story" button. You can also use 3D Touch to peek and swipe up to view the action sheet where the "Love Story" and "Dislike Story" options show up. There are no action buttons anymore in the "Today" feed, so that option is no longer viable.
However, the problem with the "Today" feed options is that the feed is always updating. If you're just browsing the feed and Love or Dislike something without actually reading it, that's fine. But if you were reading it and tapped the back button to view it in the feed again, there's the likelihood that Apple News will automatically refresh itself, pushing your article down below, difficult to find again without viewing your "History" in the "Following" tab.
We're hoping this is just a minor oversight by Apple, who has removed features such as this before just to throw them back in in a future update. For instance, when it removed Apple Music star ratings in iOS 10 and added them back in iOS 10.2.
As for other notable tweaks to Apple News: The action button is gone from each story in the "Today" feed view; "Apple" was swapped out with the Apple icon in the "Today" feed; the News icon and current temperature were removed from the "Today" feed; the "Digest" middle tab was replaced with the "News+" tab; the action button moved from bottom left to top right in stories; and the "Next Up In" label in the bottom right of stories was replaced with a simple "Next."