How to Get Around Paywalls On Android and iPhone

Edwin Parker
By Edwin Parker 19 Min Read
19 Min Read

Hey there! Have you ever tried to read an interesting article on popular news sites like The Washington Post or The New York Times, only to find out you need a subscription to access it? It’s a bummer, right? Especially if you’re just interested in a couple of articles and don’t want to commit to a full subscription.

Well, guess what? You don’t always have to open your wallet or switch to a different site to find similar news. If you’re using an Android or iPhone, there are some clever tricks you can use to bypass these paywalls without spending a dime.

In this guide, I’m going to share these super handy tips and tricks. They’ll help you read those one-off articles easily, without the hassle of a subscription. Let’s dive into the world of smart browsing and discover how to get around paywalls on your Android and iPhone devices! 📱🔓

How to Get Around Paywalls on Android Phones

Are you an Android user looking to read articles behind paywalls without a subscription? Great news! You don’t need any special apps to do this. I’ll show you the easiest way to bypass these paywalls, especially using the popular Chrome browser. Let’s get into it!

Way 1: Turn Off JavaScript on Your Browser

Turning off JavaScript in your Chrome browser can be a game-changer. It’s like having a secret key to unlock those articles hidden behind paywalls. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Start Chrome: Open the Chrome app on your Android phone and head to your favorite news site.
  2. Access Settings: Look for the Hamburger icon (🍔) at the top right corner of your screen and tap on it.
  3. Go to Browser Settings: Scroll down in the menu until you find ‘Settings’, and then tap on it.
  4. Find Site Settings: In the Settings menu, look for ‘Site Settings’ and give it a tap.
  5. Disable JavaScript: In Site Settings, you’ll see an option for ‘JavaScript’. Go there and turn off JavaScript.

Way 2: Go to the Required Website

If turning off JavaScript didn’t work for you, don’t worry! There’s another simple method to bypass paywalls on your Android phone – by disabling cookies. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Browser Settings: Start by tapping the three dots at the top right corner of your Chrome browser.
  2. Select Settings: From the dropdown menu, choose ‘Settings’.
  3. Navigate to Site Settings: In the Settings menu, you’ll find an option for ‘Site Settings’. Tap on that.
  4. Disable Cookies: Within Site Settings, look for the ‘Cookies’ option. Once you find it, switch it off.
  5. Refresh the Page: After turning off cookies, go back to the article page and refresh it.

Wait for a couple of minutes, and voilà! You should now have full access to the article. This method is quite straightforward and works well as an alternative if disabling JavaScript didn’t do the trick.

Way 3: Use Incognito Tab

Still looking for ways to read those locked articles? Here’s another neat trick: using the Incognito Mode on your Android phone’s browser. Incognito Mode is like a ninja move for browsing – it lets you read without leaving any traces. Here’s how to use it to bypass paywalls:

  1. Copy the Article Link: On the page of the article you want to read, tap the three dots at the top right corner of your Chrome browser. Choose the option to copy the link of the article. You can also do this by simply tapping on the address bar and copying the URL.
  2. Open an Incognito Tab: Tap again on the three dots and this time, select ‘New incognito tab’. Incognito Mode is a private browsing mode that doesn’t save your browsing history.
  3. Paste the Link and Read: In the Incognito tab, paste the link you copied earlier. Once the page loads, you should be able to read the full article without any paywall interruptions.
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How to Get Around Paywalls on i-phone

Running into paywalls on your iPhone when trying to read articles from big names like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, or Wired? These paywalls are there to encourage subscriptions, but if you’re only looking to read an article or two, you might not want to commit to a subscription. Luckily, there are ways to get around these paywalls using your iPhone, without the need for any special software or browser extensions. Let’s explore how you can enjoy reading articles freely on your iPhone or iPad.

Many of us prefer reading articles on our mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads. With a few easy steps, you can access the content behind those paywalls. The process might be slightly different from what you’d do on an Android device, but it’s just as straightforward. Stay tuned for the upcoming methods that will help you bypass paywalls and get your reading fix on your iPhone! 📱🔓

Disable JavaScript on Safari to Bypass Paywall

Most iPhone users browse the web using Safari. Disabling JavaScript in Safari can help you bypass many paywalls. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open Settings: First, find the ‘Settings’ app on your iPhone and open it.
  2. Find Safari Settings: Scroll down in the Settings menu until you see ‘Safari’. Tap on it.
  3. Advanced Options: In the Safari settings, scroll down to the bottom and find the ‘Advanced’ option.
  4. Disable JavaScript: Tap on ‘Advanced’, and you’ll see an option for ‘JavaScript’. Simply turn it off.

Now, try accessing the article again. With JavaScript disabled, the paywall might not be able to block you.

Install Unpaywall to Get Past Paywall

Unpaywall is a handy tool for bypassing paywalls, but it’s only available for iPhones, not Androids. Here’s how to get it:

  1. Download Unpaywall: Use the iCloud link provided to download the Unpaywall shortcut. Tap on the ‘Get Shortcut’ button, which will open the Shortcuts mobile app.
  2. Add Untrusted Shortcut: After reviewing the shortcut’s contents, scroll down and select ‘Add Untrusted Shortcut’ to add Unpaywall to your device.
  3. Enable Untrusted Shortcuts: Before you can add Unpaywall, you need to enable ‘Untrusted Shortcuts’. Go to ‘Settings’, find ‘Shortcuts’, and toggle on ‘Allow Untrusted Shortcuts’.

Now Bypass Paywall in iPhone

Great! You’re on your way to bypassing those pesky paywalls on your iPhone. Let’s dive into the steps for using Unpaywall, and then I’ll guide you through a more advanced option called AntiPaywall.

  1. Access the Article: Open Safari and navigate to the article behind the paywall. Let’s say you’re trying to read something from The New York Times.
  2. Open the Share Sheet: At the bottom of the Safari screen, tap the share icon. This brings up the Share Sheet.
  3. Activate Unpaywall: Scroll through the Share Sheet until you find ‘Unpaywall’. It’s usually at the end of your shortcuts list if it’s the most recent one you added. Tap on it.
  4. Grant Permission: The first time you use Unpaywall, you’ll need to tap ‘OK’ to give it permission to access the website.
  5. Read Your Article: You’ll be redirected back to Safari where the paywall should now be bypassed, and you can read the article.

Here You Go Read the Article

AntiPaywall is another great shortcut, similar to Unpaywall, but with more advanced features:

  • Beyond Paywalls: It does more than just bypass paywalls – you can also annotate, highlight, and save articles to your Notes app.
  • Wider Compatibility: Works with most paywalls.

Before you use AntiPaywall, you need to install it. The installation process is similar to Unpaywall, where you’ll need to enable ‘Untrusted Shortcuts’ in your iPhone settings.

These methods should make your reading experience on the iPhone more seamless, helping you access high-quality journalism and articles without hitting the paywall barrier.

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The Thing You Have to Ensure Before Installing Antipaywall

Great, you’re interested in installing AntiPaywall on your iPhone! This tool can really enhance your reading experience by not only bypassing paywalls but also offering additional features like annotating and saving articles. Here’s what you need to do to get ready for AntiPaywall:

1. Ensure iOS Compatibility

  • Update to iOS 14: While AntiPaywall can work on earlier versions, it’s best used with iOS 14. If you haven’t updated your iPhone to this version yet, consider doing so. Not only for AntiPaywall, but iOS 14 also comes with a lot of other benefits.

2. Have the Shortcuts App Ready

  • Shortcuts App: Make sure you have the Shortcuts app installed on your iPhone. This app usually comes pre-installed, but if you’ve removed it, you can download it again from the App Store at no cost.

3. Consider Installing UpdateKit

  • UpdateKit for Easy Updates: UpdateKit is not mandatory, but it’s a useful tool to keep your shortcuts like AntiPaywall up to date. It simplifies the process of updating shortcuts, letting you enjoy new features without manual reinstallation.

At First, You Have to Add the AntiPaywall Shortcut

  1. Download AntiPaywall: You can download AntiPaywall, created by RoutineHub user roger, from the direct link provided or from its RoutineHub page. As of December 17th, the latest version is 2.0.
  2. Launch the Shortcut: Tap “Get Shortcut” if the Shortcuts app doesn’t open automatically. This will redirect you to the Shortcuts app.
  3. Add the Shortcut: In the Shortcuts app, review AntiPaywall’s activities. Then, add it to your library by tapping the red “Add Untrusted Shortcut” button.

With these steps, you’ll be all set to use AntiPaywall on your iPhone. It’s a fantastic way to access a variety of articles and news stories without the hassle of paywalls, while also enjoying the benefits of added features like article annotation.

Read Blocked Articles in Safari Using AntiPaywall

Now that you’ve added AntiPaywall to your library, it’s time to use it to read those blocked articles in Safari. This process is straightforward and gives you multiple options to access the content you’re interested in. Here’s how to do it:

Accessing Paywalled Articles with AntiPaywall

  1. Find a Paywalled Article: Open Safari and go to the article you want to read. If you found the article on a social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, open it in Safari. You can also use other browsers like Firefox or Chrome, but remember that the process ultimately redirects to Safari.
  2. Use the Share Feature: On the article’s webpage in Safari, tap the Share icon in the toolbar. In the Share sheet that appears, scroll down to find “AntiPaywall” in the actions list.
  3. Alternative Method: Alternatively, you can copy the article’s URL to your clipboard, open the Shortcuts app, and tap the “AntiPaywall” card in the “My Shortcuts” tab. While sharing directly is more convenient, it’s good to have another option.

Navigating the AntiPaywall Menu

Once you activate AntiPaywall, you’ll see a menu with several options:

  • Start with an outline: This option helps you begin reading the article.
  • Use as a website: Allows you to view the article as a regular webpage.
  • Save the article to your Notes app: For keeping the article for later reference.
  • Modify update settings: Here, you can enable or disable automatic checks for updates.

First-Time Setup and UpdateKit

  • Grant Permission: The first time you use AntiPaywall, you’ll need to allow access to the Shortcuts app. Tap “OK” if prompted.
  • UpdateKit Prompts: If you have UpdateKit installed, you may be prompted about downloading or using it. Again, tap “OK” to proceed.
  • Without UpdateKit: If you don’t have UpdateKit, you can either install it for ease of updates or remove the UpdateKit procedure from the shortcut to avoid prompts. You can also use the “Change update settings” option to disable automatic updates.

Start with an outline

The ‘Start with an outline’ feature is a minimalist’s dream. It strips away distractions like ads, images, videos, and sidebars, offering a clean and focused reading experience. It’s somewhat akin to Safari’s Reader View but with added functionality. Here’s what you get:

  • Read Without Distractions: You’ll be directed to a new tab where the web content is presented in a simplified format.
  • Annotate and Highlight: The outline mode allows you to make notes and highlight text within the article. However, to use these features, you need to create a free account with Outline.
  • Compatibility: While this feature works well with many sites, it might not work with certain paywalls like those of The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times. You’ll learn quickly which sites are compatible, such as Medium.
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Using a Website to Bypass Paywall Articles

The ‘Using a website’ option deals directly with the HTML content of the article:

  • First-time Permission: The first time you use this feature, AntiPaywall will ask for permission to access a website. Tap “OK” to proceed.
  • Downloading the Article: After granting permission, you’ll have the option to download the article. Choosing “Yes!” opens the Files app, where you can save the HTML file in a directory of your choice.
  • Preview and Read: If you select “Nope,” a preview page will appear over the Share sheet, allowing you to read the full content. You can then share the article or go back to the Share sheet by tapping “Done.”
  • Wider Compatibility: This method tends to work with a broader range of sites, including The New York Times, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post, making it a more versatile choice for bypassing paywalls.

Using Notes to Download and Read Paywall Articles

The ‘Using Notes’ option in AntiPaywall offers another convenient way to access articles behind paywalls:

  • Saving Articles in Notes: When you select this option, AntiPaywall will prompt you for permission to access your Notes app. Once you grant it, the shortcut will create a new note with the full article content.
  • Content in Notes: The note will include the article’s title, author, source link, date saved, and the main body text. However, be aware that images and videos won’t be included.
  • Ideal for Keeping and Sharing: This method is great if you want to save articles for later reference or share them with others.
  • Compatibility: Like the Outline option, it doesn’t work with all paywalls and has a similar success rate.

Conclusion

And that’s how you can get around paywalls on both Android and iPhone devices. Whether you prefer disabling JavaScript, using browser-specific features, or leveraging shortcuts like Unpaywall and AntiPaywall, there’s a method that suits your needs.

Remember, these methods are designed to help you access individual articles on a case-by-case basis, particularly useful when you don’t want to commit to a subscription for just a few articles.

Thanks for following along with this guide! I hope you found these tips helpful and that they enhance your reading experience. Dive in, explore these methods, and happy reading! If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I read articles from sites like The New York Times for free on my Android device?

Yes, you can use methods like disabling JavaScript in your browser or turning off cookies to bypass paywalls and read articles for free on Android devices.

How do I disable JavaScript in my Chrome browser on Android?

To disable JavaScript in Chrome on Android, go to Settings > Site Settings > JavaScript, and then turn off the JavaScript setting.

What is Incognito Mode, and how can it help bypass paywalls on Android?

Incognito Mode is a private browsing mode in browsers that doesn't save your browsing history. You can use it to bypass paywalls by copying the article link and opening it in an Incognito tab.

Can I bypass paywalls on my iPhone without special software?

Yes, you can bypass paywalls on an iPhone using Safari-specific methods like disabling JavaScript or using shortcuts like Unpaywall and AntiPaywall.

How does the Unpaywall shortcut work on iPhone?

Unpaywall allows you to bypass paywalls by sharing the article link to the Unpaywall shortcut in the Shortcuts app, which then provides access to the article.

What are the features of AntiPaywall, and how does it differ from Unpaywall?

AntiPaywall not only bypasses paywalls but also allows for annotation and saving articles to the Notes app. It's more advanced than Unpaywall and works with a broader range of paywalls.
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