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How You Can Play Crossword Puzzles on Your iPhone With iOS 17

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While Apple fans wait for news on the upcoming iOS 18 update, the tech giant brought a fun feature to your iPhone when it released iOS 17. When Apple released that update in September, the company brought crossword puzzles to the News app. 

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While crosswords can be fun and entertaining, these puzzles can also expand a person’s vocabulary and stimulate thinking capacity, as well as provide a confidence boost, according to a study published in the Archives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

To access crossword puzzles in the News app, you need an Apple News Plus subscription, which costs $13 a month. You can try Apple News Plus for one month for free, or you can get the service for free for three months when you buy an iPhone, iPad or Mac. An Apple News Plus subscription is also part of the Apple One Premier bundle, which costs $38 a month and includes other services like Apple TV Plus and Apple Arcade.

Here’s how you can access daily crossword puzzles as an Apple News Plus subscriber.

Play crossword puzzles in Apple News

1. Open the Apple News app.
2. Tap Following in the menu across the bottom of your screen.
3. Tap Puzzles.

Apple News Plus puzzles page Apple News Plus puzzles page

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

From the Puzzles page, you can find the latest crosswords from the week. Across the top of the page, you’ll also see options for Crossword and Crossword Mini, which are smaller crossword puzzles arranged in a 5×5 grid. Tap either of these options, and the app takes you to the latest puzzles for either choice.

You can also access crossword puzzles by going to Apple News > Today and scrolling down the page until you see Latest Puzzles, but this option was pretty far down my Today page.

How to play the puzzles

Once you’ve decided on which puzzle to play, there are two ways you can solve them: grid view and list view. By default, you’ll enter grid view which is a traditional crossword puzzle layout. You see the whole grid, and if you tap a square you’ll see a clue below the puzzle. You can also switch between vertical and horizontal clues by tapping a square a second time or tapping the clue.

List view, on the other hand, eschews the traditional grid of a crossword puzzle and shows you all the clues and how many letters are in each answer in a list format. To access the list view, tap the bulleted list icon in the top left corner of your screen when you are in a puzzle. As you enter letters in the list view, letters in other clues begin populating where the clues intersect on the grid. I still think list view sounds tough, but I’m also not very good at crossword puzzles to start with.

How many puzzles are there?

There are two new puzzles every day, a crossword and a crossword mini. There is also an archive of past crosswords you can access. Follow the steps above then tap either Crossword or Crossword Mini. Then, below the Latest Puzzles you should see Archive. The puzzles from the last month are listed under Archive, and if you tap the arrow next to Archive you can access puzzles dating back to June 2023. 

For more on iOS 17, check out what features could be coming to your iPhone in iOS 17.5 and our iOS 17 cheat sheet. You can also check out what Apple announced at its May event.





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