How to legally read articles behind paywalls for free in Safari on iPhone and iPad

The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, the Boston Globe, and similar big media publications may give you a few free articles monthly before you hit their paywall. Though nothing in this post is illegal, iDB encourages paying for news and publications that matter to you. That said, digital media subscriptions are not everyone’s cup of tea due to their usually high price, lack of payment methods, and several other reasons.

Here are three working methods for iPhone and iPad users to freely read articles that are behind a paywall or subscription.

Read paywall news articles for free without payment or subscription on iPhone

1. Use Safari Reader Mode

Safari browser has a super handy built-in Reader Mode that trims away the ads and presents you with the web page that’s easy to read with just the meaningful text and images. I can attest that Reader Mode also bypasses the paywall on several websites and lets you read news articles without signing up or purchasing a subscription.

Here’s how to use Reader Mode in Safari on iPhone or iPad to read content behind a paywall:

  1. Visit the article link in Safari. If the link is open in an in-app browser like that of Twitter, Instagram, etc., tap the Safari icon to open it in the Safari app.
  2. Tap AA in the address bar and choose Show Reader.
Use Safari Reader Mode to bypass paywall on news and other websites

That’s all. You can now read the article for free.

If you like, you can even set your iPhone to automatically invoke Safari’s Reader mode for specific websites.

2. Use the Bypass Paywall iOS shortcut

As publishers continue experimenting with digital subscriptions in an attempt to find that sweet pricing spot, one savvy user has decided to take matters into their own hands and come up with an iOS shortcut that bypasses article paywalls.

The Bypass Paywall shortcut, created by Reddit user l-0_0-l, takes advantage of Facebook’s redirect URL scheme to let you read full articles on the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and so forth, regardless of whether or not you’re a subscriber.

To be sure, this particular shortcut isn’t truly bypassing the paywall. Rather, it’s taking advantage of a feature that some publications like the Financial Times have optionally enabled, which basically permits people coming from Facebook to read paywall articles for free. As such, this is a simple workaround rather than a hack.

The shortcut is designed to be readily accessible from the iOS multi-purpose Share sheet, so it can be run from there whenever you encounter an article with a paywall.

Here is how to bypass article paywalls using this iOS shortcut:

  1. Visit this iCloud link, and tap Get Shortcut > Add Shortcut to have the Bypass Paywall shortcut on your iPhone or iPad. Refresh the page or re-tap the link if it doesn’t work on the first attempt and shows Not Found.
  2. To use the shortcut, launch Safari and go to an article that’s hidden behind a paywall.
  3. When greeted with a message saying you must subscribe to continue reading, tap the share button and choose Bypass Paywall.
  4. Tap Allow Once or Always Allow on a popup you may see.
  5. Doing so will open the mobile Facebook website to allow the shortcut to work its magic. You will then see a warning message saying you’re about to leave Facebook and follow the original article link. Tap the blue button labeled Follow Link.
Use Bypass Paywall iOS shortcut on iPhone

And just like that, the full article is loaded even though you don’t have a subscription.

Read paywalled FT article for free

If this method to read paid articles doesn’t work after the first time, copy the article link and open it in a private Safari tab. It should work now. And if that also fails, clear Safari browsing history, and it should work. Note that clearing your browser history will also log you out of all apps.

Note: If the shortcut is run manually in the Shortcuts app or in an unsupported context (i.e., there’s no URL passed to it), you’ll be asked to type in the article URL manually.

Manually use the Facebook URL

The above shortcut makes things easy by fooling the website into thinking that the user is coming via Facebook, and it should not block the content with a paywall.

If you don’t want to use the shortcut, simply copy this Facebook URL (, paste it before the paywalled article URL you wish to read and hit the enter key.

The website will think you have come from Facebook and thus won’t show you the paywall screen. Here’s an example:

Paywalled article URL:

New URL after adding the Facebook link:

Just like the shortcut method, if this trick doesn’t work more than once, open a private Safari tab and paste the FB+Article URL there.

3. Use or

Finally, we have another method to read paywalled articles without a subscription or payment on iPhone or iPad. This involves using an archive website, and unlike the Facebook method, it should work on all occasions, not just the first attempt. Here’s how:

  1. Copy the URL of the paywalled article you wish to read.
  2. Visit or and paste the link there.
  3. Tap save, and now you have free access to the article. Zoom the page to read comfortably.
Use archive website to read paywall articles without payment or subscription

Read news, articles, opinions, and content behind a paywall

These were some of the easy ways to read the post without subscribing. Besides that, other tricks that may or may not work are:

  • Hit the stop button (x) before the page has fully loaded in the browser and you may not see the paywall.
  • Disable your browser’s javascript and try visiting the page again.
  • Use Wayback Machine to find a cached/saved copy of the paywalled article.

That said, we again encourage you to use the above methods sparingly and subscribe to new outlets that matter to you. Doing so ensures revenue for the publisher and helps keep their lights on.

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