An iOS Developer Technical Note has revealed changes in the way Apple’s Newsstand feature handles the app content of digital publications, and those changes could result in the loss of some past issues on some iOS devices.
TN2280 describes how Newsstand now requires that publication app content be stored in a central managed repository, as opposed to directly within the app, as was the pre-Newsstand practice.
Unfortunately, Apple states that this cache “is susceptible to eviction as system resources become low,” meaning that users may find their previously-downloaded publications missing from their device.
Apple requests that developers properly date and flag issues that a user is currently reading, to avoid having a current issue be purged from the cache, and users can always re-download purchased issues at any time.
The primary reason for this change is to keep backup times and storage requirements low. Including all downloaded publications in the application’s backup would not only take a significant amount of time, especially when backing up wirelessly to iCloud, but it would also consume a large amount of users’ storage allotment.
Considering that purged back-issues can be re-downloaded for free, it seems that Apple has attempted to strike a balance between accessibility and practicality and, as Apple phrases it in their technical note: “deliver the best experience for users.”
If you suddenly find that a back issue of one of your Newsstand publications is missing, you’ll now know what happened.