BBC News – a new Widget for Android

Posted by jimblackler on Jul 3, 2009


28th May 2011: BBC News is now UK & World News. Two years on, two million downloads later, same app, new name. I hope you all continue to enjoy reading the BBC News site through my app.

Original article

nw_detailBBC News is a widget for Android for that shows you the latest news headlines in a compact 2 x 1 widget on the Android home screen. Clicking on the widget takes you to a full list of headlines and more story details.

In the headline view, clicking on a headline will in turn take you to the mobile version of the BBC News page on your Android browser.

Feed selection

Each widget can be customised to show content from any of the BBC’s feeds. The default is the Most Popular feed, but users can choose others such as Sports headlines, Entertainment or Technology news.

Android users outside the UK will see the international versions of feeds and stories. UK users will see the local version by default, although any user can switch between UK and international versions in the Preferences.

You can have multiple widgets on your home screen. They will not normally show the same story, so if you set up three widgets from the same feed you will have the first, second and third headlines shown, in the order the widgets were added.

This isn’t a general purpose feed reader. It is customised to the style of the excellent BBC News feeds to give the best experience. I saw some RSS widgets but they try to include too much text on the widget, and the result is hard to read. Also they did not use the thumbnails that accompany each story, losing the visual appeal that they add.


Download BBC News from the Android market now.


This program is free software under the Apache license. Supported by BBC Backstage.

I hope you enjoy BBC News. As always, leave bugs and requests here. Even if you just enjoyed the app and would like to let me know. I read all comments but I have only around an hour a day for development so I usually can’t fulfil requests. I normally act when several people start asking for the same thing.


[…] you are not fan of the official  BBC News Android App, you might want to check out Jim Blacker’s version that focuses on retrieving the latest news content and providing it very efficiently, rather than […]

May 26th, 2011 | 4:02 am

Hi, is there a reason the widget was removed from the app? a shame as I liked it on my Desire HD. There is a quite a few one star comments on the market as there was no mention of the widget being removed, just the name change…

May 29th, 2011 | 7:40 pm

Hi Jay what happened was I enabled Apps to SD (accidentally) which has this side effect. I am pushing an update to correct this.

May 29th, 2011 | 7:54 pm

Hi Jim,
I still cannot open articles with the app, when I’m connected with 3G, it works fine with Wifi. The website open correctly, but the app can’t open selected article.
Another suggestion, can you allow the download of the articles and cache them so I can do that with wifi at home, then read them offline in the subway?

June 8th, 2011 | 3:17 pm

Hi Jim….

I have an issue with the app ‘UK & World News’ where it displays the ‘Breaking News’ in the notification area in black text only. This causes problems as my notifaction area has a very dark grey background and is almost unreadable!

Could there be an option to have a custom font colour to rectify this, as there are so many ROMS for Android nowadays….?

Many thanks….

July 8th, 2011 | 12:41 am

This is probably my most used app (including Angry Birds) so a big thank you!
I would, humbly, like to make a suggestion regarding the update times.
I commute in to work, and so I have specific times of the day when I want to read, so would like an update just before this.
This also means that I could schedule for when I know I’m normally at home (so can use the WiFi) rather than on the tube, where the signal is not so good.

Could there be an option to update at specific time, or times, as an alternative to the interval settings used?
Just a thought.

July 14th, 2011 | 11:43 am

Hi, ABC Australia has changed its top stories feed, is there a way I can change this? Cheers and thanks for a fantastic news app!

July 19th, 2011 | 11:30 am

Hi, if you update this app in the future, could you reinstate apps2sd please? I would personally like to have the choice whether to have the app on SD and load from a shortcut, or on the phone and use a widget. For this reason I have kept the ‘accidental’ apps2sd version as I prefer the former option.

Thanks – your app is still the one I go to most for news, despite the official BBC app that has far fewer stories (albeit prettier).

November 14th, 2011 | 12:33 am

Hi Jim – Many thanks for this great app – as others have said it is the most used app on my phone. So imagine my dismay when I saw this morning that the BBC have gone and broken it with their new Sports site redesign! Not quite sure what is happening, but when you go to a recent article it seems to download a lot of data and displays more like a full web page than the usual text summary. I (and I’m sure many others) would be very grateful if you could take a look…

February 1st, 2012 | 10:56 pm

Hey Jim,

Love the app, I’ve been using it on android for a long time now, I prefer it’s design to many of the other NBC news apps out there, cheers for an awesome app.

I did recently though get myself a 4s , and I’m looking to see if you have any plans to develop ‘uk & world news’ for ios? I’d be quite happy to pay for such an app as I’m sure many others would too. Do you have any plans like this?


February 28th, 2012 | 10:10 pm

Thanks Wil… I have considered it. I am an IOS developer in my day job. I am thinking about a variety of routes for news apps… not made any decisions yet.

February 28th, 2012 | 11:45 pm
Gordon Nicol:

Hi Jim,
Really love this app. It is absolutely what is needed in our busy lifestyle. Just the headlines and, if we’re interested, we can dig a little deeper. Thanks so much for such a grrrreat app !

January 15th, 2013 | 9:56 pm
David Hollingsworth:

Love the App, but, having moved to a new phone with Android 4.4.2, I can’t find a way to access the settings (About, Preferences, View Notes Etc).
Am I missing something?

December 18th, 2014 | 3:09 pm

Hi David, some handsets have the menu button as three vertical dots on the bar at the bottom of the screen.

December 18th, 2014 | 11:59 pm
David Hollingsworth:

Hi Jim
Thanks for answering so quickly.
Unfortunately, although apps usually show the three dots, for access to options etc, This app does not.
The phone is a Samsung S5 Mini running Android 4.4.2

I could take a screenshot, if that helps, but not sure how to send it to you.

Thanks again

Dave H

December 19th, 2014 | 8:34 am
Dave H:

Hi Jim
Thanks for answering so quickly.
Unfortunately, although apps usually show the three dots, for access to options etc, This app does not.
The phone is a Samsung S5 Mini running Android 4.4.2

I could take a screenshot, if that helps, but not sure how to send it to you.

Thanks again

Dave H

January 16th, 2015 | 3:43 pm

The BBC app no longer works properly – most artcles’ summary doesn’t display. Do you plan to correct this? I love the app and I’ve been waiting for an update, but will soon give up and find another news feed.

September 30th, 2015 | 8:44 am

Hi Oded, I’m working on a fix. Probably something in a couple of weeks.

September 30th, 2015 | 10:38 am
Keith Farvis:

Hi Jim, this is still my favourite news app, but as well as stopping suddenly when certain other apps are running, it is now using more of my data than any other app.

Are you still maintaining this app, as I do think it is the best news app or there.

January 1st, 2017 | 3:50 pm
Toby G:

Hi Jim. This is a great app, looking at my screen time, I use the app approx 4 times every day, for a daily total of 30 minutes. I’ve been using the app for 10+ years. Therefore I was horrified today when I set up my new phone to find the app, wasn’t available in the play store. After some searching I downloaded the APK from the internet and installed it that way. It installed and it’s working great on android 13.

I also found this website, I was wondering why the app isn’t available in the play store? I’ve thought for a long time that the app could have had a advert in one of the news slots, and a 99p remove ads feature. But I guess it becomes more of a commitment to ensure its working. But there’s a few apps I’ve used a lot and and felt the developer deserves some recognition.

Thanks for a great app! (I’m hoping it continues to work for many more years)

January 14th, 2023 | 9:27 am
Leave a Reply