Q: I have a question regarding the Newsstand app on iOS devices. Are subscriptions (e.g. magazines) transferable between devices like iBooks are? I can’t seem to find a definitive answer. I have a fourth-generation iPod touch and first-generation iPad.
A: The short answer is yes, however this works a bit differently from iBooks, since Newsstand subscriptions/issues are not stored in or synced from your iTunes library, but instead come directly from the publisher.
Essentially, Newsstand applications work in the same manner as any other iOS app and use Apple’s in-app purchasing system (IAP) to buy individual issues or subscriptions which are then delivered over-the-air from the publisher’s servers. As with any other iOS app, your purchased are tied to your iTunes Store account and not your individual device, and you can install a Newsstand app on any supported iOS device that shares the same iTunes Store account.
In fact, Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines explicitly state that content subscriptions must be “available to the user from all of their iOS devices.”
Note that by default, you won’t necessarily see your Newsstand subscriptions or purchases when you first install a Newsstand app on a different device. Most apps will require you to either sign in to the publisher’s own service or provide a Restore Purchases/Subscriptions button somewhere in the app to allow you to sync up your subscription and previously purchased content. The exact method for handling this varies slightly from app to app, with some apps actually prompting you to restore your purchases as soon as you open the app, while others bury a button under the “Store” or “Account Info” pages.
Also keep in mind that many Newsstand apps are only available for the iPad, which rules out accessing your subscriptions on an iPhone or iPod touch simply for compatibility reasons, although you can still share subscriptions across multiple iPads, such as among two or more family members.