Apple Sports

Apple Newsroom:

“We created Apple Sports to give sports fans what they want — an app that delivers incredibly fast access to scores and stats,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Services. “Apple Sports is available for free in the App Store, and makes it easy for users to stay up to date with their favorite teams and leagues.”


  • Apple Sports is indeed incredibly fast to load and update. Nearly instantaneous. You might think, “So what, it’s just loading scores and stats, of course it’s fast”, but the truth is ad tech, combined with poor programming, has made most sports apps slow to load. Most apps, period, really. Just being very fast to load ought not be a hugely differentiating factor in 2024, but it is. (ESPN’s app, for example, is incredibly slow to show anything useful after launching.)

  • Apple isn’t listing several major sports leagues — including MLB, WNBA, and the king of all leagues, the NFL — but that’s simply because they’re not in season. They’re only listing leagues currently playing. MLB, WNBA, and NFL will be included once they start playing.

  • Apple is including betting odds in game listings by default, with data from DraftKings. If you don’t want to see gambling odds, you need to turn them off in Settings → Sports. I like DraftKings, and have an account there, but I generally find that their odds are outliers and fluctuate more from the consensus odds. FanDuel and BetMGM are both more in line with the consensus, at least for the NFL. (I have no idea whether either FanDuel or BetMGM offer odds as an API service for an app like Sports, though.) Anyway, I’m just glad the odds are there.

  • Live activities for your lock screen are available, but Sports doesn’t — yet — offer any Home Screen widgets.

  • Just like Apple’s new Journal app, Sports is iPhone-only. There’s no version for Mac, Vision, TV, or Watch. The difference from Journal is that Journal is built-into iOS 17 (17.2 and later), but Sports is a download from the App Store — not built into the OS (yet?) — and can be installed on an iPad. But on iPad, it just runs in an iPhone layout. Does Apple think this Sports app is only relevant on iPhone (and perhaps, eventually, Apple Watch), or is this just the platform they targeted first and it’ll be available as a proper iPad and Vision app eventually? (I’m thinking it might never be a Mac app. Once Sports offers Home Screen widgets, you’ll be able to get those widgets on your Mac desktop via the feature that lets you put iPhone app widgets on your Mac.)

  • I generally have a good sense of why Apple does things the way it does, but it’s not clear to me at all why Journal, say, is now built into iOS 17 but Sports is only available from the App Store. I sort of think Sports will be included by default in iOS 18, but maybe I’m missing something here.

  • Sports syncs your favorite teams (and leagues?) between the Apple TV and Apple News apps, so if you’ve already set favorite teams in either of those apps, Sports already knows them. Sports also integrates with the TV app for “watch now” — not just for sports that Apple itself broadcasts (like MLS soccer and Friday Night Baseball), but for any live sporting events available through any available streaming apps. That’s a killer feature. (ESPN, unsurprisingly, only has “where to watch” links for games broadcast on ESPN or ABC.)

  • The app this most sherlocks for me is Sports Alerts. I’ve been a big fan of Sports Alerts for years, and they’ve been great about adopting new features like Lock Screen Live Activities very quickly. But Apple Sports looks far better and offers far more clarity; Sports Alerts looks like what it is: a cross-platform app with an Android look-alike companion. A truly iOS-native live sports scores/stats app ought to be able to blow anything cross-platform out of the water, and Apple Sports seems to be that. Yahoo Sports has been sitting in my App Library, mostly unused, for years — I’ll probably delete it now.

The design language of Apple Sports is new. I wouldn’t say Sports looks much like Journal, but they’re similar insofar as they both are using a new, very simple, very focused UI design language. Sports is closest aesthetically, perhaps, to Apple Weather. But Sports shares with Journal a sort of fundamental “Here’s a scrollable feed of events, and there’s a menu at the top right of the list” gestalt. Sports’s simple layout and design is such that you don’t need to drill down or hunt for what you want. You get three main utterly self-explanatory tabs at the top — Yesterday, Today, Upcoming — and within each tab is a list of sporting events. Tap any event to open a card for that event with all the details, and from that card view, you can either swipe side-to-side to switch between different different events, or swipe down to dismiss the card and go back to the main list. It’s so simple and intuitive that it doesn’t seem designed at all, but that’s the sort of design that takes the most work and most iteration.

One question I’ve already seen asked is why make this a standalone app? Why not build it into the TV app or News app? The answer is speed, focus, and simplicity. There’s a natural tendency in our industry — especially from big companies — to keep adding more and more features to existing apps and services. A big part of what made the iPhone so revolutionary was that the iPhone reset the thinking on that. The iPhone way of thinking is to have more apps that are smaller and more focused, not fewer apps that are bigger and more monolithic. Apple Sports exemplifies why it’s a better idea to design smaller, more focused apps.

It’s very rare for a new iPhone app, immediately upon debut, to land a spot on my first iPhone Home Screen. But Journal did, and so now has Sports.