Reddit is blocking logins on mobile for some users, asking them to use the official Reddit app

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 12, 2023

Some Reddit users have noticed that they can't sign-in to their accounts anymore on mobile, as the option to do so has been removed for them. Reddit has made it difficult in the past for users to access the site on mobile in browsers. The company's main intention is to get users to use the official Reddit application instead.

The experiment goes hand in hand with a major change regarding third-party applications on Reddit. Late last month, Reddit announced new pricing for API access. The API of the service is used by third-party applications and services to display Reddit content to users. This API was free to use up to that point.

While it is understandable that a service may want compensation for access to its data, Reddit appears to have set the pricing exorbitantly high. The developer of the iOS exclusive Apollo app claimed that he would have to pay $20 million per year to Reddit for API access.

The consequence is that many third-party application developers have announced that they are shutting down their Reddit apps on June 30, 2023. A protest movement on Reddit tries to force the hand of the company by locking access to thousands, of popular subreddits on the site for a 48 hour period.

Subreddits are like forums on Reddit. Some popular ones have millions of users and drive a lot of traffic to the site. Reddit's CEO already revealed that Reddit would not make changes to its plans despite thousands of subreddits going dark on the site.

Limiting Mobile Access

Reddit is running an experiment on the site currently that limits mobile access to some users. These users notice that they can no longer sign-in to the site using a mobile browser. Reddit asks them to use the official application on mobile to access the site while signed-in to their account.

Signing-in gives Reddit users access to their history on the site, to bookmarks, and the ability to interact on the site actively. They may post new threads or comments, or communicate with other users directly among other things.

A Reddit administrator confirmed here that the site was running an experiment currently on the site that is limiting access on mobile for some users. They stated: "It looks like you’re part of one of our experiments. The logged-in mobile web experience is currently unavailable for a portion of users. To access the site you can log on via desktop, the mobile apps, or wait for the experiment to conclude."

Some affected users were able to fix the issue by clearing Reddit site data and cookies.

The motivation behind the user unfriendly moves

Reddit is interested in getting users to use its application on mobile. Use of a dedicated mobile app gives the company access to valuable data, more control, and the ability to display advertisement to users.

Third-party applications or mobile browsers allow users to get rid of ads, e.g., by using content blockers, and they limit Reddit's tracking abilities also.

Closing Words

It remains to be seen if Reddit will indeed go ahead with the planned changes regarding API access, or if company and third-party application developers will find a compromise. The going dark movement will likely not be sufficient to convince Reddit, but the participating subreddits could consider extending the period of going dark further.

There is a subreddit for Reddit Alternatives, which users of the site may check out and monitor for potential alternatives. Some of these are picking up lots of users already, but it remains to be seen if that is going to be similar to Twitter users leaving for Mastadon, which appears to have had little impact on Twitter, or bigger than that.

One potential alternative, which has not been mentioned yet in the discussion, is the Usenet.

Now You: do you use Reddit?

Reddit is blocking logins on mobile for some users, asking them to use the official Reddit app
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Reddit is blocking logins on mobile for some users, asking them to use the official Reddit app
Reddit runs an experiment on its mobile site currently that prevents logins if a mobile web browser is used.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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