Apple’s Maps and Weather apps now mark Crimea as part of Ukraine when accessed outside of Russia. It appears the company has quietly updated its stance on the territorial dispute. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine may have something to do with it.
Previously, Apple’s apps tried to sidestep the issue by refusing to record Crimea as part of any country when accessed in most places. However, in 2019 Apple updated its Maps and Weather apps to show Crimea as part of Russia when viewed within Russia, defying international consensus and angering Ukrainians.
The decision to acknowledge Russia’s claim was loudly criticised by Ukrainian officials at the time, with Ukraine’s U.S. embassy tweeting, “[L]et’s all remind Apple that #CrimeaIsUkraine and it is under Russian occupation – not its sovereignty.” Meanwhile, Russian officials characterised the move as a correction of an “inaccuracy.”
Now it seems Apple is taking a slightly different stance, clearly marking the peninsula as part of Ukraine — at least outside Russia. Apple Maps and Weather now consider Crimea to be Ukrainian territory when accessed from other countries including the U.S., Australia, and, of course, Ukraine.
Mashable has reached out to Apple to inquire when the change was made, as well as whether Crimea is still marked as Russian territory when accessed from Russia.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, conducting a military invasion of the peninsula and installing new officials. A referendum was then held asking how Crimea would like to leave Ukraine, providing no option for it to remain.
The majority of the international community condemned Russia’s actions, refusing to recognise its claim over Crimea and considering the referendum illegal and illegitimate. The country was also suspended from the G8 and subjected to sanctions in response to the invasion.
None of these penalties appear to have deterred Russia though, if its most recent invasion of Ukraine is anything to go by.
Earlier this week Apple responded to the invasion by halting product sales within Russia, as well as removing Russia Today and Sputnik News from App Stores outside the country. Changes to the Apple Maps and Weather apps were not mentioned in the announcement.
“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the situation and are in communication with relevant governments on the actions we are taking.”