Apple predictive text “bug” shows Palestinian flag when typing “Jerusalem”

Must read

Conflicts in the Middle East could soon escalate

Conflicts in the Middle East could soon escalate 01:43

Apple said it is fixing a software glitch after coming under fire for the display of the Palestinian flag emoji when some iPhone users type “Jerusalem” using the device’s keyboard.

British television presenter Rachel Riley publicized the issue on X, formerly Twitter, saying the flag emoji suggestion appeared after she upgraded her iPhone software to the latest version, iOS 17.4.1.

“[N]ow, when I type the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, I’m offered the Palestinian flag emoji. This didn’t occur on my phone immediately before this update,” Riley wrote. 

The conspicuous appearance of the Palestinian flag, illustrated by a screenshot of an iPhone screen below, does not come up for all iPhone users. In her X post, Riley provided a “non-exhaustive” list of other city names, like London and Buenos Aires, that she said don’t prompt country flags when typed — “let along the wrong one.”

Israel-Hamas conflict
An iPhone user was prompted to use a Palestinian flag emoji after typing in the word “Jerusalem.”  Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

Keyboards on Apple products include tiny cartoon-like images, known as “emojis,” that users can use to enhance text or to express themselves beyond words.

Apple’s “predictive text” suggests specific emojis based on words and phrases users type. Users can then tap the small icon to use in place of the intended word.

Apple said it is fixing what it says was a flaw that was unintentionally plugged into the most recent software update. “We’re aware of a bug within predictive emoji in keyboard and it is not intended behavior. A fix will be in the next iOS update,” the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. 

Riley, the television presenter whose post went viral, blasted Apple for what she called “antisemitism.”

“Showing double standards with respect to Israel is a form of antisemitism, which is itself a form of racism against Jewish people,” Riley wrote on X. “Please explain whether this is an intentional act by your company, or whether you have no control over rogue programmers. Sincerely, a Jewish woman concerned about the global rise in antisemitism.”

Megan Cerullo

img-6153.jpg

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News Streaming to discuss her reporting.

More articles

Latest article