Apple Maps Crimea screenshotSource: BBC

What you need to know

  • Apple has responded to outcry over its decision to amend Crimea in its Maps and Weather app.
  • Apple changed its software so that to Russian users, Crimea would appear as a Russian territory.
  • A statement says it will take "a deeper look" at disputed borders.

Apple has responded to backlash over its decision to relabel Crimea in its Maps and Weather software, by saying that it will take "a deeper look" at issues of disputed borders in its services.

Earlier this week it emerged that Apple had changed its Maps and Weather apps, to show Crimea as Russian territory. The change only affected users in Russia, but by many, it was seen as a highly controversial move. Russia's annexation of Crimea is not internationally recognized, notably by the EU and US, however in Russia it is against the law to suggest otherwise, a recent change that prompted the move by Apple.

Apple was slammed by critics, in particuler Ukraine's minister of Foreign Affairs over the incident. Now, in a statement, Apple has said it will take "a deeper look" at disputed borders in its service. According to CNBC an Apple response to the backlash stated:

"We would like to clarify for our customers around the world that we have not made any changes to Apple Maps regarding Crimea outside of Russia, where a new law went into effect that required us to update the map within Russia,"

"We review international law as well as relevant US and other domestic laws before making a determination in labeling on our Maps and make changes if required by law. We are taking a deeper look at how we handle disputed borders in our services and may make changes in the future as a result. Our intention is to make sure our customers can enjoy using Maps and other Apple services, everywhere in the world."

It is unclear from this what exactly "a deeper look" might entail, or whether any changes might be made to Apple's recent decision as a result. Looking forward, Apple will also have to contend with another recent Russian law change, which will require all technology sold in the country to ship with Russian-made, predetermined software, or risk being banned from sale in the country. This most recent episode is reminiscent of Apple's episode in Hong Kong, following an incident over Hong Kong mapping app HKmap.live.