Apple issues fix for Palestinian flag controversy in iOS 17.5

iOS Jerusalem Palestinian flag
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Apple released new betas of iOS 17.5 on Tuesday, and the company now says it has addressed a bug that caused the Palestinian flag emoji to appear when searching for “Jerusalem.” 

As we reported last week, Apple faced a wave of criticism after it emerged that iOS 17.4.1 would surface the Palestinian flag when a user typed “Jerusalem” into the emoji search field. Notably, a viral post from UK TV presenter Rachel Riley raised the issue.

Now, Apple has confirmed to iMore that the iOS 17.5 update fixes this issue. In 17.5, typing “Jerusalem” will not show any flag in either the emoji search field or in the predictive text field in the Messages app on iPhone. This is in line with the behavior of all other country flag emojis in iOS, which do not surface when you search for a city in either field.

iOS 17.5 arrives

At present, this fix is only available in the iOS 17.5 developer beta 2, released on Tuesday. Apple did also release the public beta of iOS 17.5 on iPhone this week. Both are freely available to download on iPhone in the Software Update section of General Settings. 

The biggest change coming to iOS 17.5 is a new Web Distribution tool that will only be available in the EU. As Apple continues to tackle the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act, it is expanding the ways in which developers can distribute apps on iPhones. Developers can now create alternative app marketplaces. More recently, Apple also added Web Distribution, aka sideloading, as a means to download apps directly from a website onto your iPhone akin to downloading software on macOS. 

While sideloading will be available to all iPhone users in the EU, the feature is more limited in terms of developer eligibility. Developers who want to take part must have been in good standing with Apple’s Developer Program for two years and must have had an app with more than one million downloads in the prior calendar year, largely precluding small or first-time developers.

While Apple continues to tweak iOS 17, largely in response to the DMA, all eyes are now on WWDC 2024, which will take place beginning June 10. Apple AI is expected to take center stage as part of iOS 18, macOS 15, and beyond. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • simonmann
    Its not a "fix" is it, tone deaf much? I wonder how long until my comment is removed.