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The iPhone suggests a Palestinian flag when some people type ‘Jerusalem.’ Apple is working on a fix

Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Apple is working to a fix a bug in its latest iOS software that suggests the Palestinian flag emoji when some users search for the word “Jerusalem” in the emoji keyboard.

The company told CNN it is aware of a bug within predictive emoji in the keyboard and is working on a fix that will be made available in the next iOS update.

Apple’s latest software, iOS 17.4.1, was introduced on March 21, but the recent discovery of the bug upset some users on social media. In one post on X viewed more than 2.3 million times, an iPhone user questioned whether Apple was aware of the error – and whether it was intentional. Apple said the issue was a mistake and not coded into the keyboard intentionally.

But the user, who said she was Jewish, provided a long list of other cities that don’t surface a flag when entered into the emoji search box.

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It’s possible Apple’s machine-learning technology determined the suggested emoji based on analyzing texts from millions of its users. Apple declined to elaborate on the cause.

The company did not share when the next update would become available.

The history of the region is complicated, and territorial claims in the ancient city are no less so. In 1967, Israel captured East Jerusalem along with other regions and later annexed that as part of Jerusalem to unify the city as its capital – although much of the international community recognizes East Jerusalem as Israel-occupied Palestinian territory. For its part, Israel considers Jerusalem as its undivided capital. In 2017, the US administration of President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of American foreign policy.

So suggesting a Palestinian flag emoji for the search query “Jerusalem,” particularly when Israel is at war with Hamas, is adding to tensions amid a long-running dispute.

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