Apple Watch gay pride watch face disappears in Russia

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gay pride
The gay pride face is part of watchOS 5.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple debuted a new gay pride watch face for Apple Watch this year at WWDC, but developers have recently discovered that it’s literally impossible to install it if you live in the homophobic land of Mother Russia.

The rainbow-colored watch face was created to promote equality for LGBTQ individuals around the world. However, it looks like Apple’s commitment to equality and diversity doesn’t extend to Russia, where the country has a law against gay propaganda.

iOS developer Guilherme Rambo discovered that Apple has hardcoded watchOS to not display the gay pride face when it’s paired with an iPhone located in the country. Even if you had it on your watch previously, when you get to Russia the face simply disappears.

Under the influence of President Vladamir Putin, Russia created the gay propaganda law in 2013 to squash the promotion of LGBTQ ideals. Russia claims any LGBTQ promotion is offensive speech. As such, people who violate the law are threatened with huge fines and even jail time.

In order to avoid a controversy with the law, Apple removed the watch face in Russia. It also doesn’t sell its gay pride Apple Watch straps in the country.

We asked Apple for confirmation that the company blocked the watch face in Russia, but haven’t heard back yet.