Apple dragged into territory dispute over how Kosovo is presented in Apple Maps

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Updated Apple Maps rolls out in Pacific Northwest and Midwest
This isn't the first time something like this has happened.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Kosovo’s foreign minister Meliza Haradinaj recently wrote to Tim Cook to ask Apple to make changes to Apple Maps to reflect a disputed border with Serbia.

Haradinaj’s letter notes that: “The Apple Maps service does not show the Republic or Kosovo in its internationally recognized borders. Instead, the Republic of Kosovo is shown as part of Serbia. This is direct contradiction of the political and legal realities. It is felt as a hurt by our citizens who suffered immense loss in our independence struggle. It is also perceived as an insult to our State.”

The letter, which was sent last week, and highlighted Monday in a report by Patently Apple, asks Apple to “take immediate steps” to “align the representation of the Republic of Kosovo with the political, historical and legal realities.”

Kosovo is the subject of a territory dispute with the Republic of Kosovo and Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo declared independence in February 2008. However, Serbia continues to refer to it as part of its own sovereign territory.

Before Kosovo: Apple gets dragged into territory disputes

This isn’t the first time Apple has been pulled into a similar territory dispute. In late 2019, Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs hit out at at Apple over the way it depicted the disputed peninsula of Crimea as belonging to Russia — although only when Apple Maps is viewed by users in Russia.

Similar concerns have been raised over things as seemingly minor as Apple’s choice of emojis. Dating back to the start of 2017, iOS banished the Taiwanese flag emoji whenever an iPhone’s location was set to China. This is because of disagreements over the recognition of Taiwan as its own country.