| Cult of Mac

Putin opposition app returns to the App Store in Russia

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Putin opposition app returns to the App Store in Russia
The Smart Voting app was removed ahead of Russia's election last September.
Photo: Imad Alassiry/Unsplash

Smart Voting, an app run by supporters of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny, has returned to the App Store in Russia following its removal last September.

Cupertino pulled the app after Russia made threats about prosecuting top Apple employees in the country. Google, which also removed the app after the Kemlin lashed out, allowed the app back into the Play Store soon after Russia’s election last year.

Ukrainians use ‘Find My’ to track Russian troops who stole devices

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Find My AirPods can also track Russian troops.
Find My AirPods can also track Russian troops.
Photo: Franak Viačorka

Ukrainians have turned to Apple’s Find My device-tracking technology to follow Russian troop movements. After Russian soldiers stole Apple gear during the invasion, the devices’ Ukrainian owners can see and report on where the troops toting the gadgets are going in real time, including a recent retreat into Belarus.

MacPaw’s SpyBuster helps you weed out Mac apps reporting to Russia

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SpyBuster stops apps reporting to Russia
It's completely free to use.
Image: MacPaw

Ukrainian developer MacPaw today released SpyBuster, a new (and completely free!) Mac app that identifies software built by and reporting to “undesirable countries of origin” — such as Russia and Belarus.

SpyBuster also lets you block those connections so that you can prevent additional data being sent to overseas servers, where it may not be protected by the same privacy laws that we’re accustomed to in other countries.

Putin threatens companies like Apple that quit Russia

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Putin threatens to nationalize assets left in Russia by companies like Apple
Any Apple computers left in Russia could become the property of the Russian government.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Russia is considering nationalizing the assets of companies like Apple that pulled out of the country in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader, reportedly endorsed the plan on Thursday. The Mac-maker is just one of hundreds of companies that could be affected, but it’s a prominent one.

It’s not known how much inventory Apple left behind after it pulled out of Russia on March 1.

Ukrainian devs work in bathtubs as Russian bombs and missiles fly

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MacPaw's Julia Petryk works in her bathtub, the safest place in her Kyiv apartment as Russian bombs and missiles fall.
MacPaw's Julia Petryk works in her bathtub, the safest place in her Kyiv apartment during the Russian bombardment of Ukraine.
Photo: Julia Petryk/MacPaw

Between air raids and missile strikes, Julia Petryk works in her bathtub in Ukraine. It’s the safest place in her Kyiv apartment.

“The last interview I gave for media was in the bathtub,” she told Cult of Mac in an email. It’s “the safest place in the apartment during bombardment.”

Donate a drone to help protect Ukrainian civilians [Updated]

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Want to help protect Ukrainian civilians during the Russian invasion? Donate a surveillance drone.
Want to help protect Ukrainian civilians during the Russian invasion? Donate a surveillance drone.
Photo: Skylum

Among the various calls for help on behalf of Ukraine during the Russian invasion, software company Skylum offered a way for you to donate a surveillance drone that could help safeguard Ukrainian civilians from the ravages of war.

“You can help Ukrainians to protect themselves as your drone will provide real-time pictures of the situation on the ground,” Skylum said in a blog post Thursday.

Reached for comment via email from Western Ukraine, Skylum Marketing Manager Sabina Iliasova told Cult of Mac how drone deployment will work and why it’s so crucial. She is the contact who will handle donations.

Crimea is again part of Ukraine on Apple Maps

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Crimea is again part of Ukraine on Apple Maps
Apple is no longer concerned about angering Russia by saying Crimea is part of Ukraine.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple Maps now indicates that Crimea is part of Ukraine. That shouldn’t be a surprise … it is. But the app reportedly showed the peninsula as part of no country in the wake of the 2014 Russian invasion and subsequent occupation.

It appears Russia’s recent invasion of the rest of Ukraine pushed Apple to change the way it labels the region.

Tim Cook tells employees Apple will match donations to help Ukraine

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Tim Cook delivers the goods at Apple's iPhone 11 event.
"This moment calls for unity, it calls for courage," Cook said.
Photo: Apple

After Apple on Tuesday confirmed that it ceased product sales in Russia, CEO Tim Cook sent out an email to all employees that promises to match donations made to help Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion at a rate of 2:1.

“With each new image of families fleeing their homes and brave citizens fighting for their lives, we see how important it is for people around the world to come together to advance the cause of peace,” the email read.

Apple puts its own embargo on Russia (and you can help Ukraine, too)

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Caviar Putin iPhone
This Putin-themed iPhone from Caviar seems painfully ironic now.
Photo: Caviar

Apple has stopped selling its products in Russia as the country’s war on Ukraine stretches on. The Mac-maker is taking other steps as well, like removing the state-backed news applications RT and Sputnik from the App Store.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” Apple said Tuesday in a statement. “We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”