Apple censors Pride watch face in Russia

Apple is manually blocking users in Russia from selecting a ‘Pride’ face for their Apple Watch.

The company released a rainbow-themed Pride watch face for smartphone users in May 2018 to complement its Pride Edition watch strap.

However, soon after the launch of the background option, fans began to complain that it was not shown as an option for all users.

It has today been revealed that the company appears to have hard coded the restriction, meaning any user who sets their device’s region to Russia will automatically have the option disabled – even if they have not actually travelled to Russia.

iOS developer Guilherme Rambo confirmed: “The Apple Watch pride face is hardcoded to not show up if the paired iPhone is using the Russian locale.”

The Verge demonstrated the issue, showing the option disappearing from the Watch menu when a user’s region is changed to Russia.

Russia maintains a law banning the “promotion of non-traditional sexual relations to minors,” though human rights watchdogs say that in reality the law has been exploited by authorities to clamp down on LGBT+ rights organising and censor any mention of LGBT+ issues.

The physical Pride Edition watch strap also appears to have been removed from sale in Russia.

Attempting to access it via the Apple website from Russia displays an error that states: “Are you looking for something? We thought so. The product you are looking for is no longer available on”

From elsewhere in the world, the page states: “Apple is proud to support LGBTQ advocacy organisations working to bring about positive change, including GLSEN, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, Gender Spectrum and The National Center for Transgender Equality in the US, and ILGA internationally.

“A portion of the proceeds from Pride Edition strap sales will benefit their important efforts.”

Apple previously faced a probe in 2015 after furious anti-LGBT activists claimed it had violated the country’s propaganda law.

Police in the country’s Kirov region began the investigation after ultra-Conservative activist and lawyer Yaroslav Mikhailov complained about an update added support for emojis for same-sex couples and families.

The emojis in question include a number of same-sex couples, some with with children, as well as people of the same sex holding hands.

The politician responsible for the “gay propaganda” law also called for Facebook to be blocked in Russia over its rainbow filter option for profile pictures, released ahead of Pride celebrations.