As the Russian invasion into Ukraine continues, more and more countries and multinational companies have imposed sanctions on Russia. Though late, Apple has announced that it will be restricting its products and services in Russia.
In an official statement from Apple posted on Twitter, it started off by saying “We are deeply concerned about the Russian Invasion of Ukraine and stand with all of the people who are suffering as a result of the violence. We are supporting humanitarian efforts, providing aid for the unfolding refugee crisis, and doing all we can to support our teams in the region.”
According to Apple, it has halted exports of its products into Russia as of last week. Furthermore, it has also frozen sales of the available stock in the Russian market. In addition to restrictions on physical products, Apple has also disabled some of its digital services in Russia.
Apple Pay will work with limited functionalities, but what exactly those limitations are were not elaborated. Next, the media apps for the state-backed Russian news outlets, RT News and Sputnik News, are not available for download from the App Store outside of Russia. Finally, as a safety precaution for Ukrainian citizens, Apple Maps will no longer show traffic and live incidents. This is to deter the Russian army from collecting information about the whereabouts and movements of people in Ukraine.
However, I doubt a country as advanced as Russia will rely on third-party services to collect information. But this move from Apple is more about joining other companies who are standing together with Ukraine. “We join all those around the world who are calling for peace”, said Apple. It will continue to work with relevant governments and evaluate the unfolding situation.
About a week ago, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, took to Twitter to share his concerns about the Ukraine-Rusia situation and said Apple is doing all it can to support its team in Ukraine.
The following day, the vice prime minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, wrote an official letter to Cook, requesting Apple to stop providing its products and services to the Russian Federation. Fedorov shared the contents of the letter on his official Twitter account for transparency.
He called upon Apple to support the US government’s sanctions which prohibited US companies from exporting their products to Russia. By doing so, Fedorov hopes it will motivate the youth and active population of Russia to pro-actively be involved in stopping the invasion.
Before Apple limited the data on Apple Maps, Google took the liberty of disabling its Google Maps feature that showed live traffic data in physical stores and restaurants as well as live traffic data on the road in Ukraine. This means the option to overlay live road traffic data on the map will no longer be available as of 28th February 2022. This again was done with the safety of Ukrainian citizens in mind and to prevent the tracking of vehicle movement through Ukraine.
However, for Ukrainians who want to use Google Maps to navigate safely from point A to point B, live traffic will be available for turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, Google, along with Facebook and Twitter, are blocking Russian state media from running ads and demonetising their content in a stand of solidarity with Ukraine.