Apple addresses predictive emoji ‘bug’ in latest iOS 17.5 beta after outrage

If you weren’t on X/Twitter over the weekend, you missed out on the latest iPhone outrage. As first spotted by British television presenter Rachel Riley, when the word “Jerusalem” was typed using the stock keyboard, one of the suggested emojis was the Palestinian flag, which Riley and others saw as a deliberate provocation.

In her post, Riley asked Apple to “explain whether this is an intentional act by your company, or whether you have no control over rogue programmers.” Both Israel and Palestine claim Jerusalem as their capital, though neither claim is officially recognized globally. She noted that dozens of other cities don’t offer country flags as suggested emojis.

Apple quickly responded by declaring the emoji was the result of an iOS 17.4.1 bug that affected predictive text. It’s unclear what caused the bug or if other words were affected as well, but Apple has fixed it in the latest iOS 17.5 beta. According to @aaronp613 on X, Apple has stopped the word “Jerusalem” from showing any suggested emoji in iOS 17.5.

That doesn’t quite sound like Apple fixed a bug, but it does take care of the issue. By removing the emoji suggestion entirely, it avoids any appearance of controversy. 

After Riley’s discovery, other suggested emoji “blunders” went viral, including a hut when typing the word Africa. However, as many people pointed out, the emoji is called “African hut,” so the predictive text algorithm is likely picking up the name.

iOS 17.5 is in the second round of beta testing and will likely launch in late April or early May.

Source : Macworld