They say that iPhones will be blocked in Russia in 2023. Is it true?


Although the topic iPhone blocking in Russia did not rise for almost a whole year, exactly after the New Year holidays, they started talking about it again. As a result, the requestwill the iPhone be turned off in Russia 2023” has become one of the most popular in the Russian-speaking segment of Google. This means that people are really worried about the prospect of possible blocking of their smartphones. And if so, it is necessary to figure out where this rumor came from, whether this can happen in principle, what Apple thinks about this and who can benefit from it.

Will iPhones be disabled in Russia in 2023

A new round of popularity theme iPhone locks in Russia acquired at the suggestion of Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the RT channel. It was she who, on the morning of January 7, wrote on her Telegram channel that the Russians were afraid of forced turning off Apple smartphoneswhich supposedly can happen after the New Year holidays:

I am far from political analytics and recognition of so-called signals, but the first part of the message personally reminds me of stuffing. Who discusses why – absolutely incomprehensible. One gets the full impression that the journalist simply decided to cheer up her audience, which has fallen apart over the holidays.

But the second part of the same message already clearly has signs, if not of pleas, then at least of the desire to persuade Apple not to do this. Say, do not block our iPhones – it will be worse for you yourself: you will not be able to listen to us. Funny, you say? Perhaps. But everyone interprets what they read in their own way.

It is obvious that Simonyan is a highly informed person. Regardless of how you feel about her, there is no doubt that she clearly knows more than we do. But the question seems to be disable iPhones in Russia – obviously not the case, because, in our opinion, nothing like this is planned in Cupertino.

Is it possible to block iPhone

Let’s be clear. Apple really has an opportunity disable any iPhone remotely. To do this, the Locator application is installed on each device, which not only determines their location and continues to fix it for several more hours after a complete shutdown, but also blocks it if necessary, deleting all data.

Here, however, one important clarification must be made. The locator was intended from the outset as a means to search for missing smartphonesfocused on the users themselves. Apple did not impose any punitive functions on him. Moreover, not a single case is known of a company blocking individual devices on its own initiative, not to mention mass outages. Even in Iran iPhones work well, albeit with some limitations.

Another thing is the fight against parallel import. Apple has long been trying to counter the unauthorized distribution of its smartphones around the world. Therefore, the company in every possible way limits mass iPhone sales and very severely punishes employees who allow such transactions.

Apple in Russia 2023

According to some reports, Cupertino even planned to block smartphones that were sold in one country and used in another. But even this scenario seems to me almost unrealizable for several reasons:

Firstly, Apple never left Russia. It continues to accept payments in the App Store, does not restrict the operation of its services in the country (Apple Pay is an exception, because it was tied to the NSPK, which is owned by the Central Bank, which fell under sanctions).

Secondly, Apple, even moving its CIS office from Russia, moved it not just anywhere, but to Kyrgyzstan. But this country, like the Russian Federation, is part of the customs union, where there are general rules for the import and registration of imported products.

Thirdly, for companies, in principle, there are no uninteresting markets. And even if Apple does not sell its equipment directly to Russian distributors, it most likely does not try very hard to limit them in purchasing branded products. Therefore, no shortage of iPhones in Russia no, although, of course, smartphones themselves began to be bought less frequently.

But there are also objective reasons. For example, it is not very clear how to separate Russians, who bought iPhonesimported by parallel imports, and foreigners who stay in Russia for work or just live here. After all, they are definitely not to blame for anything, right? But what if they are Russians, but they have a passport of another country in reserve? In general, there are a lot of difficulties.

Perhaps it would be possible to introduce some kind of registration procedure similar to that in Turkey, where foreigners’ smartphones are blocked by IMEI, if you do not pay tax and do not register them. But there are two problems. First, Turkey’s smartphone registration practice was initiated by the government, not by Apple itself. Second, this requires a special infrastructure that will track devices and then block them. Isn’t that too much of a hassle for a “cancelled” market that no longer exists in Apple’s mind?

Apple will block iPhones – what will happen

Can I be sure that iPhone blocking in Russia will not happen? Yes, albeit not without reservations. Rostest devices will definitely not be touched by anyone. And the owners of foreign smartphones imported into the country through parallel imports can be annoyed by Apple in other ways without sacrificing their reputation. For example, just disable the App Store for them, iCloud and other features. After all, it works in relation to Apple News +, end-to-end encryption of backups and satellite communications.

But I’m 100% sure that even that won’t happen. If only because Apple is very afraid for its reputation. Despite the fact that the cessation of official sales in Russia was also a kind of reputational move for the company, they are hardly ready for a global demarche in Cupertino. After all, any massive shutdown would mean that, theoretically, the same thing could happen in other countries. For example, in China, whose relations with the United States have also recently cooled significantly.

No matter how Apple strives to diversify the production of its equipment, moving the assembly to India, Vietnam and other countries, the company is still not ready to abandon the one and a half billion market. Therefore, once again disturb the Chinese shutdowns of iPhones in Russia in Cupertino they are unlikely to decide, so as not to provoke a conscious boycott both in China itself and beyond its borders.

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