Apple iPhone 14 Plus
Russia has banned its government officials from using iPhones and other Apple devices. Pexels

Russian authorities have prohibited government employees from using Apple devices in a recent move. Apparently, the country wants to reduce its reliance on foreign-made technology.

According to a report by the Financial Times, Russia's trade ministry imposed the ban on all Apple products including iPhones. As a result, government employees will not be able to use Apple products for "work purposes" starting from July 17.

It is worth noting that officials are allowed to use Apple products for personal use. However, they have to avoid using these devices for work-related communication. Government employees across multiple agencies like Russia's telecommunications and mass media ministry have already stopped using Apple products.

Following suit, other agencies are gearing up to enforce the mandate. Back in March, Kremlin introduced a partial ban on the use of iPhones by government employees ahead of Russia's upcoming presidential election. A report by Reuters claims the policy applied to all Russian officials involved in "preparations for Russia's 2024 presidential election."

Russia's head of presidential administration, Sergei Kiriyenko, asked officials to ditch their iPhones by April 1. At the time, an official went as far as saying that the affected officials should throw away their iPhones. Alternatively, these officials were advised to give their iPhones to their children.

Apple restricts Russian users from accessing Apple Pay

In early June, Russia's FSB (Federal Security Service) made some serious allegations against the Cupertino-based tech giant. The FSB said it found a large-scale "spying operation by US intelligence agencies" involving Apple devices.

The principal security agency said a considerable number of iPhones had been "infected." According to an Engadget report, this included iPhones used by Russia's diplomatic missions in NATO countries.

Moreover, the FSB claimed that Apple teamed up with US signal intelligence to provide agents with a wide range of control tools. Unsurprisingly, Apple denied these allegations, stating it is committed to user privacy. The American tech company also clarified it has never created backdoors in its products by cooperating with any government.

Notably, Russia has been sparing no effort to reduce its dependence on foreign technology lately. In line with this, the country developed a ChatGPT rival dubbed GigaChat earlier this year. Also, President of Russia Vladimir Putin issued an official order, ordering institutions handling "critical information infrastructure" to start using domestically developed software by 2025.

A series of actions including the latest ban on iPhones have strained Apple's relationship with Russia. To recap, Apple blocked access to Apple Pay and stopped selling its products in Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. This was Apple's way of showing its support for those affected by the war.

Apple has still not issued an official response to the ban, which marks a major development in the current tech tensions between Russia and the US. It will be interesting to see how the ban affects bilateral tech relations. Meanwhile, this ban is likely to further separate Russian government employees from the global tech ecosystem. Undeterred by this ban, Apple is prepping to unveil its next-gen iPhone.

Apple iPhone 15 series: What to expect?

The iPhone 15 series has been floating around the rumour mill for a while now. Moreover, the much-awaited iPhone 14 series successors have been subject to a lot of leaks lately. Now, popular leakster Ice Universe has shared pictures of the upcoming iPhones' front glass panel and screen protectors.

The leaked images confirm the presence of Dynamic Island on non-Pro iPhones. To those unaware, Apple limited the well-received screen feature to just the iPhone 14 Pro models last year. Also, this feature gives us a glimpse into various notifications, battery status, and more.

While nothing is set in stone yet. there have been a lot of speculations surrounding the upcoming iPhone 15 series. Likewise, despite the lack of official confirmation, an earlier report suggests the iPhone 15 lineup will enter mass production in the coming weeks. Regrettably, it looks like Russian government employees might not be able to use the new iPhone.