I just found I can't see this emoji 🇹🇼 (Flag of ROC — Republic of China, Taiwan), which is rendered as a cross in a box, on my mac with macOS 10.13.5.

I bought my Mac in China, but my language regional preferences are all set to the U.S. Is there any way to make this emoji visible again?

Here is a screen capture of how this is displayed on my computer:

enter image description here

  • 8
    I can see it, UK English, macOS 10.13.5
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:47
  • @Tetsujin It is so strange. I just added a screenshot to my question.
    – Jay Wang
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:49
  • A quick Gyazo of how I see it - gyazo.com/fa28235a093cd4768bdb55dea94abc1d - maybe try UK English? idk how it's there in one but not the other tbh.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 22, 2018 at 15:52
  • I see the flag on macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra), FYI, in the United States. Jun 23, 2018 at 3:38
  • 1
    Technically, this is 🇹 (U+1F1F9: REGIONAL INDICATOR SYMBOL LETTER T) followed by 🇼 (U+1F1FC: REGIONAL INDICATOR SYMBOL LETTER W). Jun 24, 2018 at 12:30

5 Answers 5


Probably connected to where you bought the machine. From Emojipedia:

The flag for Taiwan, which may show as the letters TW on some platforms.

This flag is hidden from the emoji keyboard on iOS devices where the region is set to china. Chinese iPhones won't display this flag and will instead show a missing character tofu (□).

  • 3
    OP also asks "Is there any way to make this emoji visible again?" I wonder if there is anything short of a clean install? OP also asks "I bought my mac in China, but my language regional preferences are all set to the U.S" So does this answer address the situation; is there some other place where the OP can define the region separate from language settings?
    – uhoh
    Jun 23, 2018 at 0:31
  • 4
    I don't think this is necessarily correct. I have a machine that I purchased in the United States and I have the same issue as OP. Jun 23, 2018 at 14:13
  • @WheatWizard and others who marked this positively. Do you have your Region set to China? If so, do you get the flag when it is set to something else? Jun 24, 2018 at 12:05
  • @TomGewecke I do not have the region set to China, nor have I ever. I do now realize that I did purchase my machine second hand, so it is possible that it did come from the Chinese market at some point. However I have done 3 clean installs since then. Jun 24, 2018 at 13:08
  • @WheatWizard Is your os El Capitan or above? That is needed to have the flag. I guess it is the machine serial number that matters if your region is not set to China. Jun 24, 2018 at 13:20

The emoji of the flag of R.O.China will not be shown if either of the following is true:

  • The device (Mac or iOS device) is bought from mainland China, determined by hardware serial number
  • The "Region" setting is set to China

The People's Republic of China doesn't allow the Republic of China flag to be displayed, so the only effective way to show the flag correctly is buying the device from other countries (or Hong Kong).


After confirming with Apple Store Genius in mainland China (P.R.C), this is completely depended on the hardware serial number.

The confirmed affected products include

  1. macOS

  2. iOS

If the hardware serial number is registered in P.R.C (normally all devices purchased from mainland China), the flag won't be shown no matter how you change the Region in Setting.

However, devices purchased from all the other regions, including Hong Kong and Macau, the flag can be rendered if the Region in Setting is not set to China, but the flag will be a tofu if you set to China.


I've contacted a friend live in mainland China, and did an experiment, the result is the same (all depends on hardware S/N), for our safety, some personal information has been covered.

Screenshots are removed since my friend has some concerns.


A comment is asking about how to tell the country/region of hardware S/N.

I'm not sure how mac S/N work for this situation cause I couldn't find related information on my MBP (10.13.6 beta), however, there is a common way for iOS products.

Check About in Setting -> General, if the ending characters are CH/A in the Model section, then its S/N is highly possible registered in P.R.C.

  1. TW (R.O.C) -> TA/A
  2. USA -> LL/A

Here is the possible list from wiki https://www.theiphonewiki.com/wiki/Model_Regions

  • 12
    Answer shortened, comments deleted. AskDifferent is a platform focused on solving technical problems. Political statements and discussions are more suited for other sites.
    – nohillside
    Jun 23, 2018 at 8:54
  • 2
    Regardless whether it's legal or not, hardware tweaks required or not, is there any way to make it show on the very Mac bought in mainland China?
    – iBug
    Jun 24, 2018 at 10:42
  • 3
    I have verified that even back in El Capitan, setting the Region to China on a US-bought machine stops display of the Taiwan flag in the Character Viewer and displayed text. Jun 24, 2018 at 12:35
  • 2
    How are Chinese serial numbers distinguished from others? Is there a fixed prefix or similar? e.g. "CNxxxxxxxx" means purchased in China. I find it hard to believe network would be involved in any way.
    – mjs
    Jun 25, 2018 at 17:21
  • 2
    @mjs Hi, I just got the answer updated, but currently I can only find the most possible way to check if the iOS product (iPhone/iPad/iTouch) is registered in P.R.C.
    – Mark
    Jun 25, 2018 at 18:01

My Mac is bought from mainland China. On macOS 11.3 (Big Sur), I can make macOS to show the R.O.C flag with 3 steps:

  1. Modify /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist, set Country to TW (originally CN), as suggested by many existing answers. But it's not sufficient.

    sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist Country TW
  2. Change Language & Region > Region to Taiwan (originally China mainland).

  3. Reboot the machine.

Based on my tests, the 1st or the 2nd change alone won't succeed. I have to make both changes to show the flag.

  • Recently I installed macOS Monterey on an old MacBook Pro that was bought in China, during initial setup, I login my iCloud account whose region is not CN. Then I found out that macOS automatically set the region to the region of my iCloud account in both .GlobalPreferences.plist and Language & Region. The Taiwan flag emoji displays properly.
    – weakish
    Sep 21, 2022 at 9:12

Try my script: https://gist.github.com/ushuz/4f8c2771b295330b23154acfc00795b3

It changes Country field in /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist to TW. 🇹🇼 Taiwan flag will be available as long as it's not CN.

It works both for 2014 MBP 13'' bought in China and 2018 MBP 13'' bought in HK.

  • It seems the ".GlobalPreferences.plist" way can solve the problem. But how can I edit the ".GlobalPreferences.plist" flie? I can't open it with textedit.
    – Ryubungo
    Aug 3, 2019 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Ryubungo Use open with-> textedit. Otherwise Plistpro (fatcatsoftware.com/plisteditpro )or others
    – anki
    Aug 4, 2019 at 12:07

You can solve the problem with the Taiwan emoji for Chinese Mac models with the following command:

defaults write /Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist Country US

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