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I just found I can't see this emoji 🇹🇼 (Flag of ROCRepublic 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

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    I can see it, UK English, macOS 10.13.5 – Tetsujin Jun 22 '18 at 15:47
  • @Tetsujin It is so strange. I just added a screenshot to my question. – Jay Wong Jun 22 '18 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 '18 at 15:52
  • I see the flag on macOS 10.12.6 (Sierra), FYI, in the United States. – Basil Bourque Jun 23 '18 at 3:38
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    Technically, this is 🇹 (U+1F1F9: REGIONAL INDICATOR SYMBOL LETTER T) followed by 🇼 (U+1F1FC: REGIONAL INDICATOR SYMBOL LETTER W). – Andreas Rejbrand Jun 24 '18 at 12:30
44

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 '18 at 0:31
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    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. – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Jun 23 '18 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? – Tom Gewecke Jun 24 '18 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. – Sriotchilism O'Zaic Jun 24 '18 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. – Tom Gewecke Jun 24 '18 at 13:20
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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).

EDIT 1

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.

EDIT 2

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.

EDIT 3

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

  • 11
    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 '18 at 8:54
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    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 '18 at 10:42
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    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. – Tom Gewecke Jun 24 '18 at 12:35
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    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 '18 at 17:21
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    @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 '18 at 18:01
2

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 at 21:53
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    @Ryubungo Use open with-> textedit. Otherwise Plistpro (fatcatsoftware.com/plisteditpro )or others – ankii Aug 4 at 12:07

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