Bringing Back the Keyboard Flags in macOS 12.4 Monterey

Originally published at: Bringing Back the Keyboard Flags in macOS 12.4 Monterey - TidBITS

macOS 12.4 Monterey removed colorful flag icons that made it easy to see the keyboard input menu. If that’s a problem for you, here’s how you can get them back.

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I guess it depends on your point of view. I deliberately set my keyboard to Irish so I didn’t see the Union Jack sullying my screen. So I was very happy the Apple had got rid of the flags.
I’m glad you’ve found a solution. I agree that the “modern” Apple design choice of flat grey-on-grey is very dull. The lack of colour fails for those of us who need extra clues because of our ageing eyes.

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The association of language and country is causes wars, and other problems so is not to be encouraged. But I don’t see how replacing national flags with country codes helps there. Trouble is, there isn’t really a good alternative for visual representation of a language.

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This is the opposite of Sherlocking then. Kcolrehsing.

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> Apple has seemingly been on a war against color for years, most notably in the sidebar icons of the Finder.

Crazy stuff IMHO. I don’t even see the icons in the Finder side bar anymore, they became absolutely meaningless blobs to me when they turned grey and now blue. I know a few people who think it is the best thing Apple ever did to the Finder, but it works squarely against me. I can’t figure out for the life of me what sent Apple in this awful direction…

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Most of the icons are not “country” codes but abbreviations for the language name, normally in the script that it uses, often using the first two letters of the native name. It looks like Apple made them up itself rather than taking them from any standard code.

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The three illustrated in the article are ISO 3166 country codes, as are, afaict, most codes for European languages that use a Latin script. Welsh is an exception, where they use CY, the country code for Cyprus (which uses mainly Greek or Turkish, I imagine.). There may be other exceptions.

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The removal of national flag icons is yet another example of Apple disregarding the vast majority of its users to avoid upsetting the fragile sensibilities of a tiny minority.

Given the many millions of macOS users, it doesn’t take a math whiz to estimate the comparatively few that regularly use multiple keyboard layouts then, of that already small group, the few that are triggered by the sight of the flag icon.

I’d much rather Apple spend its time tweaking those functions used by far greater numbers, not the least of which would be returning the 5-minute “snooze” option in Reminders. One hour, as the shortest interval, is too long. :us:

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Strange how the word ‘English’ appears after Canadian but not the other two. The list could be simplified to just two: ‘English’ and ‘American English’.

I’m not sure if you’re being snarky or just unaware of the differences between branches of English. Canadian English is, in many ways, closer to American English than it is to British English. Australian English is closer to British than it is to Canadian or American. Of course they’re all way closer to each other than different, but no two are identical to each other, in spelling, grammar, or sound. And all have slang and idioms all their own. Also, at some level, there’s no such thing as British English or American English, both differ, sometimes greatly, across the countries (I don’t know enough about Australian or Canadian, but suspect the same thing occurs there). And there are of course more than four dialects of English, all with their own similarities to and differences from all the others.

I do agree though that it’s odd that Canadian is the only one with “English” after it. But combining all non-American English into just English doesn’t match reality (not that Apple’s always constrained by reality…)

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I’m pretty sure that’s because there is also Canadian French, since it’s prevalent in many areas (e.g. Quebec).

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You’re forgetting the context. We’re not talking about defining the language or the culture. We’re talking about keyboard layouts.

For instance, Shift-3 produces “#” on US English, but “£” on UK English. Option-3 is “£” on US English, but “#” on UK English. Option-2 produces “™” on US English, but “€” on UK English. Shift-Option-2 produces “€” on US English but “™” on UK English.

But there doesn’t seem to be a difference (at least none that I could tell) in keyboard layouts for US and Canadian English. I’m not sure why they are separate options, unless it’s just to avoid offending Canadian English users.

And there is a massive difference between French and Canadian French keyboard layouts, so there should be no question about why those two must both exist.

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The other thing that 12.4 brought for this is the option to have the input source icon autoswitch between dark and light appearance. The problem is that this is restricted to strictly black and white images (bit-depth 1), so it doesn’t leave a lot of room for subtle variation.

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It is a bit to do with keyboard layouts but also the language used in software, manuals, even Apple events.

We non-American English speakers have little trouble understanding other speakers of English - British English, Australian English, Singlish, Irish English, Uglish and so on. We all use the word ‘fortnight’ and use the correct form ‘metre’. Of course Apple uses American English and so we in the southern hemisphere cop the word ‘Fall’ and so showing Apple’s geographical reality is that of the northern hemisphere and that of the US.

But to give Apple its due, Apple does provide access to many, many languages. My Siri speaks Irish English.

I put my folders with customised icons into the Finder’s tool bar, where their colour is retained.
Agree that lack of colour in the side bar is a retrograde step — guess we need to be grateful that they are there at all, and not only come into view when hovered over.

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