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Apple Updates Its Operating Systems to Address Telugu Bug

In what seems to be an increasingly common refrain, we’re here to tell you that Apple has once again updated all of its operating systems, this time to address the Telugu character bug that would cause Apple’s operating systems to crash when displaying a particular character. In this case, the character in question was in the Indian language Telugu, perhaps not something that many users outside India would use intentionally, but something that could be employed by anyone with malicious intent. We hope Apple figured out the underlying cause of these crashes, since it’s not the first time a particular character or string has crashed Apple devices.

It’s relatively unlikely that any given person (outside India, of course!) would run across the Telugu bug or be targeted by a bad actor in the near future, so we recommend waiting a few days before installing to make sure these updates don’t introduce additional problems. But after that, make sure to update to eliminate the possibility of someone messing with you via this bug.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Supplemental Update -- The 40.4 MB macOS High Sierra 10.13.3 Supplemental Update focuses exclusively on the Telugu bug, which is also reflected in its security note. You can find it in Software Update.

iOS 11.2.6 -- In addition to fixing the Telugu bug, iOS 11.2.6 (41.5 MB on the iPhone X), also fixes an issue where “some third-party apps could fail to connect to external accessories.” You can install it in Settings > General > Software Update or via iTunes.

watchOS 4.2.3 -- The watchOS 4.2.3 update holds no surprises, just a fix for the Telugu bug. It’s a 49.2 MB download that you install via the Watch app on your iPhone (in Watch > Settings > General > Software Update). Remember that the Apple Watch must be on its charger, charged to at least 50 percent, and within range of your iPhone, which itself must be on Wi-Fi. And it will take longer than you think it should — we recommend updating overnight.

tvOS 11.2.6 -- Finally, just like the rest of the updates tvOS 11.2.6 is aimed at fixing the Telugu character bug. You can install it on the fourth-generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K via Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software.


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Comments about Apple Updates Its Operating Systems to Address Telugu Bug

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Edward Zuckerman  2018-02-19 21:18
I have used for many years a program to remove all the non-used languages (but not the fonts) on my Mac's. Monolingual is free and has always worked fine.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2018-02-20 09:45
I doubt that would make a difference.
Dennis B. Swaney  2018-02-20 11:44
I agree and we need something similar for iOS. If a foreign language is not in the OS then the OS should also disable any non-Roman characters used by that language.
B. Jefferson Le Blanc  2018-02-20 00:18
You say they fixed it on all their operating systems, but on the Mac only 10.13 is mentioned. This is not all their operating systems. Currently they are also supporting, in theory at least, 10.11 and 10.12. Your error may be inadvertent, but it is misleading nonetheless. I suggest you say all their "latest" operating systems, as that is what you actually mean.
Josh Centers  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2018-02-20 09:33
10.13.3 is also a free update for any system running 10.12.
Adam Engst  An apple icon for a TidBITS Staffer 2018-02-20 09:50
As far as we're aware, the obsolete versions of macOS for which Apple still provides security updates are not affected by this bug.