Apple Releases macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update With Telugu Crash Fix

Apple today released a new version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, which comes approximately one month after the first version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, an update that offered fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities discovered in early January.

The new macOS High Sierra update can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store or through the Software Update function in the Mac App Store on all compatible Macs that are already running macOS High Sierra.


Today's update addresses a bug that causes apps like Messages to crash due to an inability to render a character in the Indian language Telugu. When sent or received, the character in question can cause an app like Messages or Safari to freeze up and become unresponsive.

There's also a separate macOS High Sierra 10.13.13 Supplemental Update for iMac Pros, which is designed to fix the Telugu bug on those machines.

Prior to today's update, the only fix in an app like Messages was to delete the entire conversation containing the buggy character. The update also impacted iOS 11.2.5, and Apple also released a new iOS 11.2.6 update to fix it.

Apple previously addressed the Telugu character bug in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4, but those updates are still in beta testing and won't be released until the spring. Apple last week promised a minor update to fix the bugs in the meantime.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Releases macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update With Telugu Crash Fix

Apple today released a new version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, which comes approximately one month after the first version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, an update that offered fixes for the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities discovered in early January.

The new macOS High Sierra update can be downloaded directly from the Mac App Store or through the Software Update function in the Mac App Store on all compatible Macs that are already running macOS High Sierra.


Today's update addresses a bug that causes apps like Messages to crash due to an inability to render a character in the Indian language Telugu. When sent or received, the character in question can cause an app like Messages or Safari to freeze up and become unresponsive.

There's also a separate macOS High Sierra 10.13.13 Supplemental Update for iMac Pros, which is designed to fix the Telugu bug on those machines.

Prior to today's update, the only fix in an app like Messages was to delete the entire conversation containing the buggy character. The update also impacted iOS 11.2.5, and Apple also released a new iOS 11.2.6 update to fix it.

Apple previously addressed the Telugu character bug in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4, but those updates are still in beta testing and won't be released until the spring. Apple last week promised a minor update to fix the bugs in the meantime.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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How to Add, Remove, and Rearrange Menu Bar Icons in macOS

The macOS menu bar is a great place for quickly accessing system and application functions using menu extras or "menulets", but it can get cluttered pretty quickly as more and more icons vie for a space there.

If the corner of your Mac's screen is fast becoming an eyesore, here are some quick and simple actions you can perform to bring order to the chaos, plus a few additional tips for making the most of Apple's menu bar extras.

How to Rearrange Icons in the Menu Bar


Plenty of menu bar icons offer useful shortcuts to app and system functions, and may take up permanent residence on your screen. But left to their own devices, the arrangement of said icons is likely to become haphazard. Fortunately, re-organizing them is simple, once you know how to do it.

  1. Hold down the Command (⌘) key.
  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the icon you want to move.
  3. Holding down the left mouse button, drag the icon into your preferred position on the menu bar. Other icons will step aside to make space for it.
  4. Let go of the left mouse button.

Note that the Notifications icon in macOS is designed to sit in the far right corner of the menu bar and cannot be moved elsewhere.
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APFS Bug in macOS High Sierra Can Cause Data Loss When Writing to Disk Images

Apple's APFS file system included in macOS High Sierra suffers from a disk image vulnerability that in certain circumstances can lead to data loss, according to the creator of Carbon Copy Cloner.

In a blog post last Thursday, software developer Mike Bombich explained that he had uncovered the data writing flaw in the Apple File System, or APFS, through his regular work with "sparse" disk images.


For those who aren't familiar with the term, a sparse disk image is basically a file that macOS mounts on the desktop and treats as if it was a physically attached drive with a classic disk volume structure. The flexibility of sparse disk images means they are commonly used in the course of performing backup and disk cloning operations, hence Bombich's extensive experience with them.
Earlier this week I noticed that an APFS-formatted sparsebundle disk image volume showed ample free space, despite that the underlying disk was completely full. Curious, I copied a video file to the disk image volume to see what would happen. The whole file copied without error! I opened the file, verified that the video played back start to finish, checksummed the file – as far as I could tell, the file was intact and whole on the disk image. When I unmounted and remounted the disk image, however, the video was corrupted. If you've ever lost data, you know the kick-in-the-gut feeling that would have ensued. Thankfully, I was just running some tests and the file that disappeared was just test data.
Two related problems are identified by Bombich, above. The first is that the free space on the APFS-formatted sparse disk image doesn't update as it should when the free space on the underlying physical host disk is reduced. The second problem is the lack of error reports when write requests fail to dynamically grow the disk image, resulting in data being "written" into a void. Bombich tracks both bugs back to macOS's background "diskimages-helper" application service, which he has since reported to Apple.

Bombich's video demonstrating the APFS bug

Every installation of High Sierra converts the existing file system to APFS, which is optimized for modern storage systems like solid-state drives. However, as Bombich notes, ordinary APFS volumes like SSD startup disks are not affected by the problem described above, so the vast majority of users won't be affected by it – the flaw is most applicable when making backups to network volumes. Bombich says Carbon Copy Cloner will not support AFPS-formatted sparse disk images until Apple resolves the issue.

The APFS flaw follows the discovery of another bug in Apple's operating systems that received extensive coverage last week. That bug is induced by sending a specific character in the Indian language Telugu, which causes certain apps on iPhones, iPads, and Macs to freeze up and become unresponsive. The Telugu character bug has already been fixed in Apple's upcoming iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 software updates.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra
Tag: APFS

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Apple to Fix Telugu Character Bug Causing Devices to Crash in Minor iOS Update

Apple has confirmed that a fix for a recently discovered bug that causes apps like Messages to crash on iPhone, iPad, and Mac has been included in iOS 11.3, macOS 10.13.4, watchOS 4.3, and tvOS 11.3, updates that are currently being beta tested ahead of a release this spring.

Furthermore, Apple told iMore's Rene Ritchie that the bug will also be addressed in an upcoming iOS update that will be released in the near future, ahead of iOS 11.3, so customers won't need to wait several weeks for a fix. Minor updates for other operating systems will likely come at the same time.


The bug, induced by sending a specific character in the Indian language Telugu, causes certain apps on iPhones, iPads, and Macs to freeze up and become unresponsive. Messages, Safari, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other apps that accept text input are all affected.

When the character is sent in an iMessage, for example, it can freeze up the entire Messages app on all of a person's Mac and iOS devices. The Messages app will then refuse to function properly until the offending character is removed by deleting the conversation with the person who sent it.

In some situations, if the character is viewed through an iOS notification, it can cause the entire device to crash, resulting in a re-spring or worse.

Apple users who have received a message with the character will, as mentioned above, need to delete the Messages conversation with the person who sent the character. Alternatively, installing the iOS 11.3 or macOS 10.13.4 betas will fix the problem.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, macOS High Sierra

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Indian Character Bug Causing System Crashes is Fixed in iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4

A recently discovered bug that causes app and system crashing on iPhone, iPad, and Mac due to a specific letter in the Indian language Telugu has been fixed in Apple's upcoming iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 software updates.


MacRumors has not been able to reproduce any crashes, freezes, or resprings on any devices running the latest iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 betas when the particular letter is present anywhere across the systems, as the upcoming software versions can now display the affected character properly.

On earlier software versions, including the latest publicly released versions iOS 11.2.5 and macOS 10.13.3, it appears that Apple devices are unable to render the Indian character for some reason, causing apps or the entire system to abruptly crash depending on where it is trying to be displayed.

If the character is sent in an iMessage, for example, the recipient's Messages app will crash when the conversation is opened. Likewise, if the character is pasted into the Safari or Chrome address bar on Mac, the browsers crash. This behavior extends to virtually any system text field on iOS and macOS, resulting in many third-party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger being affected as well.

Even worse, some users have found that if the character is displayed in an iOS notification, it can cause an entire iPhone or iPad to respring, and in worst-case scenarios, restoring in DFU mode is the only possible solution.

If you've already received the letter and can no longer open Messages, try having a friend message you, which may allow you to regain access to the app and delete the conversation with the bad character. If not, consider enrolling in Apple's free public beta program and upgrade to iOS 11.3 or macOS 10.13.4 beta.

MacRumors was alerted about this bug by developer Peter Steinberger on Monday, and it was submitted to Open Radar by developer Igor Bulyga on the same day. We elected not to report on the bug at the time to avoid contributing to its spread, since it can be used maliciously and a fix will be widely available soon.

The bug has received widespread attention today, so we wanted to acknowledge that Apple is aware of the issue and has implemented a fix. iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 should be publicly released by the end of March, but it's very possible we'll see minor updates pushed out with fixes in the near term.

These kinds of bugs have surfaced several times in the past, with text strings, videos, and more crashing the Messages app and causing other glitches. Just last month, a link to a GitHub page surfaced that froze the Messages app when received.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, macOS High Sierra

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Apple Seeds New Version of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 Beta 2 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple seeded the second beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to developers earlier this week, but it appears an updated version of the second beta was just released this afternoon.

The original beta had a build number of 17E150f, while the new update available today from the Developer Center lists a build number of 17E150g. It's not clear why Apple has released an updated version of beta 2, but the new beta is also available for public beta testers.


Registered developers can download the beta from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 beta 2 didn't introduce any major new features, but it did change "iBooks" to "Books" to mirror changes made in iOS 11.3.

The update includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.3, and it offers support for some features that are also available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public.

macOS 10.13.4 also includes the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro, and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and two weeks after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.3.

The new macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center or through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store with the proper profile installed.


macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 includes bug fixes and performance improvements for issues that weren't addressed in macOS High Sierra 10.13.3. The update includes support for some features that are also available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public.

The new macOS update also includes the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro, and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple’s Decision to Delay Some New Features and Focus on Software Quality Extends to Mac

Apple's reported plans to delay some features planned for iOS 12 until next year will similarly extend to the Mac, although to a lesser degree, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News.


Gurman's sources corroborate an earlier report from Ina Fried at Axios, which claimed that Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi disclosed the revised plans during a meeting with employees earlier this month.

While the shift in strategy appears to extend to macOS, it reportedly will not affect the development cycles of watchOS or tvOS.
The company told its software engineering groups about the change this month, one of the people said. The shift will also affect this year's update to Mac computer software, but to a lesser degree, the person said, adding that planned upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV software won’t be affected.
Apple's plans to focus on the quality of its current software platforms will presumably result in a greater emphasis on bug fixes, performance improvements, and the general stability of its operating systems.

The shift in strategy follows a few embarrassing mishaps for Apple in recent months, including a major security vulnerability that enabled access to the root superuser account with a blank password on macOS High Sierra version 10.13.1. Apple promptly fixed the critical bug in a security update.

Just weeks later, MacRumors was alerted to a security flaw in macOS High Sierra version 10.13.2 that allowed the App Store menu in System Preferences to be unlocked with any password. While this bug was much less serious, it was still system behavior that obviously shouldn't have been possible.

Apple had a similar shift in strategy in 2015 with the release of iOS 9, and with some other macOS updates in recent years, according to the report, so this isn't Apple's first time doubling down on the polish of its software.

The report also corroborates that Apple was planning a redesigned grid of app icons on the home screen in iOS 12, but that change is now delayed until 2019 along with expanded photo management capabilities. There's also word of a multiplayer mode for augmented reality games, but it's unclear when it'll be ready.

Gurman still expects some smaller improvements to the Photos app to roll out in 2018, while the original report by Fried mentioned enhancements to the Health app and parental controls are still planned for release this year.

Related Roundups: iOS 11, macOS High Sierra

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Apple Releases First Beta of macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 to Public Beta Testers

Apple today released the first beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra 10.134 update to public beta testers, two days after seeding the update to developers and a few days after releasing macOS High Sierra 10.13.3.

Beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program will be able to download the new macOS High Sierra beta through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.


Those who want to be a part of Apple's beta testing program can sign up to participate through the beta testing website, which gives users access to iOS, macOS, and tvOS betas.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 introduces support for some features that are also available in iOS 11.3, like Messages on iCloud, which uploads all of your iMessages to the cloud. It will also support Business Chat, a feature coming when iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4 are released to the public.

The new macOS update also includes the smoke cloud wallpaper that was previously only available on the iMac Pro, and it introduces a warning when opening up a 32-bit app as part of an effort to phase them out.

In the future, Apple plans to phase out 32-bit Mac apps, just like it did with 32-bit iOS apps. Apple says macOS High Sierra is the last version of macOS that will support 32-bit apps without compromises.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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