AWT News Update: November 28, 2017

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It's a buggy world after all! On today's Apple World Today News Update Podcast, we have news about some bugs that have worked their way into iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra:

  • Would you believe I.T.? An iOS bug is causing the word "it" to be autocorrected to "I.T."
  • A newly-discovered flaw in macOS High Sierra gives anyone the capability of signing onto a Mac using the username "root" and no password!
  • One of the Australian banks that wanted access to the NFC chips in Apple devices for its own wallet app has now embraced Apple Pay

The text version of the podcast can be read below. To listen to the podcast here, click the play button on the player below. Apple News readers need to visit Apple World Today in order to listen to the podcast.

Text Version

This is Steve Sande for Apple World Today, and you’re listening to the AWT News Update podcast for Tuesday, November 28th, 2017.  

iOS 11.1.2 seems to have been a bug fix that added more bugs than it got rid of. Apple is getting hundreds of complaints about an autocorrect bug in iOS 11 that causes the word “it” to be autocorrect to “I.T.” Not everyone is affected by the bug, but those who are find themselves needing to manually select “it” as a QuickType suggestion or backspacing so they can retype the word. While this seems to have reared its ugly head with iOS 11.1.2, it actually was discovered with the first release of iOS 11 back in September. There is a workaround from Apple. They ask that people reset their keyboard dictionaries by launching the iOS Settings app, then tapping General > Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary. After a reboot, the problem may disappear although not everyone has found this to work. The next best solution? Turning off autocorrection. We’re hoping that Apple will patch this bug in an upcoming update. Earlier this month, iOS 11.1.1 fixed another autocorrect bug that turned the letter “I” to an “A” and question mark. 

Speaking of bugs, there’s a nasty bug in macOS High Sierra that allows full administrator access without a password. What happens is that anyone is able to log into an admin account using the username “root” with no password. This works when attempting to access an administrator’s account on an unlocked Mac and also provides access at the login screen of any locked Mac. I was able to replicate the issue by launching System Preferences, choosing Users & Groups, clicking on the lock to make changes, typing “root” in the username field, moving my cursor to the Password field and clicking there, but leaving it blank, and then clicking unlock. This means that anyone who knows about this bug has full access to anything on a Mac! This is a significant problem and we’re sure that Apple will be jumping on this before macOS 10.13.2 is released to the public. It is possible to resolve the issue by enabling a root user with a password on your Mac — full instructions can be found on this Apple security note

For quite a while, banks in Australia were suing Apple to try to get access to the near field communications or NFC chips in iPhones so that they could create their own wallet apps. Apple and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) were successful in shutting that down, and now one of the banks — Bendigo Bank — has launched support for Apple Pay. While the banks thought that they would be increasing competition by creating a bunch of digital wallets, the ACCC felt that this would severely disrupt Apple’s famous hardware/software integration and that the public would actually benefit from a third-party payment platform where banks can’t lock in customers and have to compete with each other on other merits.

That’s all for today; I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon with another edition of the AWT News Update.