Tuesday, June 8, 2021

iOS: New Language Features in iPadOS 15

Apple has released a preview of new features in iPadOS 15 to be issued later this year. Below are the parts of interest in the language area:

+Vietnamese VNI and VIQR keyboards

+QuickPath for more languages: Dutch, Hindi (Latin), Russian, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese.

+New keyboard layouts: Ainu, Amharic, Fula (Adlam), Igbo, Navajo, Rohingya, Syriac, and Tigrinya .

+Enhanced 10-key layout for Chinese Pinyin: Lets you quickly switch to QWERTY, access symbols more easily, and type words that share the same keys with greater accuracy by allowing you to select the exact Pinyin for more than just the first syllable in the phrase.

+Smart Replies for new Indic languages: Urdu, Bangla, Tamil, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, and Odiya.

+Neural text-to-speech voice in more languages: Swedish (Sweden), Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), and Finnish (Finland).

+Mixed English and Indic language support in Siri: Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, and Punjabi.

+New Voice Control languages: Mandarin Chinese (China mainland), Cantonese (Hong Kong), French (France), and German (Germany).

+New dictionaries for India: Urdu–English, Tamil–English, Telugu–English, and Gujarati–English.

+New idiom dictionary for China mainland

+New dictionaries for Hong Kong: A Traditional Chinese–English idiom dictionary, a Traditional Chinese–English dictionary of Cantonese colloquialisms, and a new Traditional Chinese dictionary.

+Dialect lexicon support for Cantonese and Shanghainese: Type words in Pinyin using native Cantonese or Shanghainese dialectal spellings.

+On-device dictation in more regions and languages, including Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Cantonese (Hong Kong), English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Japanese (Japan), Korean (Korea), Mandarin Chinese (China mainland, Taiwan), Russian (Russia), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.), Turkish (Turkey), and Yue Chinese (China mainland).

+Improved Japanese Support for Scribble and Note Taking.

+Various Improvements in Translation.app

MacOS: New Language Features in MacOS 12 Monterey

Apple has released a preview of new features in MacOS 12 Monterey, which will be issued in the fall of 2021. Below are the parts that relate to languages.

+New keyboard layouts: Ainu, Amharic, Fula (Adlam), Igbo, Navajo, Rohingya, Syriac, and Tigrinya

+New Voice Control languages, including Mandarin Chinese (China mainland), Cantonese (Hong Kong), French (France), and German (Germany).

+New dictionaries for India, including Urdu–English, Tamil–English, Telugu–English, and Gujarati–English.

+New Simplified Chinese idiom dictionary for China mainland

+New dictionaries for Hong Kong, including a Traditional Chinese–English idiom dictionary, a Traditional Chinese–English dictionary of Cantonese colloquialisms, and a new Traditional Chinese dictionary.

+Dialect lexicon support for Cantonese and Shanghainese: Type words in Pinyin using native Cantonese or Shanghainese dialectal spellings.

+On-device dictation, available in Arabic (Saudi Arabia), Cantonese (Hong Kong), English (Australia, Canada, India, Singapore, UK, U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Japanese (Japan), Korean (Korea), Mandarin Chinese (China mainland, Taiwan), Russian (Russia), Spanish (Mexico, Spain, U.S.), Turkish (Turkey), and Yue Chinese (China mainland)*.

+Neural text-to-speech voice in more languages: Swedish (Sweden), Danish (Denmark), Norwegian (Norway), and Finnish (Finland)*.

+Mixed English and Indic language support in Siri for Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Malayalam, and Punjabi.

*Requires Mac with M1 chip

Saturday, May 1, 2021

MacOS: ABC Extended Keyboard Further Extended

A poster in the Apple Support Communities (ASC) has pointed out that Apple's ABC Extended keyboard layout lacks the ability to produced chracters with the diaeresis below diacritic. This is useful for certain romanization systems for the Arabic script used in a wide range of languages. A custom ABC Extended layout which includes Combining Diaeresis Below at Option-Shift R is available here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

MacOS 11: New Language Features

Apple's documentation indicates that Big Sur should have at least the following new language features:

+New bilingual dictionaries include French–German, Indonesian–English, Japanese–Simplified Chinese, and Polish‑English.

+New fonts for India include 20 new document fonts. In addition, 18 existing fonts have been upgraded with more weights and italics

+Enhanced predictive input for Chinese and Japanese results in more accurate and contextual predictions

I have found 4 additional items on the spellcheck language list compared to Catalina: Irish, Romanian, Punjabi, and Telugu.

Big Sur also lets you switch keyboards via the Fn key, which has a globe printed on it on the latest hardware.

Friday, August 21, 2020

MacOS: Extra Spellcheck Dictionaries

Users who need MacOS spellcheck dictionaries for languages not yet covered by Apple should check this site.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

MacOS: Portuguese PC Keyboard Layout

The Apple and Windows layouts for Portuguese differ considerably, and Apple has not yet provided a "Portuguese PC" input source for those wishing to use a Windows keyboard with their Mac.  This page may provide a custom layout that meets these needs.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

iOS 14: New Language Features Promised

See the sections on Translate, Siri, Safari, International, and Keyboard in this Apple note for info on new language features expected in iOS 14 to be released later this year.

Here is more info on the new Translate app.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

MacOS: Switching Input Source Automatically for External Keyboard

Some laptop users want to have different language input sources for their internal keyboard and an external one the use for certain purposes.  Normally switching input sources requires using the mouse or a keyboard shortcut every time.  

Such users may be interested in this app, which makes the input source switch automatically according to the keyboard being used.

Another possibility can be found here.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

MacOS: New Spellcheckers

I don't know exactly when they were added, but I have just noticed that my current version of MacOS  Catalina has the following new (and very welcome) spellcheckers which I am pretty sure were not there when it was first released:

Najdi Arabic

Monday, February 24, 2020

MacOS: New Mongolian Cyrillic Keyboard

MacOS 10.15 Catalina includes a new Mongolian Cyrillic keyboard, but it does not do the Command level correctly, so that common shortcuts for copy/paste, etc. do not work.  A custom keyboard which fixes this problem can be found here.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

MacOS: Customizing the Accent Popup Menus

For a good and up-to-date instruction on how to customize the press and hold popup menus in MacOS, see this page.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

MacOS: Fix for Apple Brazilian ABNT2 Keyboard Layout

It appears that the Brazilian ABNT2 input source provided by Apple can have the characters to the left of the 1 key and to the left of the Z key switched from what users expect.  A custom layout that fixes this problem can be gotten here.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

MacOS: Typing Cantonese

A new feature of MacOS 10.15 Catalina is Cantonese Chinese input, which is explained in this Apple doc..

So far it is only possible via Cangie and Sucheng codes and Stroke.  For those who want to use pinyin-style input, some 3rd party alternatives can be found at this earlier blog entry.

Friday, November 22, 2019

MacOS: Windows Canadian French Keyboard

French Canadian users switching from Windows to Mac who want to keep using the Windows Canadian French keyboard mapping will need to install a custom layout.  One can be found here.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

MacOS: Old Turkic Keyboards and Fonts

For users need to work in Old Turkic, keyboards and other resources can be found at this site.

Thanks to Emir Yâsin SARI for this info.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Main Page Updated For Catalina

I have updated the main Multilingual Mac page to cover Catalina.

Comments/corrections from readers are welcome.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

MacOS: New Language Features in MacOS 10.15 Catalina

From the International section of Apple's Catalina Features Page.

+Cantonese keyboard predictions: The new Cantonese predictions for Traditional Chinese Cangjie, Sucheng, Stroke, and Handwriting keyboards bring more relevant character and emoji predictions to Cantonese users.

+Improved Japanese predictions: A new neural language model takes words typed earlier in the sentence into account, so predictions are more grammatically consistent and relevant to the subject matter.

+New fonts for Indian languages: Get 34 new fonts, including four system fonts and 30 document fonts, for languages like Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Odia, Punjabi, and many more.

+New Indian English Siri voices: All-new Indian English male and female Siri voices allow Siri to be more natural and expressive.

+New dictionaries: New dictionaries include Thai-English and Vietnamese-English.

The interface language of individual apps can now be changed independently of the system language.

Also it appears that Siri can now do translation.

Plus I found new keyboards for Lao, Assamese, Bodo, Cantonese, Dhivehi, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Manipuri, Marathi, Mongolian, Odia, Sanskrit, Santali, and Sindhi (but still no Amharic).

Friday, October 4, 2019

Using Apple Hardware Language Keyboards With Windows

Because Mac and Windows keyboard layouts for many languages are slightly different, it can be confusing to use an Apple hardware keyboard with Windows which has been installed on a Mac.  The usual fix is to find, inside the WIndows install, a layout which has (Apple) after the normal name.  Where that does not exist, you have to download and install a custom layout in the Windows system.  A source for these is


For Arabic, try


Saturday, September 21, 2019

iOS 13 Has Lots Of New Language Features

See the sections on Language Support, China, and India in this Apple note.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

MacOS: Using Two Keyboards With Different Layouts

If you want to use two keyboards and have the mac automatically switch input sources depending on which one is active, try this app.

Monday, July 29, 2019

MacOS: US Keyboard Layout With Tilde Under ESC On ISO Keyboard

Users who have to switch from the standard US ANSI keyboard to the European ISO version, which has an additional key between Shift and Z, are sometimes annoyed because the Tilde character moves from under ESC to that extra key.  Here is a custom keyboard layout which puts Tilde back under ESC.

MacOS: New Slovenian Keyboard Layouts

The poster mitjam in the Apple Support Communities has created two custom Slovenian keyboard layouts which readers who use that language may find useful.

Slovenian - @, which is equal to original mac Slovenian one, except there are exchanged key combinations for characters @ and ™. You get '@' with keys ⌥ + 2.

Slovenian - PC, which is a mac Slovenian keyboard layout, useful for Slovenian PC keyboard. The basis is original mac Slovenian layout, whereas there are visible engraved characters from PC keyboard (that are different from Slovenian Mac layout) appropriately attached to particular key combinations. And keyboard is QWERTZ instead of QWERTY, to correspond to PC layout.

You can get these here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

MacOS: Armenian Phonetic Keyboard

For users wishing to supplement the Armenian keyboards supplied by Apple with a "phonetic" version like the one that comes with Windows, here is a source.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

iOS: Custom Keyboard Layouts

While MacOS has had apps enabling ordinary users to easily make custom keyboard layouts (e.g. Ukelele) for a long time already,  the same is not true for iOS.   Users still have to rely on apps produced by developers and offered via the app store.  Below is some info on how these can be made by people with the necessary skills.  The first link relates to making files for the Keyman app, which have to then be compiled on a Windows machine.  The other 3 are tutorials for iOS programmers.

These links are only for screen keyboards.  Development of hardware keyboard layouts remains a mystery.





If you can make do with somewhat more limited custom input functionality, have a look at Unicode Pad Pro.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fix for "Wrong" Chinese Character Display

In a recent discussion in the Apple Support Community (ASC) a user complained that a certain Chinese character was not being displayed correctly.  As it turned out, it was one of those where the Chinese and Japanese forms are quite different, and his phone was displaying the Japanese version.  This is caused by the device using a Japanese font, instead of a Chinese one, whioh will happen if Japanese is higher than Chinese in the Preferred Languages list.  The particular character was the one for "drink":

For other examples of characters where this can occur, see the chart labeled "Same code point, different language tags" on this page.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Main Page Updated for Mojave

I have updated the main Multilingual Mac page to cover MacOS 10.14 Mojave here.

Comments and Corrections Welcome

MacOS 10.14 Mojave: Fonts and User Guide

Apple's list of fonts included in Mojave can be found here.

Also available is an online User Guide.

And a list of Basic Support Articles for using languages.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

MacOS: Typing Kurdish

A poster in the Apple Support Communities (ASC) has pointed out that the Kurdish input source provided with MacOS does not have the mapping officially promoted by the Kurdish Regional Government.  For one that does conform to this, go here.  Another version can be found on this page.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

MacOS 10.14 Mojave: Japanese Input

One of the new features in MacOS 10.14 Mojave is supposed to be "romanized keyboard input for Japanese" or "romanized English input for Japanese Keyboard".

I had a hard time figuring out what this referred to, but thanks to info provided by Magnus Lewan it appears to be a feature making it easier to type English words in the middle of Japanese text.  Some explanation in Japanese is here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

iOS 12: New Language Features

+New definition dictionary for Hebrew, and bilingual dictionaries for Arabic/English and Hindi/English.

+Siri translation of phrases in more languages, with support for over 40 language pairs

+More natural and expressive voice for Irish English, S. African English, Danish, Norwegian, Cantonese, and Mandarin (Taiwan).

Comments from readers welcome regarding any others.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

World Communication Languages

Some fascinating maps of the languages used in international communications are available at


Friday, June 15, 2018

MacOS Mojave 10.14: Possible New Language Features

From the Apple site:

Mac is more fluent than ever.  MacOS Mojave adds UK English, Australian English, Canadian French, and Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong language options; improved maps for China; and romanized keyboard input for Japanese.

Monday, April 9, 2018

MacOS: Fixing Mixed Localizations

A good number of users have been reporting that their user interface is showing some menus or dialogues in two different languages.   A possible fix for this can be found on this page.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

iOS 11.3: New Language Features

  • Adds two new Shuangpin keyboard layouts
  • Adds support for connected hardware keyboards using the Turkish F keyboard layout
  • Improves Chinese and Japanese keyboards for better reachability on 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch devices
  • Fixes an issue that could cause the Thai keyboard to incorrectly switch to the numeric layout when in landscape mode
  • Tuesday, March 27, 2018

    Numbers App Gets Right - to - Left Tables for Arabic/Hebrew

    Numbers 5.0 released by Apple March 27 finally includes a setting for "Table Direction" which lets Arabic/Hebrew users start spreadsheets which read from right to left in column order.

    Sunday, March 11, 2018

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    MacOS: Windows US International Keyboard

    The US International keyboard layout used in Windows differs considerably from Apple's US International PC layout on the option/alt level.  You can get a test version of one for Mac which conforms to the Windows layout here.

    Tuesday, January 9, 2018

    iOS: Screen Keyboard with Full Hardware Layout

    Among the many 3rd party screen keyboards available for iOS, I recently found one called PADKEYS that imitates the normal hardware keyboard layout, with a number/punctuation row at the top, an option key for symbols and accents,  cursor keys, etc.  Covers English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.

    Sunday, January 7, 2018

    MacOS Keyboard Language Switching Bug

    In MacOS 10.13.2, it appears that you cannot switch directly from Chinese/Japanese/Korean to Cyrillic/Arabic/Hebrew/Greek keyboard layouts.  In order to get the correct results, you must first switch to US or another Latin input source.

    It's possible other keyboards are involved, but these are the ones where I have seen complaints and tested myself.

    Hopefully this bug will be fixed in a future update.

    (Appears to be fixed in 10.13.4)

    Sunday, December 10, 2017

    MacOS High Sierra: Missing Input Sources and Character Viewers

    Quite a few users have reported missing Chinese and other input sources after updating to MacOS 10.13 High Sierra.   I've found that a Safe Boot often fixes this.  If not, Apple has published an article that should do the trick.

    Wednesday, December 6, 2017

    Main Page Updated for High Sierra

    I have updated the main Multilingual Mac web page to cover MacOS 10.13 High Sierra here.

    Comments and corrections welcome.

    Thursday, November 30, 2017

    iOS 11 Keyboard Layouts

    A list of screen and hardware keyboards provided with iOS 11 can be found here. 

    Saturday, November 4, 2017

    iOS 11 Arabic Font Problem

    I have seen a number of complaints by Arabic users that the font used in iOS 11 has changed to the nastaliq calligraphy style often found in Urdu text, which they find very hard to read.  A possible fix is to go to Settings > General > Language and make sure that Arabic is higher than Urdu in the list of Preferred Languages.

    Monday, October 30, 2017

    Useful Resources for Data on Characters, Languages, and Keyboards

    The Character Usage Lookup Page will let you find info regarding the characaters used by any particular langauge, or the languages which use any particular character.

    The Unicode CLDR Keyboards Database will let you find which keyboard layouts produce which characters for a variety of computer platforms.

    Monday, October 2, 2017

    MacOS 10.13 High Sierra: New Language Features

    So far I have found the following:

    +One new system localization -- Hindi

    +A nastaliq Arabic font for those who want to use this in Urdu or elsewhere

    +New bilingual English dictionaries for Russian and Portuguese

    +Caps Lock language switching now works for Greek, Cyrillic, and Armenian (not the case in Sierra)

    I don't see any new spellcheckers or new language coverage via keyboards -- Lao and Amharic are still missing, even though Apple does provide fonts for these.

    A language setting in the Format preferences, removed in Sierra, is still missing.

    MacOS Siri cannot do translation like the iOS version can.

    If readers find others, please comment.

    Thursday, September 28, 2017

    Displaying Old Korean

    Korean text produced before the orthography reforms of early 20th century can contain various archaic Hangul forms.  Archaic_and_obsolete_letters  Not all fonts will support correct display of these.  Three which do are


    A test page which includes these forms and their various combinations can be found here.

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    iOS 11: New Language Features

    +Siri translation from English into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Spanish (beta)

    +Hindi and Shanghainese dictation

    +New keyboards for Armenian, Azerbaijani, Belarusian, Georgian, Irish, Kannada, Malayalam, Maori, Odia, Swahili, and Welsh

    +English input on the 10-key Pinyin keyboard

    +English input on the Japanese Romaji keyboard

    +Russian-English bilingual dictionary

    +Portuguese-English bilingual dictionary

    +Arabic system font support

    Tuesday, August 8, 2017

    MacOS: Reading and Writing Linear B Script

    Linear B was used for writing the earliest forms of Greek used by the Mycenaean civilization.

    For a Unicode Font, download Aegean from this page.

    For a Unicode keyboard, go to this page.

    Another input option is a character picker:



    For online resources for studying Linear B, see e-ni-jo-te.

    (I recommend you not use the old non-Unicode Clark fonts which map Linear B to Latin, as everyone should be using Unicode for text exchange these days)