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Why does MATLAB fail to load my preferred language on macOS Sierra?

When running MATLAB on macOS Sierra, I have noticed that MATLAB does not seem to load my language, region, or text encoding preferences correctly. On previous releases of macOS, the MATLAB user interface appeared in my preferred language, but on macOS Sierra it appears in English. Additionally, MATLAB fails to load or save non-ASCII characters. How can I resolve this issue?

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27 Answers

Answer by MathWorks Support Team on 7 Oct 2016
Edited by MathWorks Support Team on 7 Oct 2016
 Accepted Answer

Apple released macOS Sierra on September 20, 2016 and changed the way macOS reports Language & Region preferences to MATLAB. If you have set your Language & Region (hereafter referred to together as "locale") to a locale not listed below, you may be impacted by this issue. To check your locale, open the "Language & Region" preference pane in System Preferences. Your current Language is at the top of the list on the left, and your Region is listed in the drop down menu on the right.
The following locales are not impacted by this issue:
  • English, United States
  • English, Australia
  • English, Canada
  • English, United Kingdom
  • Deutsch, Austria
  • Deutsch, Switzerland
  • Français, Canada
  • Français, Switzerland
  • Español, Spain
  • Nederlands, Belgium
  • Português, Brazil
  • Português, Portugal
If you have set your Mac to one of these locales, no patch is necessary. MATLAB will use the correct character encoding for your locale regardless of which release of MATLAB you are using.
If you have set your Mac to a locale outside of these twelve, you either need to update to a newer release of MATLAB or apply a patch for MATLAB to resume its expected behavior in your locale.
If you are running MATLAB R2016b and you installed MATLAB before October 6, 2016, a patch can be downloaded here. If you installed MATLAB after October 6, 2016, no action is required.
If you are running MATLAB R2014a through R2016a a patch for these releases of MATLAB can be downloaded here.
If you are running MATLAB R2013b or earlier a patch for these releases is not available. Please update to MATLAB R2014a or later to use MATLAB on macOS Sierra.
If you are not sure if your Mac is affected by this issue, the script attached to this article will tell you. To run the script:
  1. Download the attached file, sierraLocaleDetector.p
  2. Move the file to your MATLAB working directory
  3. In MATLAB, run the command "sierraLocaleDetector"
The script will tell if your Mac is impacted and if you need to apply the patch.

  8 Comments

@Jonathan: There was a change in the format of locale strings returned from macOS which MATLAB depends on to determine language, region, and character encoding. Apple describes the change to language identifiers in macOS.
@Raphael Canty: We are qualifying a patch against the final release of macOS Sierra and will publish it as soon as it is ready.
Well, Walter, in my days as a systems administrator, I have met lots of people who agreed with you.
They are all wrong. As a systems administrator, application developers driving my upgrade path is nonsense. Endlessly infuriating. I expect Mathworks to have absolutely zero say in what OSes I run for my scientists. Applications should deploy on current OSes. Period, especially from an infosec POV. ESPECIALLY if the OS in question is a *nix variant. I build supercomputers for physicists.
Mathworks simply dropped the ball here. Not only that, it's a locales issue. They should be able to handle this quickly and efficiently. But at least they're fixing it...so props there.
"As a systems administrator, application developers driving my upgrade path is nonsense. "
You might perhaps have been given a very very different mandate than I was. As systems administrator my mandate was to keep the hardware and software working smoothly in support of applications and development.
The organizations I worked for did not buy computer hardware because computer hardware is cool: they bought computer hardware to run applications, and to develop software. The operating system version was considered a detail left to me provided that the OS updates did not break anything. I got actively criticized for upgrading OS versions unless the upgrade was completely transparent -- and even then, I would get criticized for rebooting the server in the middle of the night because then people would (Oh, horrors!) have to log back on!
In every single place I have worked over the decades, an operating system was never an end in itself: it was always only there to make it possible to run the needed software.
Systems Administration is not a theoretical task: it is the art of making things work. Including anticipating and measuring and alleviating risks. An operating system upgrade is always a risk, and should never be put into place without testing. You can be virtually guaranteed that the OS vendor did not do their testing on your exact configuration, so you need to test everything of importance to you before deploying.
The places I have worked that could afford more than one computer always maintained the Development / Production distinction (though we were more likely to call it "Test-Bed" than "Development".) One system or network that could afford to be messed up while new things were implemented, and different systems that were required to work (except while being updated with tested configurations). Upgrading the production systems with day-of-release software versions without testing first was Not Acceptable to the people I worked with.

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Answer by James Huffman on 21 Sep 2016

I think that this is completely unacceptable. Did MathWorks update their systems today and just find out? As was mentioned, beta versions of the developer preview have been available for some time and the final GM seed has even been out for almost a week! Some users (myself included) had already upgraded by the time that MathWorks sent out an email alerting users to this issue. How long has MathWorks known that this was an issue, and was any other effort made to alert users before they upgraded? Thankfully, I do not use MATLAB on a daily basis, but if I did I can assure you that an OS upgrade unknowingly bricking my main work tool would leave me very upset.

  6 Comments

Raphael, what leads you to think that it was possible for Mathworks to solve the problem on its own? If Apple introduced a bug into a sequence that Apple itself has documented to do something, then what leverage does Mathworks have to force Apple to fix the bug before release?
"Apple releases a new version of MacOS every year, at the same time each year"
  • OS-X 10 beta: September 13, 2000
  • OS-X 10.0: March 24, 2001
  • OS-X 10.1: September 25, 2001
  • OS-X 10.2: August 23, 2002
  • OS-X 10.3: October 24, 2003
  • OS-X 10.4: April 29, 2005
  • OS-X 10.5: October 26, 2007
  • OS-X 10.6: August 28, 2009
  • OS-X 10.7: July 20, 2011
  • OS-X 10.8: July 25, 2012
  • OS-X 10.9: October 22, 2013
  • OS-X 10.10: October 16, 2014 (released to developers June 2, 2014 = 4 1/2 months earlier)
  • OS-X 10.11: September 30, 2015 (released to developers June 8, 2015 = 3 3/4 months earlier)
  • OS-X 10.12: September 20, 2016 (released to developers June 13, 2016 = 3 1/4 months earlier)
"Every year"? Only since 2011. Mathworks adopted their current release schedule in 2006.
"at the same time each year" ? Uh, no. Fall dates have been in the plurality, but the timing has bounced around, and the beta period was 5 weeks shorter this time than even just two years ago.
By way of contrast: the first public preview of Windows 10 was October 1, 2014, and Windows 10 went General Availability on July 29, 2015, which gave developers a hair short of 10 months to work through problems with Microsoft.
MacOS 10.13: September 25, 2017 (released to developers June 5, 2017 = 3 3/4 months earlier)

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Answer by Sandor Toth on 20 Sep 2016

Is MATLAB R2016b compatible with MacOS 10.12 using language English and region Switzerland?

  1 Comment

Language English with region Switzerland is impacted by this issue. If you have non-ASCII characters in your MATLAB text files (.m, .mdl, .csv, etc.) they will not save correctly if opened on macOS Sierra. Wikipedia has an ASCII reference if you want to check to see if you are using non-ASCII characters.
If you are not sure if you have non-ASCII characters in your text files, we recommend waiting for a workaround which will be posted on the bug report.

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Answer by Michael Tesar on 21 Sep 2016

I am pretty sick and tired of every year incompatibility, Java errors and slow performance of latest Apple HW and SW. This was the last time, I got into point, where I uninstalled all MathWorks software from our laboratory and switched to Python, which is free, compatible and capable and I get better performance than MATLAB, which is bit shame, when you pay a lot of money for almost 20 copies of expensive SW, which doesn't work every year for 6 month.

  1 Comment

Of course Python itself does not really do anything similar to MATLAB, so you would need to also download and install numpy and scipy and matplotlib and whatever other packages are required for your task... and quelle surprise!: these different modules also have incompatibilities and require a particular release to work together. Then you find a bug that is fixed in a recent release and so you update one package... and then it all stops working. Brilliant. And there is no technical support: lots of forums of course, filled with the computer geeks who are delighted that they get to spend hours/days/weeks playing around trying to get it to function. Pity the poor fools who just want to get their work done, though.

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Answer by Glenn
on 21 Sep 2016

In stead of announcing for which languages and regions settings it is incompatible, are you able to announce which languages and/or regions settings result in incompatibility?
This way everyone can check for themselves if they are affected, in stead of having to wait until their settings may (or may not) become part of the list of compatible settings.

  1 Comment

There are tens of thousands of Language and Region combinations and at this time we believe the 11 listed above are not impacted. If your Language and Region is not listed then non-ASCII characters in your MATLAB text files will not be saved correctly.

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Answer by Tom
on 7 Oct 2016
Edited by Tom
on 7 Oct 2016

I patched Matlab (R2015b) as a result I am unable to open Matlab. It says ""MATLAB_R2015b" überprüfen". Which means: Checking Matlab... I use the english version of Matlab in Germany. What can I do?
The reason I patched Matlab was, that the trackpad-response in Matlab was super sensible since I updated to Sierra... (this resulted in strong difficulties of scrolling in Matlab. The scrolling is just way to fast)
I rebooted my MacBook but still Matlab won´t open...
Thanks for your advice...
EDIT: After I pressed "open anyway" and several tries Matlab works again :-) But still the scrolling-issue accures!!!! Scrolling is much to sensitive and fast since Sierra.... !

  2 Comments

Same here with the patch to Matlab2015b, French language in Germany (macOS Sierra). I get the alert pop up "MATLAB_2015b cannot be opened because the developer's identity is not confirmed". Allowing it to run manually in the System Preferences / Security panel did not work.
Hey after I pressed "open anyway" and it somehow worked. I have no idea why it suddenly allowed to open after allowing it about 10 times...

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Answer by Marie
on 21 Sep 2016

Is MATLAB R2016b compatible with MacOS 10.12 using language English/ American and region France? and language french ?

  1 Comment

Language English with region France is impacted by this issue. If you have non-ASCII characters in your MATLAB text files (.m, .mdl, .csv, etc.) they will not save correctly if opened on macOS Sierra. Wikipedia has an ASCII reference if you want to check to see if you are using non-ASCII characters.
If you are not sure if you have non-ASCII characters in your text files, we recommend waiting for a workaround which will be posted on the bug report.

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Answer by J Weijs
on 21 Sep 2016
Edited by J Weijs
on 21 Sep 2016

Hello, I am willing to test French, France on a second mac I don't use for production anyway (R2016b). What tests should I run in order to check whether Matlab is (in)compatible?

  8 Comments

Ok, so I will waiting for a patch. I hope "asap". Thank you for your help and for your test with Matlab and Sierra!
There is now a patch, see http://www.mathworks.com/support/bugreports/1465823 . I can confirm it works: the commands above now return "fr_FR" and "ISO-8859-1" as they should.

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Answer by Dave Bleasdale on 21 Sep 2016

Does the above mean that systems running 'English, United Kingdom' are completely OK
Is MATLAB online affected?
Dave

  3 Comments

That's correct, language English with region United Kingdom is not impacted.
MATLAB Online is not affected regardless of language and region settings.
Does that include older versions? I'm running 2012b and 2013b (for compatibility issues with 3rd party packages).
Regardless of the release you are running, if you are in one of the 12 locales listed in the answer you will not be impacted by this issue. If you are not sure what locale you are in, please download and run the script attached to this article.

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Answer by Stephen Obrochta on 22 Sep 2016

MATLAB has real issues with Non-ASCII characters, so I'm not at all surprised this happened.
As of 2014b en_us version on mac, I cannot switch to a path with Japanese characters. If this hasn't been fixed in a subsequent release, now would be a good time address it.
As is, I'm forced to either use the ja_jp version or avoid any Japanese folder name, neither of which is desirable.

  0 Comments

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Answer by Snoopy
on 22 Sep 2016

Is language English, region Netherlands affected by the issue? Thanks.

  1 Comment

Language English with region Netherlands is impacted by this issue. However, if you are using MATLAB R2016a or R2016b, a patch is now available on the bug report.

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Answer by Mher oubarian on 23 Sep 2016

Was the problem fixed after installing the patch provided ? Is it now safe to intall os sierra?

  1 Comment

As of September 23rd, 2016, a patch is available for R2016a and R2016b on the bug report. If you are using R2016a or R2016b, it is safe to apply the patch and update to macOS Sierra.

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Answer by PITAKTAI SUBPOOLPECH on 23 Sep 2016

Is language English, region Thailand affected by the issue? and when you fix it can i know about and update its?,Thank

  1 Comment

Language English with region Thailand is impacted by this issue. However, if you are using MATLAB R2016a or R2016b, a patch is now available on the bug report.

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Is MatLab 2015b compatible with macOS 10.12 in Spain?

  1 Comment

Language Spanish with region Spain is not impacted. All releases of MATLAB will work as intended in this locale.

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Answer by Hanzhe Huang on 25 Sep 2016

Completed the patching for 2016a China but the software still doesn't work.

  2 Comments

If you are still experiencing a problem with your character encoding after applying the patch, please contact MathWorks Support.
Hi, I suffer from the same problem with you. I also use Chinese, a new version of 2016b (9.1.0.441655) didn't work for me, nor the patch. Can you please tell me how you solved this problem? Thanks

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Answer by Reza Hosseinzadeh on 26 Sep 2016

language English ,region Finland , Matlab 2016a , is it OK to upgrade to macos sierra?

  1 Comment

If you are using MATLAB R2016a or R2016b, a patch is now available on the bug report.

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Answer by TOBIN ARUL on 28 Sep 2016

Is MATLAB R2015b compatible with MacOS 10.12 using language English and region India?

  1 Comment

Language English with region India is impacted by this issue. A patch is available for R2015b on the bug report.

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Answer by Jochen Hammes on 29 Sep 2016

Hi, I'm trying to install the patch for Matlab 2016b but I don't know where to find the "Matlab Runtime" that the patch is asking for. Selecting the Matlab-App int he Applications-Folder does not work.

  1 Comment

If the patch is asking you to locate the MATLAB Runtime but you want to patch MATLAB, then you downloaded the patch for the MATLAB Runtime, not MATLAB. For MATLAB, you want the patch on this bug report.

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Answer by Giacomo Alo' on 3 Oct 2016

Can i install MATLAB R2015b on MacOS Sierra 10.12? I have an academic licence. Thanks for answer.

  1 Comment

Yes, you can. If you are using a language / region other than one of the eleven listed, then you will need to install the patch.

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Answer by Shuang Luo on 8 Oct 2016

I used MATLAB 2016a, my language is Chinese, region is Finland. I installed the patch: R2016a_patch_1465823_2016-09-21.dmg.zip and ran it. It said patching completed. But when I open my MATLAB 2016a, the language is English not Chinese.(Before my upgraded my MAC to Sierra, the language of my MATLAB is Chinese.) I dont care about the language but I do care about whether the bug is fixed already? I don't want my code goes wrong. Can u tell me how to fix it? Thx very much.

  2 Comments

We are sorry to hear that the patch did not restore your localization settings. A MathWorks Support Representative will follow up with you to determine why this happened.
Hi, I suffer from the same problem with you. My language is also Chinese, a new version of 2016b (9.1.0.441655) didn't work for me, nor the patch. Can you please tell me how you solved this problem? Thanks

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Answer by Aiven Timptner on 16 Oct 2016
Edited by Aiven Timptner on 20 Oct 2016

After a little misunderstanding and having a nicely conversation with MathWorks Installation Support my MatLab works just as fine. Patch worked for me and was easy to install.

  1 Comment

We are sorry to hear that the patch did not restore your localization settings. A MathWorks Support Representative will follow up with you to determine why this happened.

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Answer by Pavel Samokrutov on 20 Oct 2016

Is MatLab 2016b compatible with macOS 10.12 in Russia?

  1 Comment

All Russian locales are impacted. If your Mac's language is set to Russian, you should apply the patch.

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Answer by William
on 21 Oct 2016

Do I understand correctly that if one is running Matlab with the English language and is not using any non-ASCII characters, then there will be no problem running earlier versions of Matlab on OS Sierra regardless of the locale setting?

  1 Comment

Language English with region United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or Australia are not impacted. If your Mac's locale is set to one of these four options, then you are not impacted by this bug.
Similarly, if you are exclusively using ASCII characters, then you will not be impacted by this bug regardless of your region settings.
Lastly, MathWorks has only qualified MATLAB R2016b on macOS Sierra, so this is the only release that MathWorks supports on macOS Sierra. However, we believe that releases R2014b through R2016a will run with few or no issues once the patch is applied. However, if you attempt to install or run R2014a and earlier, you will begin to encounter other compatibility issues on macOS Sierra.

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Answer by Simone Orcioni on 24 Oct 2016
Edited by MathWorks Support Team on 24 Oct 2016

Dear MathWorks Support Team,
I install Sierra only after knowing that a patch for the locale issue existed.
I patched my previously installed 2016b version of Matlab, but it didn't work.
I installed a new version of 2016b (9.1.0.441655) but it didn't work.
I tried to patch also this version of Matlab, but it didn't work.
The welcome message, when entering in Matlab is always:
ans = US-ASCII
But Matlab editor continues to destroy all accented characters in my comments, so I'm forced to use octave-gui to edit and debugging my code.
When can I go back to using Matlab?
regards
S.

  2 Comments

We are sorry to hear that the patch did not restore your localization settings. A MathWorks Support Representative will follow up with you to determine why this happened.
Hi, I suffer from the same problem with you, a new version of 2016b (9.1.0.441655) didn't work for me, nor the patch. Can you please tell me how you solved this problem? Thanks

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Answer by Mr M.
on 31 Oct 2016

I would like to run MATLAB 2013b on Sierra, but window with title "Error Starting Desktop" appears. Lots of error messages are in there, most of them contains keyword: java.
For example: java.lang.NullPointerExeption
com.mathworks.widgets.WindowsWidgetFactory‹‹SearchAndClearButton.anyText(WindowsWidgetFactory.java:187)

  1 Comment

MathWorks does not recommend running R2013b on macOS Sierra as a patch for the issue described in this article is not available for R2013b. If you are using MATLAB outside of the eleven Language & Region combinations listed in the above answer, you will be limited to the ASCII character encoding when using R2013b on macOS Sierra.
You may be able to get R2013b to run on macOS Sierra if you apply this patch however there are other problems associated with running MATLAB R2013b on macOS Sierra which could manifest. For additional assistance please contact MathWorks support, but to reiterate, MATLAB R2013b is not supported on macOS Sierra and you may not be able to get it to run at all. The best way to run MATLAB on macOS Sierra is to update to R2016b.

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Answer by Oscar Stiven on 1 Nov 2016

Dear MathWorks Support Team,
I install Mac OsX Sierra I installed a new version of 2016b (9.1.0.441655) but it didn't work. I tried to patch also this version of Matlab, but it didn't work. Is MatLab 2016b compatible with macOS 10.12 in Ecuador?

  1 Comment

We are sorry to hear that the patch did not restore your localization settings. A MathWorks Support Representative will follow up with you to determine why this happened.

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Answer by boleto faturablog on 27 Jun 2017

Great tips, also had the same problem.

  0 Comments

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