Monthly Archives: December 2016

Has Auto-Correct Gotten So Smart That It’s Now Stupid?

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At first I thought it was just me, but it seems many others are struggling with the same issue.   Several years ago when phones finally had pretty good auto-correct and spell check I felt like it was actually a pretty nice thing to have.   As I typed on my phone with fumbly fingers most of my errors would be fixed leaving just a few to fix manually before clicking send.   And the auto-correct would replace words based on the context as well which made things altogether pretty intelligent.  My thought had been that as the developers (Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc) of these predictive text dictionaries got more and more data from user devices the auto-correct function would get so good that you’d have little to fix after typing an entire message.

img_3010However, what seems to have happened in the past year or two is that the algorithms have gotten marginally better, but the aggressiveness of auto-correct has increased by an order of magnitude.  What I find now is that I have to retype words 2-3 times before auto-correct will let me keep it the way I’ve spelled it.  And if I mistype a word and try to correct it myself, sometimes auto-correct will then suggest the very misspelling I was trying to fix.   Even with a new phone and new computer, which haven’t had time to learn my own vocabulary, the auto-correct functionality suggests words that don’t even make sense, trying to replace perfectly valid words I’ve typed.   This affects both my phone and my computer, albeit both are Apple products, and my wife has the same issue with hers.

So I’ve given up on Auto-Correct, and gone back to the old way, with underlined words that I can selectively fix or leave as-is before I click send.   Frankly it takes me less time to manually correct a couple of words than it did to fight auto-correct to allow me to type the words correctly in the first place.

The good news is you can disable Auto Correct and get back to the good old days of being informed without being intruded on.

  • On a Mac, go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> “Text” tab, and un-checking “correct spelling automatically”.
  • On an iPhone, go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard, and disable “Auto-Correction”.


In both cases incorrect spellings and such will be underlined and suggested words will still be shown, but it won’t automatically replace what you have actually typed.  You can still chose one of the suggestions and/or click the underlined word for a correction, basically the same thing that you could do before Auto-Correct became so smart it turned stupid.

P.S. Please forgive any typos as this was typed on a Mac with Auto-Correct disabled.   😉

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