Here's How To Stop Autocorrect From Ducking Up

Photo: Courtesy Apple.
You know it's happened to you: You type out a thoughtful message on your phone, only to discover that Autocorrect has once again mangled your message into nonsensical word stew. Luckily, you can train Autocorrect to quit fucking up. Here are five ways to teach it wut's what.

Reset Your Dictionary
If your Autocorrect situation is really abominable, start with a blank slate and reset the keyboard dictionary. To do this, go to Settings, General, and Reset. Then, select "Reset Keyboard Dictionary." Autocorrect will unlearn whatever mistakes it's learned, and you'll be able to re-train it from scratch.

Teach Autocorrect Your Favorite Made-Up Words
If you're typing and that little suggestion pops up on a word you know you've spelled correctly, tap it away. This is the first step in teaching your iPhone that this is a word you want it to learn. In the past, I used this technique to teach my phone that "margaritas" should correctly read "MARGARITAAAS" — which, while initially an accident, proved quite awesome in all subsequent text messages about my favorite frozen beverage. (If you do accidentally accept an unwanted autocorrect suggestion, just tap delete and then retype the last letter of your word.)

Outsmart Autocorrect With Keyboard Shortcuts
You can thwart Autocorrect and save typing time by turning a word (or a portion of a word) into a keyboard shortcut. Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, and scroll down to Shortcuts. Select the plus sign in the righthand corner to add a new shortcut. Type in the phrase you want the phone to know, like "What do you want to do for dinner?" and then a shortcut for that phrase. I chose "dindin," because that's a phrase I'm not going to type any other time.

You can do shortcuts for all sorts of things. If you want your device to learn how to spell "Matthew McConaughey," you could make the phrase "Matthew McConaughey" and the shortcut "Matthew McC." If you always mistype "meeting" as "meetg" and Autocorrect has given up on correcting it, make "meetg" an actual shortcut for "meeting."

Add Words Or Names To Your Contacts
Another alternative, which works particularly well for names, is to make sure they're in your Contacts. While this may not fix a misspelling, Autocorrect will at least stop turning Kelly to jelly, or Naveen to maven. You can also use this for curse words: Just add a couple ZZZs to the beginning of the last-name field so the entry sits at the end of your Contacts list, out of the way — and make the expletive the first name.

Search Frequently Used Words In Safari
If you're too impatient for Autocorrect to learn your preferences, you can try typing in words you use frequently in Safari's search field. This should teach Autocorrect to quit correcting those words. However, in a few tests, the method was hit-or-miss. I found that a Safari search for "crapmonkeys" didn't prevent Autocorrect from changing that to "crampon keys" in a subsequent text message. Sigh. I guess crapmonkeys does deserve its own keyboard shortcut, after all.
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