Have you ever been typing a text message on your iPhone, only for the built-in auto-correction feature to change a word that results in the whole sentence not making any sense? Before you catch the error, the text is sent. Thankfully, you can undo those typos, but this can also be prevented by tweaking the keyboard settings.
You can turn off the auto-correction feature completely as well as control auto capitalization, predictive text, and other options. You can even create text replacements to convert an entire word or a series of letters into something else, such as your name or address. Here’s how this all works.
Turn Off Autocorrect
If you want to turn off autocorrect completely, open to Settings > General > Keyboard on your iPhone or iPad. Turn off the Auto-Correction option to stop your text from being changed to something else.
Now when you open a text message and start typing, it will no longer change words that are not in the keyboard’s dictionary, such as proper names. Instead of trying to automatically “correct” these words, your phone will simply flag them as possible misspellings and suggest an alternative word without making the change itself.
If you do make a mistake, you can still request help from your keyboard. Tap the misspelled word, and a list of alternative spellings pops up. Tap the correct spelling if you wish to replace the word you typed.
You can also return to the Keyboard settings screen and turn off Check Spelling if you do not wish to see the red lines indicating a possible misspelled word
Turn Off Predictive Text
Predictive text offers suggestions for your current word and the next word, but it doesn’t force its suggestions on you. The predictive feature also displays the word you are typing in quotes along with its other suggestions, so you can easily choose that word if it’s correct.
If you don’t want your phone predicting what you might be about to type, navigate to the Keyboard settings screen, and turn off the switch next to Predictive. However, you may want to keep this feature on, especially if you disable Auto-Correction and Check Spelling.
Update Your Keyboard’s Dictionary
If you decide not to disable Auto-Correction and Check Spelling, you can add words and phrases to your keyboard’s dictionary so they won’t be flagged. Go to the keyboard settings screen, tap Text Replacement, and select the + icon. Now, type the word or phrase you want to add into the Phrase box and it will no longer be flagged as incorrect.
With the Shortcut box, you can avoid having to type a certain word or phrase every time. For example, you could add “good morning” to the Phrase box and “GM” to the Shortcut box. Then, every time you write “GM” in a text, your phone will turn it into “good morning” as you type. To delete a shortcut from the list, swipe it to the left and tap Delete.
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Any saved words or shortcuts are added across all your Apple devices as long as iCloud syncing is enabled. Sometimes we lose track of our phone settings and need a fresh start. You can go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset and choose Reset Keyboard Dictionary to clean out any custom words you no longer want.
If you don’t trust your thumbs to hit the right buttons, you can avoid typing altogether with voice dictation. In the keyboard settings, make sure Enable Dictation is turned on. Then, when you next want to send a text message, tap the microphone icon and start speaking. Remember to include punctuation marks as you speak.
Apple uses its voice recognition technology to help people navigate their phone with their voice, so it should be able to capture most of your text correctly.
More Keyboard Settings to Change
You can further customize your keyboard from the settings screen. While many of the options here are useful, you can disable any of them by turning off their switches:
Auto-Capitalization will capitalize the first letter of a word after you type a period. It also allows you to double-tap the spacebar to enter a period.
Enable Caps Lock keeps the uppercase keyboard active if you double-tap the Shift key.
Smart Punctuation automatically converts certain punctuation marks to make them look better, such as turning straight quotation marks into curly ones or a double dash into an em dash.
Enable Key Flicks (iPad only) is a quick way to type an alternate character. Flick down on a specific key, and the character that appears at the top of the key is entered. For example, flicking down on the A key enters a @, flicking down on the D key enters a $, and flicking down on the X key enters a –. You probably want to keep this enabled, unless you keep accidentally flicking instead of tapping.
Slide to Type (iPhone) or Slide on Floating Keyboard to Type (iPad) lets you slide your finger along different keys to form a word. Often a quicker way to create a word, this option should not interfere with your regular typing whether you use it or not. So you can typically leave it enabled.
Delete Slide-to-Type by Word deletes the entire previous word that you entered by sliding if you press the Backspace key immediately after entering it. If you find that the sliding feature sometimes results in incorrect words that you need to modify instead of delete completely, then you may want to turn off this option.
Character Preview displays a larger preview of each character you tap on the keyboard as a way to confirm that you pressed the right key. For some people, this option may be annoying or distracting. For others, it’s a helpful way to more clearly tell if you are tapping the correct key.
“.” Shortcut automatically inserts a period if you double-tap the spacebar, an effective way to end one sentence and start a new one.