Turn Off Auto Correct in Mac OS X Mountain Lion & Mavericks

Jul 28, 2011 - 51 Comments

keyboard autocorrect in Mac OS X The Mac has an autocorrect feature that can range from excellent to annoying, and it works by attempting to automatically correct typos and misspellings of words as they appear, which are instantly compared to an extensive dictionary and replaced on the fly. It can be a great feature but it’s not perfect, and how you feel about auto-corrections really depends on what you’re trying to type, how often you make typos, and what your individual experience is with the corrections themselves, much of which can depend on typing habits themselves. If you find yourself on the annoyed end of things with OS X Lion, Mountain Lion, or Mavericks new auto correct feature, you will be pleased to discover it can be disabled quickly.

Disabling Auto-Corrections in Mac OS X Mavericks

In OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the autocorrect setting remains the same but the location has changed slightly from prior versions of OS X (as described below):

  1. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu as usual, then go to “Keyboard”
  2. Choose the “Text” tab
  3. Uncheck the box next to “Correct spelling automatically”

This is what the Keyboard > Text > “Correct Spelling Automatically” option looks line in new versions of OS X, in other words, if your Mac is fairly new this is what you’ll find in the preference panel:

Disable Autocorrect in Mac OS X

As mentioned before, prior versions of OS X are handled just slightly differently because the setting was relocated in modern versions. If you don’t find the option available in the Keyboard settings, you probably just need to look in Language & Text options instead, as described next…

Disabling Auto-Correct in Mac OS X

This applies to OS X 10.7 (Lion), OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), whereas OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) is slightly different and described a above:

  • Launch System Preferences from the  Apple menu, then choose on “Language & Text”
  • Click on the “Text” tab and uncheck the box next to “correct spelling automatically”

Here is what the OFF setting will look like in the preference panel for these versions of Mac OS X:

Turn off Auto Correct in Mac OS X Lion

The end effect is the same, and OS X will no longer try to correct your typing, typos or not.

Auto correct first arrived to OSX with Lion, and overall it’s seemingly a lot more intelligent than it was when first introduced in iOS. As a cross OS feature, it has gotten much better as the autocorrect dictionary will learn from your typing habits, words, and even mistakes, but it can still be frustrating from time to time, and it’s not uncommon for it to be improperly triggered and make the wrong assumptions when you are typing unique names of people, products, companies, slang, and even various tech terms.

Obviously if you want auto-corrections enabled again, you just need to venture back into Language & Text preferences to recheck that box, which is then toggled back on.

Update: If you are experiencing annoying autocorrections like ‘colour’ to ‘color’ this is a language priority setting that must be adjusted separately in OS X.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

51 Comments

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  1. Mike says:

    I like the spelling corrections and I haven’t found it to be a nuisance in Lion. I completely agree about iOS’s version though, it is overly aggressive and replaces words with other words, despite being spelled properly.

  2. edwald says:

    - and, of course, the auto-correct feature is annoying to people trying to type words -or entire documents, even- in a language other than english.

  3. lois says:

    i have unchecked it and its still auto correcting me even on msn! please help! x

    • steven says:

      same here… first i tried turning the feature off within the TextEdit application, but it didn’t work.. then read this thread and turned it off at the OS level, and STILL didn’t work, autocorrect is still on…
      naughty naughty

      • aggro says:

        Said in my best Irish/English accent, “have you tried turning it off and on again?”

      • cassandra says:

        I found it! Edit > Spelling!

        • Ryan says:

          you are my hero, this has been driving me crazy

          • Andrew says:

            Wow! Thanks for that! I’ve been looking high and low for that solution and your post is the only place I’ve seen it!
            Phew. I have OSX 10.9.2 and Pages 5.0 and all of the obvious settings were not working. So, again – to everyone looking….within the Pages menu – go to:
            Edit / Spelling and Grammar / and then you can uncheck “Check Spelling Automatically” and YOU can also make other related preferences there too. Amazing how disruptive it can be to your flow when you need a simple setting like that turned off and can’t figure it out. THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!

      • sid says:

        After disabling from System Preferences, it shows as the blue bubble while typing, need to press the Esc before Space. I think that’s the max you can get for your money :)

  4. Tyler says:

    seriously… thank you. I am so sick of typing things twice. I spend all day coding and using business names… they love to change them on me.

  5. shoota says:

    Mine is still auto correcting too. Lion is a huge PITA so far

    • Shayne says:

      I really like some aspects of lion. But 60% of its new “features” I’ve had to disable. Apple really need to abandon the stupid “no focus groups ” idea.

  6. shoota says:

    Ah, safari has it’s own. Edit > Spelling and Grammar, there it is

  7. [...] you disabled spelling auto-correct in Mac OS X Lion but find yourself still being autocorrected as you type various words in Safari, [...]

  8. [...] autocorrect feature is very useful, so instead of turning it off, set a language priority and you’ll alleviate the aforementioned [...]

  9. Kevin says:

    Thank you! It’s been bugging the hell out of me every day, I know the word is spelled right but it corrects it to something else anyway. Particularly bad when talking about Dragonball Z character names and music producing gear like the Maschine (corrects it to Machine)

  10. [...] I was typing in OmniOutliner and I realized that OSX was trying to correct my spelling. It reminded me too much of using a mobile phone because it wasn’t my spelling that was off — it was picking on names. Best way is to turn off auto correct for spelling. [...]

  11. al says:

    Thanks…. it put an o in calling somebody a count and I realised it had to go!

  12. Maria says:

    For some reason when I go into my system preferences and click on the Text and Language tab there is no option to uncheck correct spelling automatically like shown in the picture. My computer still continues to autocorrect but I cant de-activate it because I don’t have that box.

  13. Rod griffiths says:

    What is really insane is when it “corrects” passwords. The damn things are supposed to be unique so correction virtually never makes sense.

  14. Tonya says:

    I’m new to the whole iMac and apple stuff and I need help please. I’m using pages 09 to type some documents in English and Swedish. The auto correct is driving me nuts because it keeps replacing Swedish words with English. I did the above step and disabled the auto correct, however, it still replaces the Swedish words. I have a Swedish keyboard and typing words correct but pages just won’t accept them. I just want it to stop replacing/correcting words automatically.
    Any suggestions or help would be great. Thanks

  15. [...] of text editors that has carried over into OS X. The keyboard shortcut is most useful if you have autocorrect disabled, otherwise those minor typos tend to fix [...]

  16. jim says:

    thank you for this! auto correct has been driving me insane! I work in a technical field and every time we get into jargon, that damn thing decreased my productivity by 1000?%

  17. swbratcher says:

    Thanks! Helpful post.

  18. mer says:

    I have spell-check turned off on the Text system preference panel. But every time I launch an application that uses text I have to turn it off in the app preferences; it’s never saved anymore. This started with 10.7.4 and it’s driving me mad. I loathe those red squiggles while I’m typing, and they’re rarely correct, anyway. Before, it was just a matter of setting the preference once with each application. Now, it I’m not allowed for it to be my “preference” at all.

  19. [...] are the same that are underlined in red for typos, or underlined in green for improper grammar. For auto-corrected words, you’ll find them underlined in [...]

  20. rd says:

    I’ve turn it off in System Prefs and in Pages and in Safari and it still in correcting, wrongly! Help, where else do I turn it off?

  21. rd says:

    Okay, found it. There is the global setting in Sys Prefs, but two places in pages (Pages, Preferences and Edit, Spelling)!

  22. [...] bug was first reported on OpenRadar and is thought to relate to the spell checking and autocorrection features, though the bug is also replicable in prior versions of Mac OS X suggesting that may not [...]

  23. Piss3d says:

    The fact that you cannot turn this crap off is beyond me, I cannot understand how these morons can get something so simple so damn frikken wrong.

  24. Paul says:

    There is no Language & Text in Mavericks damn it. Why does every single one of these how-tos give Mountain Lion and not Mavericks instructions.

  25. Autocorrect me not! says:

    Autocorrect may work for english on a Mac. I keep it off either way.
    It just sucks for other languages, specially when it came to slangs and region specific dialects, something pretty common worldwide…

    What I hate about it, is correcting what I’ve typed on skype (without looking). Then I press send and see the terrible result. Off with you autocorrect.

  26. Alfred says:

    The problem with autocorrect is that it’s akin to running spell-check and always choosing the default option. A lot of the time it’s right, but when it’s wrong, the typo goes from being an obvious mistake to something you have to proofread carefully to find. I would use the feature if the corrections remained highlighted so I could quickly verify them.

  27. gmail.com says:

    OMG thanks, pretty sure this is the worst feature apple’s ever come out with. what a nuisance.

  28. Christina says:

    Thank you so much! My computer was set to British English and was constantly “correcting” all of my American English text. This has been driving me crazy for months and your instructions finally enabled me to fix the problem!

  29. Robert Paul Malchow says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is very helpful!

  30. Deborah says:

    Thank you! That was driving me nuts!

  31. bernard duf says:

    Thank you!
    I don’t know in which world the pro auto-correct leaves because there is nothing more annoying to type a word numerous time and being “corrected” by this dumb feature of Mavericks.

  32. Herbert Feuersemmel says:

    Hi, for my expericence, the autocorrect or spellchecker in OSX (each and every one since SL) is the worst implementation ever!
    I disable it globally in the systemsettings and every application (ie. textedit) does not care about that settings.
    I disable it in any application (ie. textedit) and after closing the application and starting it again, the setting is ignored again and those nasty little red lines are back in town….
    thats barefaced behaviour I ever have seen….

  33. allan says:

    thank you. what an irritating ‘feature.’

  34. KDog says:

    You made a typo : “This is what the Keyboard > Text > “Correct Spelling Automatically” option looks line in new versions of OS X”

    …”Looks LINE” instead of “Looks LIKE”

    Autocorrect probably F’ed you on that one too… If it didn’t autocorrect it you probably would have seen the red squiggle and would have fixed it accordingly. Instead it put in some word you never intended there and you missed it. THAT is my biggest issue with it.

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