iPhone or iPad Capitalizing Random Words? Try This Workaround

Jan 30, 2018 - 22 Comments

iOS randomly capitalizes words on iPad and iPhone sometimes

Many users with iOS 11 are noticing that their iPad and iPhone will randomly capitalize words that were typed in the middle of sentences. For example, a sentence May look Like This with Randomly capitalized Words for No apparent reason, requiring Many manual Corrections Of what you have Typed.

The random capitalization issue has been around since iOS 11 debuted and has yet to be resolved, but there are a few workarounds that may be of assistance if you’re deeply annoyed by having typed words capitalize themselves at random.

iOS Randomly Capitalizing Typed Words? Here’s a Workaround

One way to stop the random capitalization of words is to disable Auto-Capitalization of words in iOS. While this will prevent the random word capitalization is means you will need to capitalize every word yourself. Accordingly, this is really only practical if you routinely use an external Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad (or iPhone), since you’ll be needing to use the shift key regularly to capitalize words yourself just like you would on a Mac or desktop PC.

  1. Open the “Settings” app on the iPhone or iPad and then go to “General” and to “Keyboard”
  2. Locate the setting for “Auto-Capitalization” and turn the switch to OFF

Disable Auto-Capitalization for iOS

This is a blunt force approach and not an ideal solution by any means.

Again, with auto-capitalization disabled, everything will be in lowercase caps just like you were typing on a Mac or PC, thereby requiring constant use of the Shift key to capitalize words that need proper casing. Some people will find that a sufficient trade-off wheres others will find it to be unacceptable, and it’s arguably more useful going this route on iPad than iPhone just due to the nature of the onscreen keyboards.

Why words randomly capitalize themselves in iOS 11 is not clear but it’s perhaps a bug that is yet to be addressed with software updates to iPhone and iPad.

Workaround 2: Check Your Contacts for the Capitalized Words

Another possibility that explains some random capitalization is if the names or words being capitalized appear in your Contacts list. You can check this through the iOS Contacts app.

For example if you have a contact for “Doctor Bob” then you may find that every time you type the word ‘doctor’ it shows up as “Doctor”, or if you have a contact for “Flowers ETC” then you may notice that both ‘flowers’ and ‘etc’ show up capitalized to represent how they appear in contacts.

For business names, you can modify the contacts so that the “First Name” and “Last Name” fields are left blank and instead fill in the “Business Name” section of the contact and then saving the change.

Some other options that have floated around support forums include disabling auto-correct on iPhone or iPad completely, or even resetting the Keyboard dictionary, but in testing neither of those seemed to fix the issue.

Workaround 3: Resetting the Keyboard Dictionary in iOS

If you do want to try resetting the keyboard dictionary on iPhone or iPad, then do the following:

  1. Open the “Settings” app and go to “General” and then to “Reset”
  2. Choose “Reset Keyboard Dictionary” – note you will lose keyboard shortcuts set in iOS by doing so

This has mixed results however, and may or may not help the issue for you. Let us know in the comments below if you have success with this method, or any other.

This appears to be a fairly widespread issue, and there are many threads (1, 2, 3, 4) on this topic on the Apple Discussion boards, suggesting that Apple should be aware of the problem, and perhaps we’ll get a resolution in a future iOS software update.

Do you have any experience with the random capitalization of words when typing on an iPad or iPhone with iOS 11? Were you able to remedy the problem with this fix or another solution? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

22 Comments

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  1. Skeptic says:

    This happens to me constantly on iPad, slightly less so on iPhone. It does with words, not just contacts or names.

    Very annoying to say the last. But on the other hand, the iPad is sort of a big toy and content consumption device so it’s not exactly hampering workflow. People use actual computers for real work in the real world, despite what the commercials try to sell and tell you.

    I recall a discussion that it’s possibly due to so-called “machine learning” that Apple is implementing given that’s a new buzzword everyone must jump to. Given how amazing Siri is with the other hot buzzword of “AI”, you can see how well buzzword chasing is working…

    • Dave says:

      Random capitalization is made worse by the need in iOS to delete the entire word to correct the problem, something Android doesn’t require. Why in the world can’t the cursor be located between two letters of a word?

      And why not design a better keyboard, one with numbers and letters visible? These area are examples of terrible design, design without regard at all to functionality.

  2. Toby says:

    I have an e-mail contact called Sick Note. That explains the random [S]ick and [N]ote, thanks! Now I need to comb through my address book for others.

    • Anne says:

      Unfortunately, it “learns” to capitalize in many other situations.

      I found it could be thrown off by simply using the word as the first word of a sentence.

  3. Richard says:

    I *think* that a fix is to correct the error again and again until the device ‘learns’ to not uppercase it. Example, shortly after watching the Wonder Woman movie, I texted several friends what a great movie Wonder Woman is. Thereafter the words Wonder and Woman were auto-capitalised for some time in any and all subsequent texts. I typed up several dummy texts containing these words, correcting to lower case several times. Finally my iPhone stopped auto-capitalising. I’m not saying this is a convenient fix, but it seemed to work for me.

  4. Richard Goldsmith says:

    I don’t get words capitalized but on my iPad Air I get numbers substituted for the lowercase letters such as 5he and w@s when the .?123 button has not been touched.

  5. Anne says:

    It drove me crazy on my old iPad and I’m disappointed that it’s still there. Turning off auto-capitalization is the only solution.

    I watched it for a while and I think I found a pattern.

    The wrongly capitalized words had been used before, in the context of the first word of a sentence.

    I write a lot of photo captions and I used some words repeatedly as the first word of captions. It was impossible not to notice the pattern.

    On a more positive note, autocorrect is improved in some ways. For example, “blockquote”, previously treated as a unknown string now auto fills. Also, certain commonly used phrases are recognized much better than before.

    I am getting occasional question marks before letters, but not that often.

  6. Thanks so much for researching this. I’m a writer, and I’ve been enjoying easing into doing more and more writing on my iPad Pro and Logitech Bluetooth keyboard. I’ve been reluctant to simply turn off auto caps, but seeing the sad lack of alternatives, I’m going to do just that. Thanks again. Hope to see an update sooner than later.

  7. jggtn says:

    I had to wipe the keyboard dictionary on my new iPhone X which temporarily solved the problem but it’s back. Sad thing is that Apple appears to not consider grammatical context when it invokes capitalization. For example, when I decide to add a word mid sentence it randomly and inappropriately capitalizes it as if it’s thinking I’m starting a new sentence (in the middle of an existing sentence).

    Apple’s spellcheck also randomly selects words when it doesn’t like the word I’m typing. For example, substituting a word starting in “b” for a word I specifically typed starting in “c”. (I know. Sounds absurd, but it happened.) In other words, I don’t need Apple to decide for me what it thinks I want based on some crowd sourced AI garbage it thinks the popular kids are using, or some similar algorithmic nonsence.

  8. RM says:

    I forgot about this setting, thank you.

    My other beef with auto correct is how the context of my sentence drastically changes when “U” is changed to “I”, often just as I hit the send button… lol

  9. Nina Penny says:

    This is great advice! It happened with the work ‘work’. Changed my work contacts to a small ‘w’ and it rectified it. Thanks.

  10. Nina Penny says:

    This is great advice! It happened with the word ‘work’. Changed my work contacts to a small ‘w’ and it rectified it. Thanks.

  11. John Hansen says:

    I’m not finding these issues but for about the last 6 months my iPad and iPhone seem to have lost the ability to spell!! For instance, when I type ‘from’ it automatically reverts to ‘form’.
    ‘&’ becomes ‘and’, ‘out’ becomes “our” – unless it has speech marks in which case it reverts to “out” again.. ‘there’ reverts to “three” etc. etc. etc.
    I could go on forever about the words that change, but it seems a random process. The point is, IT SHOULD’T BE HAPPENING!!

    Also, there should be some legal responsibility on the purveyor of the system (i.e. Apple) to respond to the demonstrable fact that the system they took our hard earned money for is clearly not of merchantable quality!!

    In short, what does it take to insist that Apple take responsibility for their actions (and preferably compensate us for this ‘snake oil’)!!

  12. Bob says:

    The key is to go back to IOS10.
    All you have to do is find the person that decided that what ever he did to undo it.
    Why would any sane person make a change like that to a perfectly perfect program. It’s as annoying as hell and needs to fixed… right now and then fire ever who did this.
    Each one of us is paying thousand of dollars a year to be a part of the richest telecom company in the world and this is how we get rewarded????? Samsung is looking pretty good right now.

  13. Kyle says:

    This worked for me:

    Reset your personal dictionary. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary. All custom words and shortcuts are deleted, and the keyboard dictionary returns to its default state.

  14. Matt says:

    I checked my address book for the words that were being capitalised inappropriately. I found each of the words as either the first word in first name or last name. When I changed it to lower case, the problem went away. Thanks for the suggestion and help.

  15. Steve says:

    Thank you. I simply went through my address book and changed all the problem words to lower case and the problem is solved.

  16. LordBlight says:

    Thank you. I had contacts with caps. Problem solved

  17. Mark says:

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! for your suggestion to check contact list with regard to why a word may keep auto capitalizing.

    iPhone has been capitalizing “Seats” for a couple years now and was driving me crazing. Turns out I had a contact that had “Seats” in the name. When I deleted I can now type a sentence with “seats” in the middle of it and no longer have iPhone change it it to “Seats”.

  18. Kathleen Beltz says:

    Thanks for the name capitalization hint; it worked immediately! It was driving me bonkers.

  19. John J. says:

    Tried toggling the “auto capitalization” switch to off several times but still yet inappropriate words capitalized all the time. Very frustrated you have to delete and then re-type words Frequently.

    Incidentally, the word “frequently” in the first paragraph is just one more example of words I don’t want capitalized but regularly get “Auto Capitalized”.

    And he suggestions?

  20. John Jaffe says:

    Have auto capitalization turned off, and still get lots of random, inappropriate capitalizations of words?!
    Other ideas?

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