The iPhone Autocorrect Ducking Problem, Explained

Jun 5, 2022 - 3 Comments

Inventor of iPhone autocorrect explains the ducking problem

Most iPhone users have experienced this before; you’re trying to emphasize just how teed off you are about something and rather than everyones favorite F word, the iPhone shows a D word instead; duck. Ducking duck. Why is autocorrected so ducked up?

If you’re wondering why the duck the iPhone is constantly ducking autocorrecting duck instead of duck with an F, then you might enjoy the video below from Wall Street Journal, where they explain how autocorrect works and interviews the creator of the original iPhone autocorrect feature, Ken Kocienda.

Ken explains how autocorrect works by queuing a broad dictionary as well as a user dictionary, and why some common errors happen. If you’re unfamiliar with how autocorrect functions, you may find the video to be informative, and it’s kind of fun even if you already know how it all functions.

And the guaranteed solution offered by WSJ to stop autocorrecting ducking duck? It’s actually this solution using Keyboard Shortcuts that we covered nearly a decade ago – yes, it still works. And so does the repetition trick from the same time frame! Some tips are just timeless, eh?

While the focus of the video is iPhone, the autocorrect feature is the same on iPhone as it is on iPad, and Mac for that matter, so you can learn a bit about autocorrect no matter what device you’re on.

And of course if you’re totally sick of autocorrect, you can turn it off on iPhone or the Mac at any time.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun


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  1. Steve says:

    I’ve thought for years that Apple should release an Autocorrect API so that users could add, modify or delete Autocorrect entries. I’m sure lots of people would pay to access the in-built Autocorrect database on their device via an app.

  2. Susan Dickie says:

    When you do the sliding type of typing on the iPhone (which is very handy), I’ve noticed that you can never get “the” to remain “the”. I don’t know why the mostly likely word needs to be changed to a less likely word such as “there”. You need to proof read everything.

  3. jdh says:

    Very helpful. But I have one criticism — of Apple, not you. Why doesn’t Apple put in a simpler one-keystroke Undo, and why doesn’t it do what many previous dictionary software has done: All a simple system for adding words to the user dictionary, rather than using AI where it doesn’t work well? My old WordPerfect spellcheck worked just fine, giving the user direct control over some features. I would also add the question: how do I stop (or undo more easily) the “correction” when there are two correct spellings of a word? My personal favorite Jeff and Geoff. Both are correct, but I have to choose between either one being corrected OR the other being corrected. Apple AFAIK provides no way to leave alone which ever one I type in; it won’t let me REMOVE a word from the Static Dictionary. Duck!!! 🤬

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