When was the last time autocorrect made your life easier? Reach back in your memory and try to conjure up a time that autocorrect really nailed it.
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To be clear: by “autocorrect,” I mean software that automatically replaces what you’ve typed with what it thinks you surely meant to type. I have no beef with predictive text and spell-check, which are super helpful for people with dyslexia and dysgraphia, or anyone who sends important emails from their phone.
Many accessibility functions, like swipe-to-type and custom keyboard shortcuts, wouldn’t exist without predictive text algorithms. The technology behind autocorrect isn’t the problem, but the execution kinda sucks.
I’ve had autocorrect disabled for years, and there are two big reasons I’m never going back. First, it’s easier to get my point across without it. A few transposed letters make a message harder to parse, but one auto-replaced word can change its entire meaning – especially when your phone keeps shoving that word into subsequent messages.
Second, I like things I write to sound like I actually wrote them. We all have a unique way of expressing ourselves with words; autocorrect is so hell-bent on correcting us that it makes all of our messages read the same. I sound very different in professional emails than my soccer shitposting group chat, and my autocorrect-free phone keeps it that way.
If you’re starting to come around, it’s very easy to disable autocorrect. iOs users can access keyboard settings from the keyboard itself; Android keyboards have a gear icon in the top right-hand corner, which brings up a menu with “Smart typing” and “Restore to defaults” options. The former holds menus for predictive text, spell-check, auto-replace, and custom keyboard shortcuts, and the latter lets you clear cached dictionary data. (Apple, for reasons I’m sure are totally legit, hides the dictionary reset feature in the “General” settings menu instead of with the other keyboard settings.) Play around in the settings and see what appeals to you.
Of course, this advice won’t work for everyone. Maybe you’re among the dozens of people who feel that autocorrect flawlessly anticipates their every keystroke. For the rest of us, though, disabling autocorrect is like taking the training wheels off a bicycle – if the idea makes you uncomfortable, all the more reason to get it over with already.