Fixing Autocorrect Woes

January 5, 2024

Every few months, my iPhone’s keyboard seems to degrade. More mistakes slip past autocorrect, and I have to type words 3-4 times in a row to remove typos. Sometimes, it even adds its own typos when I get a word right.

My theory is I rely on autocorrect too much, and that creates a feedback loop over time. I tend to make the same mistakes, like tapping the space bar too close to the N and getting phrases like “I amngoingnto”. In the beginning, autocorrect assumes this is a mistake and fixes it. But as my sloppy typing turns into muscle memory, the keyboard’s machine learning algorithm treats the frequency as intentional and adjusts accordingly. It starts ignoring my most frequent stray Ns and even replaces spaces with Ns.

Whatever the reason, I’ve found resetting my keyboard dictionary when these issues arise tends to help. To do this on iOS, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary. These taps get progressively scarier - I’m always afraid I’ll accidentally reset the entire phone. But, at least in iOS 17, the Reset button triggers another prompt to choose specifically what to reset.

I go through this process every few months. There’s a small adjustment period in the beginning while the keyboard re-learns my most frequently used words, but this is much less annoying than fighting the bad habits it picks up over time.