iPhone Autocorrect Gets a Pretty Ducking Awesome Update

iPhone Autocorrect Gets a Pretty Ducking Awesome Update

Back in 2015, I got super annoyed that every time I dropped the f-bomb on my iPhone, it would autocorrect to a duck. It prompted me to add the actual word I wanted to my phone’s Text Replacement feature, which meant that it stopped autocorrecting the word and let me swear to my heart’s content.

Even now, given how smart this Apple walled garden is, when I typed the headline (using a MacBook), it was autocorrected to ‘f*cking’, using my requested change. I’ve also accidentally published an article with the change made automatically when I was referring to someone ‘ducking’ in and out of somewhere.

Well, I can now remove this prompt, as Apple finally understands cursing is what the people want.

iOS 17 is bringing with it big updates to the intelligence in the iPhone Keyboard, ones to make text input more intuitive. Starting with iPhone Autocorrect, which is powered by on-device machine learning.

“Over the years, we’ve continued to advance these models, the keyboard now leverages a transformer language model, which is state of the art for word prediction making autocorrect more accurate than ever,” said Apple SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi. “With the power of Apple Silicon, iPhone can run this model every time you tap a key.”

Autocorrect is also getting more capable, with a refreshed design Federighi said will better support iPhone users as they type. Included in this, is sentence-level auto-corrections, which can fix more types of grammatical mistakes. Too often, I’ll write words like ‘bus’ or ‘were’ and respectively my iPhone will think I mean ‘bud’ and ‘we’re’. Now, if an auto-correction isn’t what you wanted, tapping the underlined word shows what you actually typed, with the option to revert back to it. Hallelujah.

iphone autocorrect
Screenshot: Gizmodo Australia

“And, in those moments where you just want to type a ducking word, the keyboard will learn it too,” Federighi added.

When it comes to speeding up typing, predictive text already helps you quickly finish, add, or change a word with suggestions down the bottom (if you haven’t hidden this annoying feature), but now, it’s a little less annoying. Borrowing a leaf from the Google playbook, you’ll now get predictions inline as you type.

iphone autocorrect
Screenshot: Gizmodo Australia

To select the word, just tap the space bar.

“Predictions improve based on the phrases and words you use, so they’re more personalised,” Federighi said.

Lastly, dictation also gets a new transformer-based speech recognition model that leverages the neural engine to make dictation more accurate.

Head over here to see a summary of everything Apple announced at WWDC 2023.