I love my new Apple iPhone, but the auto-correct drives me up the wall. If it corrected to the right word, that’d be fine, but it’s all over the place and produces really strange results. But if I turn it off, I don’t get my misspellings flagged. Can you show me how to use spell correct on my iPhone please?
I have a theory about the much maligned auto-correct on the Apple iPhone, actually. I think it probably gets it right 90-95% of the time and we simply don’t notice when “teh” becomes “the”, “mispeling” becomes “misspelling”, and so on. Since it all happens silently, however, it’s easy to miss this all happening and instead we want to type “I’ll be at the pizzeria in 10, just parking” and instead send “I’ll be at paparazzi in 10, just pinenut” to confusion and hilarity. Apple could ostensibly address it by highlighting those words it’s autocorrected, but perhaps that would defeat the purpose of the utility. Instead, it’s on us to learn how to be good at protractor. Uh, “proof-reading”.
The good news is that while the interface isn’t great, there is a spell correction system built into iOS that highlights spelling errors without immediately fixing them so you can fix and update your text as desired. You can use it with auto-correct or have it separately enabled, then it’s up to you to learn how it works. Or you can just read this tutorial!
DISABLE AUTO-CORRECT ON APPLE IPHONE / IPAD
Let’s start by turning off auto-correct and ensuring that spell check is enabled. Go into Settings and search for auto-correct:
Yes, there’s only one match and it sneakily auto-corrected my search behind the scenes so auto-correction matched a search for autocorrect. Yeah, sometimes it is pretty handy.
Tap on the “Auto-Correction” match and you’ll get to the Keyboards settings, where all of this resides:
Quite a few options here! You can disable Auto-Correction and leave everything else enabled if you want, that’s how I have mine set up.
Done. No more auto-correct madness. So how do you use the spelling check system? Let’s have a look.
USING SPELL CHECK WITH IPHONE OR IPAD
As you’re typing in a word, there are suggested completions on the “suggestions” row just about the tiny keyboard, as you can see in this image:
You can see it’s suggesting “free” and “from” as the possible auto-completions. Neither correct? Just keep typing.
As you finish a word, the system will sometimes pop up a tiny window immediately above the word with suggested spelling corrections:
I find that I’m generally looking at the tiny keyboard so I miss this message. No worries, you can bring it back at any point.
Indeed, once I’ve finished my sentence, I’ll now see this:
So the red squiggly line under the word is flagging that it’s misspelled. Spell check is working!
Tap on the word highlighted as misspelled and a set of options pop up:
You can see the main purpose of this is copy and paste with its Cut, Copy and Paste options shown, but it’s Replace… that we are focused on. Before I tap on that, however, do know that if you see the “>” triangle, you can tap on it for yet more options. In this context, you can turn that word bold or italic, look up the word for its definition and more.
But for now, I’ll tap on “Replace…” and that same spelling suggestions pop-up appears:
Simply tap on the word and you’re set. Notice, however, that the auto-suggestion bar just above the keyboard has updated to suggest possibilities: You can tap on one of those if you want too.
Once I fix the spelling to “fries” (not one of the suggested options!) notice what shows up on that suggested bar:
Yes. A “fries” emoji. In fact, you can search through emoji by name to find just the right image to include in your text!
HOW TO SEARCH EMOJI ON AN IPHONE
At the lower-left portion of your keyboard is a smiley image. Tap on that and you’re looking at your emoji panel:
What people don’t notice is that there’s a Search Emoji box that shows up too! Tap to move into it and start typing in a word that describes the image you want. For example, “fr” brings up:
Not sure about all of those emoji names and how they match “fr”, but most make sense: frame, french, san francisco daytime / nighttime, and frankfurter, but abacus? Film strip? Post your theories in the comments below!
Once I finish tapping in ‘fries’, that fries emoji shows up again:
Now you’ve got it. You can tap away without any annoying auto-correction getting in the way, fix flagged spelling errors, even find those fun and obscure emoji to add to your text. Have fun! 🤗
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about the iPhone since the very first device was released. I’ve also written quite a few iPhone help articles and iPad help tutorials on a wide variety of topics, so please check ’em out while you’re visiting. Thanks!