Monday, December 27, 2021

iOS 15 Autocorrect

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple really needs to throw out its crowdsourced machine-learned autocorrect system entirely. Autocorrect used learn from everything I typed, now it interjects with typos & weirdisms from random internet users. It’s been a complete train wreck since they introduced this stuff

I continue to see this stuff, too.

Ken Kocienda:

Autocorrect is as much psychology as technology. When I made the autocorrect system for the original iPhone, I thought a lot about whether people would understand the results they got. Even if people didn’t get want they want, I still wanted the results to seem sensible.

Building a trustworthy piece of software is as much about not doing the wrong thing as it is doing the right thing, and I think many developers don’t quite understand how one weird result can undo the positive perceptions from fifty good results.

Oluseyi Sonaiya:

But… WHY is the iOS keyboard so bad? It has actually regressed in the past two years, and I’m not talking about the spelling suggestions; I’m talking about the blue-underline grammar replacement substituting two words for one, duplicating the preceding word. How did this ship?!


Update (2021-12-28): Chris Hynes:

Never auto-correct a word that is already a valid word


When an auto-capitalized correction is retyped by the user, don’t preserve capitalization


When I tap the space bar, I sometimes tap it too high and hit a letter in the row above. I’d love auto-correct to see that I’m typing real words, but intermixing c, v, and b in with them.


Tap and hold on completion bar could show different forms


So why is it that this “Replace…” feature seems to be… better?


Sadly, note that the Undo feature is extremely buggy. Sometimes it highlights the word and the previous space. Other times it highlights everything from 2 corrections ago to the current cursor position.


Highlight corrections prominently, especially previous word corrections


Ability to turn auto-complete on and off on the fly

Nick Heer:

My iPhone has, for months, automatically changed “can” to “can’t” in nearly every context.

John Gruber:

I’m not 100 percent sure it started with iOS 15, but for a few months now, whenever I try to type “20” (twenty) on my iPhone, iOS replaces it with “2.0”. Every time.

See also: Christopher Baugh.

Update (2021-12-29): John Gruber:

If you have an app installed with the string “2.0” in its name, that will cause “20” to autocorrect to “2.0”. I in fact have such an app installed on my iPhone. At least one reader has seen the same thing with “1.0” for the same reason.

The best workaround is to create a do-nothing text replacement in Settings → General → Keyboard → Text Replacement, with the phrase “20” and shortcut “20”. I.e., set both fields to the digits of twenty.

21 Comments RSS · Twitter

Chris Hynes wrote an insightful analysis a while ago about how autocorrect could be improved:

Alright, so its not just me then. It has definitely gotten worse the past two years. I don't even understand why. One thing I really hate that is changed is how it deals with changing what you typed. Before, you used to spell a word, it would autocorrect it, but if you backed up and respelled it, it would leave it alone. Now you MUST tap on the word you want. Drives me bananas.

Crowd-sourced ML? Really??? No wonder it's so terrible. That's an astoundingly bad application of ML. Just go back to lest-edit-distance to words in a base dictionary plus ones I use. That worked pretty well, whereas the new one sometimes makes multiple changes to a word with a single error, in order to arrive at something not even close.

OMG. Autocorrect drives me nuts. It regularly changes correctly spelled words in English to Spanish!! Every time I type jumó (jump) for example it corrects to… well, you see it right there.

My current peev is that it's decided "20" is ALWAYS supposed to be "2.0" - pretty sure I've never typed that with any regularity, and no matter how many times I manually correct it...

I’ve had a similar experience. Whenever I text my daughter, Emily, whom I call Em for short, autocorrect proposes changing Em to ‘Em, even after I’ve entered Em as a keyboard shortcut for Em.

I use two languages regularly on my phone, English and Italian.
Since I upgraded to iOS 15, autocorrect replaces the Italian word "di" (which corresponds to "of", a word which is used all the time) with the word "dí", with an accent over the i, which is a VERY RARELY used contraction for the word "day". Drives me nuts.
I could not explain why it happened. Now I know. Crazy!

As someone who just turned 50, I can report that this was recently driving me bat$h¥t as well! 5-0 every time, and like someone else said, I doubt I’ve ever typed that in my artsy-fartsy life (that last part is mine).

I was blaming my Grammarly keyboard at one point, so I’m not sure if it was the recent IOS 15.2 update, or the Grammarly keyboard removal that helped, but I’m not having the issue tonight…. 50 50 50 ok 20 yeah, I think I’m good now.

I found you randomly btw. Happy new year!

Oh wow! I never ran into the 20/2.0 thing, but I run into 50 to 5-0 ALL THE TIME. Also drives me nuts.

And for me, it autocorrects 'and' to 'abs' every single time!

Autocorrect INSISTS on turning my name into Scott LEWIS. Infuriating. I don't typically type my last name in all caps. Actually, I never do.

My impression is that the main "smart" technologies I use from Apple have been getting steadily worse (meaning "less accurate") over the last year or two.

In addition to some of the auto-correct issues mentioned, the iOS speech-to-text conversion often will correctly translate my spoken words to text, pause a moment, and then convert the correct result to gibberish. It happens several times a day with no obvious pattern that I can discern.

I've also noticed that Shazam has been getting much, much worse. Very often, it doesn't even recognize the genre, never mind the song. For example, today I tested it with the theme from the old "Dallas" tv show (don't ask), and it insisted it was "American Dream" by Junya Boy. Huh?? Shazam used to be pretty good even for obscure pieces of classical music, but now it seems as likely to think a quiet instrumental passage is a rap or pop tune as anything else.

I get the change from 'well' to 'we'll' a lot but I do type 'we'll' occasionally.

So if it can 'correct' a correctly spelled word why does autocorrect never correct 'fir' to 'for'?!

It apparently thinks I'm typing about fir trees every bloody day of the week or that the word 'for' is rarely used in common parlance.

I definitely get the "fir" thing a lot. Maybe it wants me to switch careers?

Why oh why when I’ve typed a URL must it always autocorrect ‘.com’ to ‘. Con’?

Inexplicably, nearly every time I type “Washington, DC” (where I live) the “DC” part gets auto-corrected to “D.c.”—this even when I’m typing on my iPad pro with Magic Keyboard! This drives me insane.

Sort-of the opposite problem, but lately autocorrect thinks ‘snd’ is a word. It won’t correct it to ‘and’.

Bring back the kocienda autocorrect. Update it for the iPad, too. Jeez.

Thank you for this. It really drives me nuts as well, and I've had this non-specific feeling that it has gotten worse over the recent years.

Add to the mix a language that is (still, as we move on to 2022) not fully supported, like Greek. Autocorrect consistently produces sentences that make no sense, and words that are not even close to what is intended.

I couldn't type east without autocorrect changing to East until I set a Text Replacement 'fix'. Have no idea if it's still a problem. Then 2.0 pops up. The whole system is a nightmare, with multiple focus/attention targets all competing with each other as you try to type. It's always better to be wrong yourself and fix it than to have to battle a clueless attempt at AI.

We’ll, I tend to think we we’re better off before autocorrect started adding apostrophes to perfectly valid words. The current results often make me I’ll.

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