Autocorrect fail? Apple has a solution
It’s a curse that has serially embarrassed smartphone users.
The iPhone’s autocorrect function, which aims to fix touchscreen typists’ inaccurate spelling, intervenes at precisely the wrong moment, correcting “hungry” to “horny” or making texters promise to “walk their dad”. But Apple may have a solution. The company has filed a patent for a fix that would see message recipients warned that the sender’s words have been automatically corrected, preventing the confusion of seeing an incoherent or rude message.
Currently, autocorrected words are presented in the same way as any other word, both when messages are being written and read.
Apple’s proposal is that they would be highlighted using an underscore in both the typing window and when read by its intended target, distinguishing an autocorrected word from any other.
So, for example, when autocorrect censors a message to “I can’t ducking believe it”, the recipient will have more of an idea of what was intended. If the sender spots the mistake, a clarify-and-resend button would allow them to easily correct it.
“An improved user interface for displaying electronic messages including replacement character strings is needed,” the patent reads.
“Devices, methods, and graphical user interfaces for sending and receiving electronic messages including replacement character strings improve communication between a sender and recipient by informing the sender and/or the recipient when a character string was replaced by an electronic device.”
As with many of Apple’s patents, it is unclear when, or if, this will actually make it into its software. And presumably, the fix would only work on Apple’s iMessage. The metadata involved in marking some words as corrected would not suit text messages, and other services such as WhatsApp or emails would be find it difficult to support the standard.
But it could spare at least some blushes.