Summary: So you want to add words to iPhone’s dictionary? You can. Sort of.
Warning: R-Rated language ahead.
(Updated: 2008-12-11, see end of post)
Since the release of the iPhone, some people have been annoyed at the iPhone’s spelling checker, which is, how shall we say, a little prudish.
For example, if you try to use a certain common “vulgarity”, iPhone will try to correct it, as seen here:
This is a source of great frustration to many people, because if you aren’t paying close attention, iPhone will “auto-correct” you and no doubt change the meaning of the sentence you were trying to write.
You can tap on the little “x” to cancel the auto-correction, and it will learn, but that learning seems to be extremely short-lived. [Turns out I was wrong. See update and correction below.]
There is no way that I am aware of to add a word to the iPhone dictionary, but you can work around the issue by being what I call “a sneaky bastard”.
The iPhone uses your list of Contacts as possible auto-complete or matching when you type. This makes sense, if you have someone’s name in your address book, you may very well find yourself typing it one day, and occasionally iPhone will even offer to correct my spelling of people’s names.
(Aside: That is pretty rare, however, because if iPhone sees a word capitalized and not at the beginning of a sentence, it seems to assume it is a name and often will not offer to auto-correct it.)
During an amazingly boring and poorly led meeting today, it occurred to me that I might be able to work around the “ducking iPhone” issue by creating a contact with this name:
This does seem to have solved the problem.
While iPhone does not seem to offer me the use of this name when I’m typing, it no longer tries to auto-correct it to “ducking”.
Note that I made both the first and last “names” lowercase. iPhone wants to capitalize the first and last names, so you’ll have to toggle the shift before typing.
I hope this helps make your iPhone a little less ducking annoying.
(I hope this is obvious, but you can use it for other words that iPhone doesn’t recognize as well. This is just, by far, the most common word I hear people complain about.)
ps - A fine addendum from William Thomas who commented that you do not have to put this in the Name field for this to work. I assumed that to be true, but never verified it. I will most likely create a contact named “Custom Dictionary” and add these words to that contact.
Update: A source who is, as they say, familiar with the situation, wrote in to tell me that I was wrong about the iPhone not learning if corrected. The explanation is that you have to type the word repeatedly, and not do what I was doing, which was typing the word several times and then deleting it. The more times you type it, then send it in an email/form/whatever, the greater “weight” it is given for future use. I’m not removing “FF” from my Address Book, but I wanted to set the record straight that I had been a little too ducking impatient.
Yes, you could disable auto-complete altogether, but I rely on it far too much to turn it off completely.
I realize that some people will object to profanity (Hi Mom!). The reality is that a lot of people use the word, and it is a common frustration with the iPhone’s autocompletion. Checkout the Twitter search for ducking iPhone before today. Objecting to the word itself is completely missing the point. (And there are other words that iPhone doesn’t know too.)
Comments will be approved at my discretion. I have no intention of letting this deteriorate into a whine-fest about what words people use or don’t, nor for one line dismissals of the iPhone. Write your own post.