A very comprehensive guide on spell check, and auto correct in I O S.


This guide may no longer be accurate or up-to-date for most users and use cases. We're keeping it online as a courtesy to its author, but we consider it archived.
Last modified
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
A lot of people have been asking me how to use both the auto correct and also the check spelling options in I O S. I've been told about the podcast done by Marco, and the few guides which have been posted up here, but all of them seem to not be very intuitive. For this reason, I'd like to do my absolute best to try explaining this a bit more slowly and even provide you a few exercises to try to help you familiarize yourself with how this works. It's definitely a little bit tricky, and it's even more so definitely not obvious if you don't know what you're doing. I've just spent almost an hour trying to consistently figure this out, but I think I now got it. OK, so first of all, here is my number one suggestion to you. I'd not advise having check spelling and use auto correct both enabled. It's just gonna make things even more confusing if you do. You need to decide on one or the other. I find auto correct to be slightly more tricky, but I'll cover them both. Don't worry. First of all, let's talk for just a second about the differences in the two options. This way, you can get a good handle on them, and then can appropriately determine which is going to work the best for your use. First of all, let's talk about auto correct. I don't normally advise using this option as you can really get yourself in trouble with this if you don't watch it! I'll give an example of where one of my friends got the embarrassment of his life in a second, but let's stay focused. Auto correct will basically try to figure out what you're typing as you do so. For those who may back in the days have used Mobile Speak or Talks on a symbian phone, you may remember something called T9 prediction. Auto correct isn't exactly the same as that, but it is somewhat similar. Let's say that you're trying to type the word yellow. Instead of typing y, e, l, l, o, w, however, you accidentally type y, e, l, l, i, w. Whoops? As soon as you type the letter I, you're going to hear a rising pitch little bleep tone. This tells you that it thinks you meant something else, and that it's populated you with a way to now auto correct those words. I don't like using this as I said because if you're not real careful, you could insert a word that is totally not what you meant. The example I was going to give was a friend I know was talking once over text messages to their grandmother among all people. He was telling her about an item she could buy, and she had asked him how much it cost. He was typing about four bucks, but somehow auto correct kicked in and instead of it saying four bucks, it said... well, you get the point. LOL! Change the b to an f. Let's just leave it at that. Needless to say, you can imagine his horror when he reviewed the message, only after sending it off. This is why I prefer check spelling. Though it tells you the word is not correctly spelled once you hit the space bar at the end of the word, it won't do anything cute, like trying to correct things without you're knowing. So, to enable either of these settings, from your home screen, double tap on the settings icon. Now go to general, and finally, to keyboard. Be careful here. This is under settings general. This is not under the accessibility settings, nor is it under the Voiceover settings. From here you will have both options. Again, I'd recommend turning one of them on, and leaving the other one off. Either that or just turn them both off, and don't fool with it at all. Don't do both, or you'll really make a mess! OK, let's first outline the procedure for using check spelling, as it's a little bit easier. Not by much, but by a little bit. I want you to navigate somewhere where you are in a text area where you can type in a word once auto correct is turned off, and check spelling is turned on. I'm going to give you a word which really isn't a word. This way we can purposely trigger the spelling popup, and I can show you how to do this. In the text field, let's type the word "yake." That's y, A, k, e. Now, as soon as you get this typed, go like you're going to start typing your next word. So double tap the space key, just like you would do normally. Now hold it! Listen! Did you hear that? Did you hear those three little bleeps? If not, go to your delete key, back space it out, and do it again. I really need you to hear this, as that is your indication that it knows you mis spelled something. If you don't hear the bleeps, you at the very least should hear it say mis spelled. Now. Here we go. after you space at the end of the word and see that it's mis spelled, go down to your delete key, and double tap one time only, to back space out that space you just did. Trust me, You're going, why did I type a space to start with if we're only then going to delete it. I know, I know. Trust me with this. I did say this wasn't exactly obvious, so you're just gonna have to trust me with this. Aa! Did you hear what it did when you took out that space? It bleeped didn't it. OK, now, here's the trick. you now have a list of suggestions on the screen. the first thing that you need to do is to one finger flick down. You gotta do this as soon as you hear the bleep, right after back spacing out that character. If you don't do it immediately there after, then your one finger flick down will move you by your current rotor setting, which in this case, we don't want it doing. As soon as you flick down, you'll hear one of the suggestions, and it will tell you it's a menu. Now hold on! Don't double tap or flick anywhere whatever you do. If you double tap or flick right from hear you'll mess it up. What you now after flicking down need to do is to now flick left with one finger. I know, it sounds really stupid. You'd think, wouldn't you, to flick right, not left. You don't though. That's what threw me off for the longest time. If you flick right, you're gonna dismiss that suggestion popup. So flick left, and you'll hear different suggestions each time you flick left. When you get to the word you want, simply double tap. Now that word will be inserted. Let's say that you flick all the way to the left and reach the last suggestion, then flick left again. You're ok, you're ok. Don't pannick. Just flick right again one time. The only time you gotta worry about flicking right, is as soon as you flick down to get into the menu in the first place, don't immediately flick right after that before first flicking left. OK, now, yake is not a word, but let's just hypothetically say that it was. once you space, and heard it say mis spelled, just ignore it. Just keep right on typing, and you'll be ok. Auto correct works slightly differently. As you're typing, it will pop up the menu of suggestions. The issue is, you don't want to hit space then back space to bring up the menu, nor do you flick down. Instead, as soon as you hear the bleep sound, you want to find the letter q on your keyboard, then flick left from there and keep flicking left up above the keyboard until you find the suggestions menu. Once you find the menu, then flick down, and then finally start flicking left to move from suggestion by suggestion. Again, double tap on the one you want. If you really meant to type what you did when you heard the bleep, I"m not sure how to force it to type what you said instead. that's partly why I really do not advise using auto correct, but if you really wanna do it, there you have it. I really hope that this makes more sense.


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Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, October 14, 2013

Actually I have both on and it is no trouble at all. what I don't hear is a rising bleep when I misspell or it say misspelled. I have to go through word by word and do the flick to edit. I guess your phone is majicle. lol!

Submitted by Kara Louise on Monday, October 14, 2013

you have to have typing feedback set to words for it to tell you if a word's misspelled.

yeah the spellcheck feature works using a bluetooth Keyboard however this process or guide doesn't work with it. to use Spellcheck usign a Bluetooth Keyboard you need to do differences steps i don't know but I'm sure who someone submited a guide long time ago. unfortunally using bluetooth keyboard since none podcast submited to the forum. the podcasts mention above I did using iOS5 and as you know the current iOS version is 7 all the steps mentions on the podcast works on the same way.

Submitted by Rob Turner on Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanks for a well thought out presentation. Your explanation was clear and concise. I've turned off autocorrection and activated spell check and editing is now much easier. Again, thanks for your excellent contribution.

Submitted by iOS SixString on Thursday, October 24, 2013

There is obviously some minor differences depending on which IOS version you are using. For example, as I am still running V6, the flick down gesture to locate the suggestions as described is instead a flick right for me. Probably the biggest tip in this article is the need to backspace once over the space character, which makes perfect sense once you understand how to get access to the list of suggestions. So, bottom line after you upgrade and find that auto correct or spell check isn't working is to try flicking in a different direction until you find what works. Good job.

Submitted by Vash Rein on Friday, October 25, 2013

The spellcheck doesn't seem to work in pages. AutoCorrect works only when your touch typing, but not when you're using the Bluetooth keyboard. No sounds can actually be heard other than the key echo. This seems to be a relatively large bug in the pages app as it becomes very difficult to make sure if you spelled a word correctly or not. Maybe I'm wrong, and I hope that there are people who have more information than I do. However, I was hoping to be able to use pages on my iPhone as a standalone text editor. Without spellcheck, it becomes almost unusable.

what I do is show the key board by hitting the ejct button, selecting the word via the edit menu, hitting replace and flicking left and right until I get to the word I want to replace it with, then double tap the word. then hide the key board by hitting the eject key again. I'm using an apple bt keyboard by the way. Hth.

Submitted by Bobcat on Friday, December 18, 2015

I found out how to use the method for correction with a keyboard.
The trick is to turn quick nav on when I hear the blip sound. Then use left or right arrows to find the suggestions.
I had to show the onscreen keyboard for this to work while editing this post. Press the eject key top right corner of my Apple bluetooth keyboard.
So, I'm very glad to get the hang of corecting spelling with or without a keyboard on my iPhone after owning the phone for 2 years.