I love the autocorrect feature on my Android phone. Most of the time. Looking back through recent text messages, I see a series of follow-up corrections I’ve had to send out. My phone changed a friend’s name from “Lati” to “Latin.” I once got “carry” when I meant “Carrie.” These are small issues, but they’re still a little annoying.
Autocorrect has also saved me from many a misspelling, but not everyone adores the know-it-all feature. While Google has built a decent autocorrect system for its mobile operating system, it doesn’t always get it right. This is where autocorrect frustrations stem from. It doesn’t necessarily know unusual names or alternative spellings, and sometimes it jumps to erroneous conclusions about what you’re writing.
While many people find autocorrect helpful, you don’t have to keep living with it if it just isn’t working for you. We’ll look at how Android autocorrect functions, how to turn it off if necessary, and also how you can make it better.
How Android autocorrect works
Autocorrect automatically adjusts words as you’re typing, hopefully correcting misspellings along the way. It’s a system that keeps learning as you go.
Google’s standard keyboard that runs on Android is known as Gboard. Gboard uses a dictionary and adds to it as you use your gadget. According to Google, “Gboard saves the words you type to help you with spelling.” This means autocorrect should get smarter as you use it. If you’re having frustrations at first, give it a little time to learn your habits.
How to turn off autocorrect for Android
Despite the occasional autocorrect snafu, I’ve found the feature more helpful than not, and so I choose to leave it on. My husband, however, has long struggled with autocorrect on his Android phone and finally made the decision to shut it off.
Keep in mind that different manufacturers and versions of the Android operating system may change where you need to look for settings on your phone or tablet. We’re also assuming you’re using Google’s popular Gboard keyboard.
Related: Tap or click here for our Komando guide to the everyday essential Android shortcuts you need to know.
From any app that uses the keyboard, tap on a typing area to pull up Gboard. Tap on the gear icon along the top, then tap on “Text correction.” Here, you will discover a wealth of very specific settings ranging from blocking offensive words to making emoji suggestions. Scroll down to the Corrections section and tap on the toggle switch for Auto-correction to turn it off.
Turning off autocorrect doesn’t mean losing spellcheck. The spellcheck on-and-off toggle switch is found in the same keyboard settings where you turned off autocorrect. You can leave spellcheck on and continue to let Google lookout for misspellings.
If you do turn off autocorrect and end up missing it, just follow the instructions to return to the keyboard settings and turn it back on.
If you use a third-party keyboard, you should be able to access the autocorrect setting in a similar fashion. For example, I sometimes use SwiftKey. I tapped on the plus sign at the top and then on the gear icon to reach the Autocorrect setting.
Related: Open sesame! Android has a secret menu. Here’s how to find it.
How to improve autocorrect for Android
Turning off autocorrect may feel too drastic for you. If that’s the case, then you can instead explore how to make it work better for your needs. One of the best ways to do this is by beefing up the dictionary it uses. You can help it get smarter by adding words you use, including names or unusual words it might not know.
Add words to your dictionary: There are a couple of methods for doing this. If you see a word underlined in red as you type, you can tap on it and then tap on “Add to dictionary.”
You can also tackle a whole bunch of words in one go by tapping on the gear icon above the keyboard and then on Dictionary. Tap on “Personal dictionary” and then on the plus sign in the corner. Type in the word you want to to add and then on the arrow in the corner to go back. You should see the new word in your dictionary.
Remove suggested words: You can add words, but you can also take them away. This is handy if the dictionary has learned a misspelled word, or if it constantly autocorrects certain words to ones you don’t want. When typing, hold down on the suggested word at the top of the keyboard. A trash can icon will appear. Drag and drop the word onto the trash can.
I tested this out by opening Gmail and typing a sentence starting with “That was so wei.” When I left off the “rd” of “weird,” Android autocorrected it for me. I then tried it again, but this time, I tapped the word “weird” from the suggestions, held it down and dragged it to the trash icon. When I tried the sentence again, it no longer autocorrected to “weird.”
Autocorrect isn’t perfect, so it’s all about if you find it more useful than annoying. You may find you’re happier with it turned off.
(PssT!: Apple user looking for the same info? Tap or click here to find out how to turn off autocorrect on your iPhone.)