custom dictionary

Apple’s implementation of auto-correct in iOS has long been the subject of criticism. When it works, it works, but it has the reputation of being inconsistent. Sometimes it won’t notice slight misspellings of a word, and others it’ll offer wrong suggestions.

And apparently there’s a handful of words that auto-correct won’t touch at all. The Daily Beast recently ran a few low-grade, in-house tests on the feature, and it found that there are at least 12 often-used, ‘hot button’ terms it seems to purposely ignore…


First off, lets take a look at the testing method:

“To find the list of excluded words, we came up with two different misspellings for roughly 250,000 words—including all of the ones in the internal dictionary that ships with its desktop operating system—and wrote an iOS program that would input each misspelled variant into an iOS simulator (a computer program that mimics the behavior of a factory-condition iPhone). We then made a separate program that simulated a user selecting from the menu of suggested corrections and recorded the results. After narrowing down the list to roughly 20,000 words that looked problematic, we tested 12 more different misspelling combinations. Words that did not offer an accurate correction any of the 14 times were added to our list of banned words.”

Now let’s take a look at the words. “Abortion,” “abort,” “rape,” “bullet,” “ammo,” “drunken,” “drunkard,” “abduct,” “arouse,” “suicide,” “murder,” and “virginity” were all ignored by auto-correct, placing them on what The Daily Beast calls the Apple kill list.

autocorrect 2

You can try these words on your own iPhone, but keep in mind that auto-correct learns from user behavior, and it’s unclear of these words are exempt from that too. It’s also worth mentioning that many of these words accurately auto-completed in iOS 3.1.3.

So what does all of this mean? Probably nothing. But some folks feel that this is just another way that Apple is dictating what users can and cannot do with blanket censorship. And honestly, even if that was the case, that should come as a surprise to no one.

The good news is, for those who aren’t worried about the above words, it looks like auto-complete as a whole has been greatly improved in iOS 7.

What do you make of all of this?

  • Bradley Wyatt

    slow news day

  • Bradley Wyatt

    ammo is just short for ammunition, which is changed via auto correct.

  • Jonathan

    Who cares? I have autocorrect turned off.

    • Vibjerg

      We shouldn’t care because you have autocorrect turned off?

      • Gus Me

        I was waiting to see what he thought of this actually….

      • Kurt

        me too…i’m glad we got passed that 😉

  • Neo Ajaka

    Stupid Closed-Source Fascism..

    • Kurt

      very liberal company. what do you expect

      • Neo Ajaka

        funny part is, they used to trash IBM & Microsoft (M$ at the Time) 20 years ago…

  • Rickm_jr

    in iOS 7 it still doesn’t correct them. If it does, it doesn’t to those words, for example typing “bullwt” auto corrects to “billet” or “abirt” to “about”

  • El

    I hate auto correct anyway. Manual Correct Pro is the answer.

    • Kurt

      Just don’t make any mistakes. That’s what I do. 😛

  • Dominik Odobašić

    The most advanced mobile OS in the world, yet the most half assed auto correct.

    • Kurt

      You’re just holding it wrong.

  • Eric

    Hey Becky, like last night I got so drunkwn, and looked like
    a stupid drunkyard stumblin around outside of the neighborhood bar!

    And Becky, that seemed to have abrouze an alien who lives in
    a space ship, because he had done adbuct me last night!

    I struggled and tried to protect myself by grabbin some anmo
    and bulletz for my gun, but that didn’t help at all. The alien asked me was I trying to commit murdir or suiside?

    Honestly Beck, I fought that alien, so he would not try to arpe me or take my virginiyt by me havin’ his alien baby kidz! I tell ya – if I do get preggers, I’m will have an abortion, or surely abotr that alien creature!

  • Question

    Are they going to make a jailbreak for ios 6.1.3? Sorry this is like totally not related to this topic but any news about it? for the ipod touch 5G?

    • Rickm_jr

      Lol no, just no, you’re waiting until something for iOS 7 comes out

    • Alex Blaha

      Unfortunately, no. The developer team is waiting for the final (GM) release of iOS 7, then who knows how long for the jailbreak to come out.. weeks.. months.. who knows.

  • Justice and Malice

    Cody- hey Sebastian, I know ur on vacation, but it’s a ridiculously slow news day. Think I should just use that throw away story about words that don’t autocorrect?

    Sebastian- IDK. Ask Jeff

    Cody- Jeff, what do you think?

    Jeff- I don’t give a duck

  • Amad

    They seem to be all negative words. It won’t auto correct virginity is it coz apple doesn’t believe there are many virgins about?

    • Eric

      Maybe Apple “hates” Sir Richard Branson…..

    • bw00ds

      Didn’t know “virginity” was a negative word.

      It’s rather strange that it’s on the list.

  • Jimothy

    iOS 7 screws with my auto correct. I’m not sure why.

    • Ian

      I accidentally added a new keyboard language, French, and it autocorrected almost every word that was correct for English. Make sure you don’t have 2 keyboard languages. Emoji doesn’t count.

      • Jimothy

        But I have to have my Russian keyboard to talk to my friends from Russia.

      • Kurt

        But @Ian said no…so stop talking to your russian friends 😉

      • Ian

        Simply delete the keyboard when you are not talking to your Russian friends. Add it when you do talk to them. But that’s your problem

  • Scott Curry

    Autocorrect wouldn’t be so bad if the dictionary could learn…I’m tired of always stopping it from correcting ‘ur’ to ‘it’

    • Alex Blaha

      I think it does… at least in iOS 7.

      • Jimothy

        It has since at least iOS 4. At least for me.

    • Uh. It’s done that forever. Tap the x on the correction popup enough times and the word is added to the dictionary.

      • Scott Curry

        Uh well it’s not…for that and many other words i generally abbreviate.

  • Steroc

    I once misspelled replacement only for auto correct to say “no replacement found”

    • Kurt

      haha clever

  • Fahad Mahmood

    I understand why this happens. An Apple world is a perfect world. Apple aims for perfection, simplicity, and a clean world. These words wouldn’t exist in a clean world.

    As silly and stupid as this sounds, people are inclined to remove all dirty and unclean elements from their creations. It’s a psychological thing in humans. Because these words ruin the “perfect” and “innocent” illusion, Apple feels hard about these words.

    This is the same reason Apple is really strict against porn.

    • Jimothy

      A beautifully crafted response to the article.

    • Raul Henriquez

      Good stuff and yes you are right

    • Alex Blaha

      They also don’t autocorrect curse words.

  • Ian

    Worst auto-correct ever;
    What you type: I undertsand.
    What it thinks: I underpants.

  • Liam Mulcahy

    All the words on the apple kill list are Naughty

  • bw00ds

    It’s inaccurate for those who say this particular behavior is “censorship.” It’s not censorship. You can still type in the correct spelling of the words, after all. It doesn’t zap delete the words if you type them. That would be censorship.

  • Jonathan L. James

    Lol 3.1.3. Easiest jailbreak ever

    • Kurt

      ios 4.0 was easier.

  • Apanizo2


  • Apanizo2


  • Gorgonphone

    Thats why i always use manual correct

  • iOops

    These are controversial terms, and if the auto-correct mistakenly chose one of these words could, effectively do more harm than good for the consumer.

  • J™

    everytime i type “hahah” in whatsapp it becomes “Hausa”….

    • Jimothy

      Mine becomes “Hana”.

  • iOS’ autocorrect engine doesn’t correct particular words any more! OMG! CONSPIRACY!!!1

  • iWonder

    i wonder that you sending all this to sebestian? “Duck face, abortion and bullet”
    He must be waking up and saying
    Go home Cody Lee, You’re drunk.