You probably have had experience when you’re trying to spell an odd word that isn’t in the dictionary, and your iPhone keeps autocorrecting it to how it thinks it should be spelled. It might be time to teach it what you’re trying to say.

You could just backspace after it makes the correction and force it to spell it the way you want, but that’s annoying and time-consuming, especially when you’re trying to dash off a quick message to a friend or relative. A better solution is to teach your iPhone exactly what you’re trying to say.

Here’s a perfect example. Let’s say we want to check our checking balance via text and our bank requires you text the word “bal”. The second we type “bal”, autocorrect suggest “val” instead.

If we try to proceed, “val” will automatically be inserted into our text.

In order to make “bal” stick, we have to go back so we are given a list of possible options and then choose “bal” from them.

This is tedious and annoying, but there is a simple way to teach your iPhone or iPad words it does not know.

First, open the Settings.

Now tap “General” and then tap “Keyboard”.

In the keyboard settings, we want to now tap “Text Replacement” in iOS 8 and “Shortcuts” in earlier iOS versions.

Once we’re in the Text Replacement screen, tap the “+” in the upper-right corner and enter the “Phrase” we want (don’t worry about adding a shortcut) and then tap “Save”.

Now, with our word saved in our iPhone or iPad, we can safely now use our off-color, slang, or even curse word or phrase without fear of being annoyingly corrected every time.

This will work just as well for proper names that we may not know how to spell, but which autocorrect always manages to mangle.

Understand however, just because we add words to the text replacement list, doesn’t mean we’ll get a suggestion for particularly long or irregular words that commonly gives us problems but we can add a shortcut, which will make things a lot easier.

For example, let’s say we and a friend regularly meet at local restaurant with a challenging name, like Chick-Fil-A. By using a shortcut, all we need to do is type your unique shortcut and our iPhone will automatically change it.

To do this, we just go back into the text replacement settings as outlined earlier and add a shortcut phrase as shown below.

Now, whenever we type our shortcut, cfa, it will autocorrect to the full name, Chick-Fil-A. This works just as well for multiple word phrases and sentences as well, and makes relatively short work of potentially annoying texting situations.

RELATED: How to Tame (and Improve) the iPhone's Autocorrect Feature

There’s a lot more to this however, if you want to learn all the ins and outs of how to tame autocorrect on your iPhone.

Hopefully, from now on you’ll be able to alleviate your autocorrect woes and minimize any potential or existing annoyances. Over the course of time, you’ll be able to fix it so that these situations are as irregular as the words autocorrect is always fixing.

Profile Photo for Matt Klein Matt Klein
Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8.
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