Sometimes, autocorrect gets it wrong, replacing a word you meant to type with something completely different. You can customize it to fix these issues or disable it altogether.

How to Access Autocorrect Settings

Autocorrect works its magic by pulling from a built-in dictionary that provides automatic text correction. Over time, you can teach the system new words, either by using the “Add to Dictionary” command on the fly as you type new words or by popping open your keyboard settings and adding them manually. Here, we’re going to talk about that manual method.

Start by firing up System Preferences > Keyboard.

On the Keyboard page, switch over to the “Text” tab. If you want to disable autocorrect completely, turn off the “Correct Spelling Automatically” checkbox.

To add a new replacement to the list, click the “Add” button (the plus sign), and then type the text you want to replace and the text you want to use instead. You can also select an existing entry and hit the “Remove” button (the minus sign) to delete the entry.

The Text tab also lets you select a few other options, such as choosing whether your Mac capitalizes words automatically or adds a period when you double space. You can also set your native language and specify whether you want your Mac to create smart quotes and dashes as you type. Your Mac syncs these settings over iCloud to your iPhone, iPad, and other Macs, so changing them here also fixes them on your other devices.

Turn Off Autocorrect In Specific Apps

You might want to disable autocorrect in one problem application, but not everywhere. To do this, head to Edit > Spelling and Grammar. Turn off “Check Spelling While Typing” to disable the red underlines and turn off “Correct Spelling Automatically” to disable automatic replacement.

Using Text Replacements

Any text replacements you create override the built-in rules your Mac follows. You can use them to create text shortcuts (like replacing “eml” with your email address) and save yourself some time. If you type the abbreviation, then hit Tab or Space, it’ll expand out to the full replacement text.

One handy trick is setting a word to replace itself. If your Mac or iPhone doesn’t let you type a particular word (like a swear word, for example), you can add the full word as both the typed text and its replacement. Autocorrect will then ignore it when you type that word.

Note: You might find some text boxes where replacements don’t work. This only seems to be an issue in Chrome and Firefox—Safari works just fine. So if your replacements are bugging out, it’s probably the app, not your settings.

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Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
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