he iPhone's autocorrect feature has certainly given the world its fair share of chuckles and book deals of questionable merit. But in less humorous news, it turns out that the iPhone refuses to preemptively fix a handful of so-called "sensitive" words, including "abortion," "rape," "murder," and more. A new experiment by The Daily Beast's NewsBeast Labs used a computer program to go through some 14,000 words that iOS 6, at factory settings, won't change if you make a slight spelling mistake:
In fact, previous iOS software, before spell check was introduced in April 2010, autocorrected many of the words the latest software won't. "Abortion," "rape,” "drunken," "arouse," "murder," "virginity," and others were accurately autocompleted under iOS 3.1.3.
Currently all new iOS devices ship with iOS 6, which includes spell check. Anyone who has upgraded their iOS since fall 2012 will have the latest iOS 6 software. [The Daily Beast]
It's a bit strange, but it isn't entirely unexpected. Apple, which naturally refused to comment on the matter, is no stranger to pearl-clutching, as evidenced by its adamant insistence that the App Store remain PG-13.
Yet Apple's inability to comprehend that adults sometimes use adult language is oddly out of touch with reality. "My iPhone is not a dimwit. It seems to grasp and memorize names and phrases I use repeatedly. These may not have any significance to anyone beyond those who know me intimately," wrote CNET's Chris Matyszczyk in a 2012 column. "Yet somehow, it doesn't know s---."
That said, if you use a strange word not in Apple's standard dictionary enough (iOS 6 and up), it should save your dirty "slang, inside jokes, and abbreviations" in iCloud across your devices, according to Gizmodo. "S---head," for instance.
Head over to The Daily Beast for the full list of words your autocorrect doesn't recognize by default, which includes an eyebrow-raising array of Shakespearean gems and sailor-speak, such as "cuckold," "deflower," "marijuana," "pornography," and "prostitute."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why we need a maximum wage
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
Subscribe to the Week