The 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
- The mystery behind China's aggressive push into space
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Why Texas' abortion rates aren't falling as quickly as everyone expected
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- What religious traditionalists can teach us about sex
- As deadly skin cancer rates keep climbing, surgeon general says to stop tanning and wear sunscreen
- The 5 best and worst states for a well-lived life
- The 6 best low-cost smartphones
Subscribe to the Week