Why I turned off Auto-Correct

Why I turned off Auto-Correct

...and why I'm never going back.

Earlier this year I wrote two posts, one about mastering distraction (or trying to) and the other about embracing attention.

I haven't kept all the good habits I suggested but more than a few have become my new normal. The only mobile notifications I get are from actual people trying to communicate with me, I more or less keep a bulletjournal, and I live my life without auto-correct or predictive text.

This last one is a bit counter-intuitive. Fewer notifications and the meditative qualities of handwriting make me more sane, but typing anything on my iPhone is now an exercise in frustration. Tapping out a message usually ends with at least one so garbled it can't be saved by spellcheck. So, I backspace and retype.

 This typo is subtle. When I miss errors it’s usually because I’m distracted or rushed.

This typo is subtle. When I miss errors it’s usually because I’m distracted or rushed.

This is annoying, of course. It's annoying because virtual keyboards are worthless without an army of software hacks behind them. I can't touch-type a touchscreen; I can only hope for the best or let the algorithms bridge the gap. And there is a gap, a gap between how I want the device to work and how it actually works.

This could all be solved, or at least ignored, by turning auto-correct back on, sure. But going back to this augmented state of reality where I seem able to do more than I actually can, robs me. It robs me of the opportunity to give tasks the time they require and, in the case of messages, I'm robbed of my natural limits. If I can't reply to 4 messages on my walk home from work without butchering my replies then maybe I should just walk home.

What I'm saying is I think this kind of inconvenience is a gift. The frustration of typing on my iPhone without auto-correct is a much needed reminder that I don't have to be perpetually connected; I can just walk.

More often than not, I want to answer my messages. With auto-correct off I find myself taking a breath and putting my reply together more slowly. Not slow, just more slowly than as fast as possible.

I'll never go back to auto-correct because living without it reminds me I'm human.


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