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 bullet journal, 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 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.
Will you help me make blogs great again? Blogs used to be islands of connection in the vast sea of the web. Now the internet is dominated by platforms which demand as much as they offer.