Site icon

Improved Adaptive Spelling in Lion’s Mail App


Posted by Greg Mills

One of the ways Apple delights users with its software is that we commonly find thoughtful features that Apple hasn’t even mentioned in support literature. As dyslexic as an old oak tree, misspelled words don’t jump out at me the first time around when I proof read.

One of the cool features of the Apple iOS is adaptive spelling. When using iPad or iPhone and you are typing and misspell a word, the adaptive spelling feature will suggest a correctly spelled word and insert it. Since it is so easy to fumble with the tiny touch screen keyboard on iPhone, adaptive spelling was introduced in the first iPhone. It has been improved since that time.

Well, that works great if the word the program suggested is what you meant to use. Sometimes, the suggested and automatically inserted word is not only wrong, it is a hysterically funny wrong word. For me, the feature works about 90% of the time, but the rest of the time the results are embarrassing. When you are clicking away and the spell check system substitutes a word, often you don’t even notice.

I suggested to Apple, a few months ago, that it would be way cool if substituted words were a different color for a few seconds, to cause the user to notice a word was automatically changed. This allows for the user to confrim by consent that a word spelled wrong has a correct substitution as they are writing. Well, great minds think alike and while I can’t be sure it was my submitted idea or someone elses, but they did it.

When you use Mail, as you type along, if the adaptive spell checker discovers a word that isn’t spelled right, they change it to the program’s best guess and underline it in blue. If you let it pass, the blue under line disappears in a few seconds. I think this will work much better for me in helping me to notice absurdly wrong words in time to correct them.

When the word is so badly mangled the spell checker can’t even make an educated guess, the word remains underlined in red to allow you to run the conventional spell checker on it. The combination of spell check features in Mail 5.0 makes the text entry features very helpful to the dyslexics of the world and I suspect everyone else to some extent.

Pages does not seem to have apaptive spelling yet. I suspect it will in the next update. This is just one more element of the merging of the iOS and Mac OS feature set.

Exit mobile version