How to Use Autocorrect on Android

Avoid embarrassing errors and personalize your dictionary

Smiling young couple commuters texting with smart phone on bus
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Autocorrect can be a lifesaver, saving you from embarrassing typos in emails and texts, but it can also be a nightmare, changing a friendly note into something sinister, dirty, or awkward. (There's a reason that sites like Damn You Autocorrect exist.) There are ways, however, to make this tool more of a help than a hindrance. Here are a few ways to take back control of your messaging.

The information below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.

Instructions in this article apply to Android Pie (9), Oreo (8), and Nougat (7).

Managing Autocorrect on Android

On newer Android smartphones (except for Samsung models) you have to enable or disable autocorrect on an app-by-app basis. However, these settings are not easy to find.

  1. On your Android device open an app that you can type in, such as email, messaging, or a note-taking app.

  2. Tap where you can enter text so that the keyboard pops up.

  3. Tap the arrow on the upper left of the keyboard, then tap the three vertical dots on the right side.

  4. Tap Settings.

    Android keyboard settings.

    You won't find text correction settings in the overall Settings area of an app; you go to the keyboard settings as outlined above.

  5. Tap Text Correction.

  6. In the Corrections section, toggle Auto-correction on. You can also toggle on Autospace after punctuation, Auto-capitalization, Double-Space period, and Spell check.

  7. In the Suggestions section, you can enable or disable Show suggestion strip, Next-word suggestions, Block offensive words, Show emoji suggestions, Suggest Contacts, and Personalized suggestions.

Add Words and Abbreviations to Your Personal Dictionary

You can also update your dictionary directly in Android apps. These options are in your keyboard's settings. To do this on Gboard - the Google keyboard:

  1. Open an app that you can type with, such as Gmail or Google Keep.

  2. Tap in a text input area to pull up your keyboard.

  3. Tap the arrow on the upper left of the keyboard, then tap the three vertical dots on the right side.

  4. Tap Settings to get to your Gboard's settings.

    Android keyboard settings.
  5. Tap Dictionary.

  6. Tap Personal Dictionary.

    Here you can also tap Delete learned words to reset your dictionary.

  7. Tap the plus sign at the top right to add a new word to the dictionary.

    Android keyboard settings.
  8. Now when you type words in your personal dictionary they won't get auto-corrected or flagged by spell check.

How to Enable and Disable Android's Spell Checker

Google has a feature called Spell checker, which helps you avoid typos, and offers word suggestions as you're typing. The Spell checker is enabled by default, but if you've turned it off or want to check that it's on, you can do so easily. Of course, you don't have to use Spell checker at all, and it's simple to disable.

To turn Spell Checker on or off on Gboard:

  1. Go to Settings on your Android smartphone.

  2. Tap System > Languages & input > Advanced.

    Android Language & input settings.

    Underneath Languages & input, you'll see the name of the default keyboard (in this case Gboard).

  3. Tap > Spell checker.

  4. Toggle Use spell checker on or off. Tap Languages to change the default language.

  5. Optionally, you can tap the gear icon next to Default spell checker and toggle on Look up contact names.

    Android spell checker settings.
  6. The spell checker will then cross-check first and last names with your contact list.

Autocorrect Options on Samsung Phones

Samsung Galaxy phones have different autocorrect settings than smartphones with stock Android. Autocorrect settings are under Smart typing.

  1. Go to Settings.

  2. Tap General management.

  3. Tap Language and input.

    Samsung Language & input settings.
  4. Tap On-screen keyboard and select the Samsung keyboard.

  5. Tap Smart typing.

    Samsung Smart typing settings.
  6. Samsung has an array of options here. You can toggle on or off:

    • Predictive text
    • Auto replace (Tap Enter or space to use a suggested word)
    • Text shortcuts (create shortcuts for common phrases)
    • Auto spell check
    • Auto capitalize
    • Auto spacing
    • Auto punctuate
  7. The Text shortcuts option also serves as your personal dictionary.