Apple Looks to Streamline Clarification of Awkward Autocorrect Messages in New Patent Application

by

The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently published a new patent application originally filed by Apple last July, detailing a system in which the receiver of an iMessage could be notified when pieces of the message are scrambled incoherently by the company's autocorrect system (via AppleInsider). The patent isn't a proactive solution to enhance the sometimes spotty nature of autocorrect, but simply a way to let the person on the other end of the text know what's happening, and give each user tools to better explain what they meant.

Apple describes a new user interface that would highlight any words or phrases in a message that have been siphoned through autocorrect. The system wouldn't be advanced enough to reveal the specifically intentioned words the sender meant, but at least give the receiver a heads up about which parts of the text were corrected.

autocorrect patent 1

A design of the sender-side UI

Parts of the patent reveal iterations of the idea that can streamline the clarification process, as well. For example, a description of the sender-side user interface includes a prompt that pops up -- after a user taps on the autocorrected word -- with an option to "Send clarification" to the receiver. The canned message fills out the phrase, "I sent [wrong word], but I meant [correct word]." If they want a complete do-over, the user could also just opt to re-send the entire message.

autocorrect patent 2

A design of the receiver-side UI

On the receiver-side user interface, if the sender isn't opting to fix the issue themselves, the other person can "Request clarification" by tapping on the highlighted autocorrect word or phrase. The automated message is similar to the previous sender-side phrase, asking "You sent [wrong word]. What did you mean?"

If implemented in a future version of iOS, the autocorrect highlight patent could be similar to the way iOS currently underscores vague references to dates and times when users send and receive text messages. Apple's new patent could be slightly more helpful for most users than that feature, however, especially given the speed with which iPhone users have grown accustomed to texting on the device, and how frustrating it can be to realize autocorrect interfered with your message.

Like most patents, it's still advised to be wary of how long it'll take Apple to implement the autocorrect notification system into iOS, if it ever will. Still, it's easy to see how useful and streamlined such a feature could be, without completely taking out much of the humorous -- and sometimes awkward -- mishaps for which autocorrect has become famous.

Tag: patent

Top Rated Comments

iLoveDeveloping Avatar
62 months ago
Yey better autocorrect, it works most of the tomatoes.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ArtOfWarfare Avatar
62 months ago
I feel that it would be vastly simpler to just fix autocorrect. I think if they fixed these two things, it would do away with 99% of false corrections by autocorrect:

#1: When I type a word that includes a capital in it, and it isn't the the first letter of the sentence, don't touch it. Ever. It's a name or trademark or something - it isn't ordinary English, leave it alone.

#2: When I type a valid English word, leave it alone. I don't care that it's statistically improbable that it's what I meant or whatever. AFAIK, I have never mistakenly typed one valid English word but meant another.

I remember making this suggestion when I was using my first iPhone, the 3GS, 7 years ago. I was so sure that Apple would swiftly fix it. Here we are, 7 years later with iOS 9, and autocorrect still sucks just as badly as it did then.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RichTF Avatar
62 months ago
Sounds like a ducking awesome idea for iMessage!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gaximus Avatar
62 months ago

Um, no. I don't have that problem. I don't press my finger in the same spot when I mean different letters, so I don't mix up top or too (because there's an o right before the letter that could be mixed up).

I definitely don't type letters in the wrong order and end up with no when I meant on or vice versa.

I could imagine there are some situations where autocorrect's current behavior is better than its behavior if you make the changes I proposed, but they seem exceedingly rare to me.

Wow I've never meet someone who never makes a mistake while typing. You must be an amazing typist or type so slow that its impossible to make a mistake. Some words I type so fast from muscle memory I'll mix up the characters, even in my own name.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
62 months ago
Autocorrect really sucks when you are bilingual, sometimes I deliberately type words in a different language but it autocorrects, it shouldn't do that when you have more than 1 keyboard language on your phone, or even on OS X.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oneMadRssn Avatar
62 months ago
I usually turn off autocorrect.

This is my thinking - I would rather send the right word spelled wrong than the wrong word spelled right.

The former just looks like the typo, whereas the latter could entirely change the meaning of the sentence.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
iOS 14

Apple Seeds Second Betas of iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 10:03 am PST by
Apple today seeded the second betas of upcoming iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 updates to developers for testing purposes, with the new betas coming a month after Apple released the first betas. iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. Paired with the HomePod 14.4 beta that is...
caldigit thunderbolt 4 dock featured

CalDigit Introduces USB-C Dock With 10 Ports and Up to 94W Charging for Macs [Updated]

Wednesday January 13, 2021 9:16 am PST by
CalDigit today unveiled a new Thunderbolt 4 dock with a wide selection of connectivity options, including three USB-A ports, one USB-C port, two HDMI 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The dock also has a Thunderbolt 4 port that allows it to be connected to a Mac with a single cable, with up to 94W of pass-through charging for the latest MacBook...