iOS Text Replacements that seem to have no source

First of all, this is my first post to Tidbits, so I have no idea if this is the right group to post this. I don’t see any technical forms, so hopefully it works to post here. If not, please don’t shoot me.:wink:

I’ve had this issue for a while now and I don’t know where to go with it, much less know how to describe it.

When I’m typing on my Iphone, sometime there are the strangest auto-corrects. For example, sometime when I type “ing”, it will auto correct to “NPG”. This is the most obvious one. I look in General - Keyboards > Text replacement and can’t find anything like that.

Is there some secret location where text replacements are kept that are somehow remembered based on my usage?

This is the kind of problem that occurs once or several times a month, so it’s more of an annoyance than a nightmare, but still…

If anyone shares my annoyance level, maybe you can shed light on what’s happening.



You’re absolutely spot on — TidBITS Talk is the best place for general Apple discussions that aren’t related to a particular article or TidBITS site feedback.

Is this more than just auto-correct? Is it turning “getting” into “gettNPG”?

The other place I’d look is in Contacts, since if you have a name in there, the auto-correct algorithm might get confused and think you’re referring to a person or company.

The other thing is that the iOS keyboard learns from what you type, so if you use NPG quite a bit and you type “gett ing” it may auto correct that to “get NPG”.

And if it happens once and you don’t notice, it gets reinforced. and repeat.

I get many typos fixed to “word Ng” … sigh.

(This is why I find it amusing when people complain that they were autocorrected into something embarrassing and inappropriate. OTOH, in 11.3 at least it seems really intent on correcting to ‘duck’ no matter how often I tell it the word I want.)

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So, I guess my question is … Where are these text replacements stored and
how can i access them and get rid of the annoying ones?


Look in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.

I don’t have that many because I mostly use TextExpander — some of these are the ones I want in both macOS and iOS.

You can use emojis in there as well, and even the funky in line emoji-like things like ¯_(ツ)_/¯.


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In earlier versions of iOS, you could use third party utilities on Mac (while tethered) to access and edit this AI-driven user Dictionary file, but it’s in binary now, and exceedingly difficult to do manually. That said, it’s possible one of the plethora of iOS device managers (e.g., iMazing, WALTR 2, etc.) may have this feature still.

Your other option is kinda ugly, but if you combine the Text Shortcuts feature you’ve already explored, you can instead use that tool to your advantage to override any common mis-corrections.

Using your example, you can replace ‘NPG’ with ‘ing’, and what you will discover is that the suggestion bar will display both options after typing ‘ing’ – [“NPG”] [ing] [some other seemingly random/logical suggestion] – above the keyboard, and you can tap the one you really want. This sounds ugly, but, due to that troublesome AI that helped create the problem to begin with, it will eventually reteach itself what you’re really after; and if you are so inclined, you can later remove the entry from Shortcuts.

This worked for me when iOS 11 was released (with advertised improvements to Autocorrect) went absolutely nuts with picking up new auto corrections I was baffled by; save for my deteriorating typing skills, I’ve no idea where they came from.

I forgot to add that you can also, just to be safe, nuke the entire site from orbit:

Settings > General > Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary), or disable autocorrect (Settings > General > Keyboards > Auto-Correction to off).

One more trick I used during my iOS 11 woes: use Shortcuts to reenforce the actual phrase you really truly want to occur; IOW, set ‘ing’ to be replaced with ‘ing’, and it will happily oblige.

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