How to Turn Off Autocorrect on Mac OS X

Here’s how to turn off autocorrect on your Mac to avoid embarrassment and frustration.  While autocorrect has been a boon – and occasional source of embarrassment and hilarity – for iPhone users, using it on a macbook or desktop can result in constant frustration.

There are a couple of problems with using a system like autocorrect on a Mac. First of all, with a full physical keyboard, you can often be typing so fast that by the time you’ve noticed an impending autocorrect event, you’re already a sentence or two past it – sentences that likely no longer make much sense.

The other problem with autocorrect on a MacBook or iMac is that you’ve got a number of input methods at your disposal, like a full hardware keyboard and multitouch trackpad or mouse, that make it super simple to quickly and easily correct typos or misspellings. Those corrections are much more difficult to make on a slab of glass, multitouch or otherwise. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to either mitigate or outright turn off autocorrect within OS X’s settings panel.

Open up your Mac’s System Preferences and click on Keyboard.OS X System Preferences

You can either use spotlight by hitting Cmd+Space and typing settings, or click on the icon in your dock. Once there, find and click on the ‘Keyboard’ icon – in this example, it’s in the second row, three columns in.

Click ‘Text’ at the top of the next window.

OS X System PreferencesOnce you’re in the Keyboard settings panel, click on the Text tab at the top of the window. Here, you’ll see a checkbox on the right next to the phrase ‘Correct spelling automatically.’ If you want to turn off autocorrect, make sure this box is unchecked. If you’ve previously turned it off and want to re-enable it, simply re-check this option.


Fix problem phrases by adding text replacements.

Maybe you don’t mind autocorrect so much, but it has a couple of really frustrating corrections that it constantly makes, like with a name or email address. From this same screen (System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Text) you can add text replacements that should override any behavior made by autocorrect.

Simply click on the + icon at the bottom left of the Text window. You’ll see a cursor start flashing in the box right above. In the left-hand window, enter the text you want to type – that is, the text you want to prevent being autocorrected.

OS X Text Replacement

Let’s say that OS X keeps correcting your username for work by replacing “nelsonj” with just “nelson.” In the ‘Replace’ column above, you’d type nelsonj. Hit tab on your keyboard, and you’ll find the cursor in the ‘With’ column.

Here, you would ordinarily type what you want to replace the text with (like omw becomes On my way! or brb becomes be right back), but in this instance, you type the same thing – so “nelsonj” – and hit enter.

Now, even if autocorrect is turned on, any explicit exemptions you write here will remain as you type, no matter how egregiously misspelled the computer might think them.