Autocorrect has become the bane of many people's lives, having been the cause of so many miscommunications between friends, family and loved ones.
The practicalities that it offers – simple correction of common spelling errors – make some people reluctant to turn it off. However, many of us have been caught out with a stray error leading to a comical misunderstanding.
Sometimes it can even become censorious with expletives – no one has ever been ducking annoyed about anything! There are whole websites dedicated to such faux pas – with the top Google search for 'autocorrect' being a blog titled 'Damn You Auto Correct!'.
However, iPhone maker Apple could be at work on a solution that will reduce the chances of these misunderstandings being anything more than an amusing error.
A new patent from the Cupertino, California-based tech giant that was first picked up by AppleInsider indicated that the firm is looking into a way to notify a text recipient of any words that underwent autocorrect in the typing process.
The document describes a system that is intended for showing recipients highlighted words that were altered by autocorrect. This would appear to work in a very similar way to how changes are tracked in edited word processing documents.
What the person originally typed would not be shows, but if the word is similar enough to alternative such as 'being' is to 'bring' or 'order' is to 'offer', then these options would be displayed when the recipient presses down on the highlighted word. This could reduce the need for people to swap more messages asking each other for clarification on these words.
Although such nuisances have rarely brought entire conversations to a stop, the unnecessary follow-up exchanges can be frustrating. Apple's tweak looks like it is based on the same highlighting feature that the company uses for its voice dictation. This sees certain words highlighted in blue when the iOS software was unsure as to what the word it transcribed was meant to be.
It is unclear as to whether or not this will be included in the next version of Apple's proprietary mobile OS. But with iOS 10 due to be unveiled at the firm's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, we may not have to wait long to find out.