How to Adjust Your Mac’s Spelling Controls

How to Adjust Your Mac’s Spelling Controls

Tech Tip

Like many modern operating systems, macOS has a built-in spell checker that you can use or lose.

Q. Now that I know how to turn off the automatic spelling correction on my iPhone, how can I turn it off on my Mac?

A. Like Apple’s iOS software for its mobile devices, macOS includes a spell check function that automatically corrects misspelled words and typos. The spell checker tool is part of the Mac operating system, and works in many of Apple’s own apps, including Mail, Messages and Notes. The system’s spell checker is separate from the grammar and proofreading tools included with programs like Microsoft Office (which has its own settings).

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You can turn off the macOS automatic-correction feature in the system’s keyboard settings.CreditThe New York Times

To turn off the Mac’s automatic-correction feature, open the System Preferences icon from the dock, or go to the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of the screen and choose System Preferences. In the System Preferences box, click the Keyboard icon, select the Text tab and turn off the check box next to “Correct spelling automatically.”

You can also disable automatic correction within certain programs without turning it off everywhere. To do that within an open app, go to its Edit menu, to Spelling and Grammar, and select Correct Spelling Automatically; a check next to the item means it is enabled, so selecting it disables the feature.

Windows 10 users can shut down Microsoft’s built-in auto-correction function too. Press the Windows and I keys to open the Settings box and click (or tap) on Devices. On the left side of the box, select Typing and turn off the button next to “Autocorrect misspelled words.”

Android’s auto-correction tools can also be enabled or disabled within the Language & Input settings, but Google recently announced new tools that move beyond basic spelling correction. At its Google I/O conference earlier this month, the company revealed a new, optional Smart Compose function for its Gmail service that uses artificial intelligence to suggest complete — and perfectly spelled — sentences as you write new messages.


Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to techtip@nytimes.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

J.D. Biersdorfer has been answering technology questions — in print, on the web, in audio and in video — since 1998. She also writes the Sunday Book Review’s “Applied Reading” column on ebooks and literary apps, among other things.@jdbiersdorfer

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