A while back, we brought to you a roundup of 12 lesser known iOS 5 features, highlighting some niceties in Apple’s latest iteration of the operating system that were either not well-advertised, or skipped the users’ notice due to being well hidden within the system. Turns out, the era of hidden features continues, with the latest addition being the possibility of having an Android-like autocorrect bar over the keyboard. Unlike most hidden features, turning on the autocorrect bar is not a simple matter of navigating the Settings app to hit a toggle switch; it requires careful modification of the keyboard Plist file and a little courage to get the trick done. To top it all off, it works on non-jailbroken devices as well! So, if you’re a fan of Android’s way of suggesting alternate words, or would just like to enable the feature because you can do so (like we did), get your tweaking hats on and hit the jump to find out how.
Before we begin, a little word of caution. Proceeding with this method will not harm your device – we tested it ourselves – but do so at your own peril anyway. AddictiveTips cannot be held liable for any undesirable results.
To begin with, you will need iTunes installed on your computer, and your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad capable of syncing and backing up with it.
The first tool you’ll need is iBackupBot (download here – Windows & Mac). This is the software that we’ll use to manipulate the keyboard.plist file later on. Install it, and then back up your iDevice with iTunes so that iBackupBot will have a recent backup to read from.
Next, fire up iBackupBot and it will list all your available backups in the left pane. Select the most recent one, and in the right pane, locate Library/Preferences/com.apple.keyboard.plist.
Double-click the file to load it for editing. Please note that if your version of iBackupBot is unregistered, a prompt will pop up, asking you to enter the registration code. Simply hit Cancel to proceed. In the plist editor, enter the following string:
Save the modified plist file, and restore the backup from within iBackupBot software. Make sure that you perform the restore within iBackupBot and not through iTunes, as that would defeat the modification. When the restore completes, your iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad will reboot, and that’s it. Next time you access the keyboard, the autocorrect bar will be there!
There is one catch, however (yes, there always is a catch); the autocorrect bar is not as convenient as it is on Android. When you type a word and suggestions start pulling up, hitting the space bar will begin cycling through the suggested words instead of accepting your input. In my personal experience, this alone hampered the typing experience enough for me to opt out of using the said hidden feature. Nevertheless, that’s my personal opinion, so instead of taking my word for it, try it out and let us know through your comments how it went for you.