An iPhone Message with the word "duck" being suggested in place of "fuck"

Screenshot: Joel Cunningham

Perhaps our phones are trying to do us a favor by erring on the side of politeness, but boy, they sure do love to try to keep us from swearing, don’t they? Unless you actually do regularly mean to playfully tell your friends to “duck off,” there are a few ways you can fix iOS Messages’ sometimes helpful, often annoying autocorrect feature—and they work for more than just your popular swears.

Get your phone to stop writing “ducking” by adding a new contact

The quickest and dirtiest way to add your preferred swears into Messages’ autocorrect vocabulary is to add a new contact with the words you want your phone to learn. For example, on Twitter, Steven Thrasher suggests adding someone named “Fuck Fucker” to your contacts list (if you like, you could even assign the name to someone you hate—like, say, your landlord). Just open up the Contacts app and hit the “+” in the corner to add a new contact (no need to include a fake number or email address—you can just save the word itself).

If you want to be thorough, go ahead and add any variations you can think of, like “Fucked Fucking,” or whatever bespoke curses you favor that frequently run afoul of the autocorrect filter. Of course, you can also use this method to include frequently autocorrected words that aren’t swears, from work jargon to your dog’s weird name, to fake proper nouns from video games or movies.

A screenshot of the iPhone's Text Replacement screen

Screenshot: Joel Cunningham

Swear more by adding to your iPhone’s Text Replacement dictionary

If you want to go about the problem in a different way—and avoid cluttering up your contacts list with a bunch of NSFW fake people—you can also directly edit the dictionary your iPhone uses when unpacking commonly texted abbreviations.

To add words to the Text Replacement dictionary, open up Settings and swipe down to General > Keyboard > Text Replacement, then hit the “+” in the corner to open up a page where you can add new entries, which are sorted alphabetically. The feature is actually designed to create text replacement shortcuts—so you can write “omw” to quickly send “on my way,” for example—but you can also just add full words like “fuck” or “shit” or whatever you don’t want your phone to fix for you.

Just turn off autocorrect

Of course, the simplest way to swear with wild abandon is to turn off Messages’ autocorrect feature altogether—iPhone users will also find that option under Settings > General > Keyboard—but that’s a strategy not for the faint of heart (or the thick-fingered).

This post was originally published by Andy Orin in October 2016 and updated on June 29, 2021 by Joel Cunningham. Changes included a new headline and header image, a revised lede, clearer instructions for adding to the Text Replacement dictionary, and new screenshots.

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