How To: Customize Autocorrect, Have Siri Read iBooks to You

I want to point you to a couple of extremely useful tips I read on Macworld yesterday.

Improving Your Autocorrect Experience

My first tip comes from Macworld’s article, "How to make iOS autocorrect work for you." It begins with the basics, telling you how to accept or reject the autocorrect and autocomplete suggestions that pop up as you type on your iPhone or iPad. If you type a space, punctuation, or carriage return, you'll automatically invoke the suggestion. If you tap anywhere on the bubble, it goes away.

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iOS learns from you when you override autocorrect and adds the changes to your Keyboard Dictionary. If a misspelled or incorrect word inadvertently makes it into your Keyboard Dictionary, you can resolve the issue by adding a new shortcut. Note that you can turn off autocorrect in Settings if you don't need it. The article also explains how to add words such as technical terms to your Keyboard Dictionary. All of these small changes can add up to a much better experience with iOS autocorrect.

Turning Your iBook into an Audiobook

By turning on Siri’s Dictation feature, you can now listen as your iDevice reads your iBooks aloud to you. Macworld’s article on the topic, titled "Siri and Scroll trick turns iBook into audiobooks," explains how to do it, complete with screenshots and video.

Go to General > Accessibility > Speak Selection. In the window that comes up, turn on Speak Selection. That way, any time you highlight text in iBooks by dragging across it, the menu that pops up will include Speak along with the familiar options Copy, Define, and Search. You can select a much larger area of text than a one- or two-page spread by turning on the scroll feature of iBooks, essentially making the book one long page. You can watch a video accompanying the Macworld article showing how to make a multi-page selection using this feature. And voila, you have an audiobook.

These are pretty cool tricks — and one more reason to love your iPhone or iPad. Speaking of which, Apple added a new page to its website on why the iPhone is better than other smartphones over the weekend. It lists in detail all of the features that make the iPhone 5 stand out, including the Retina display, battery life, powerful A6 chip, ultrafast wireless and LTE, the "world's most popular camera," the wealth of content in the iTunes Store, iOS 6, Siri, iCloud, and great technical support. It's pretty compelling.

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Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.