Bizarre autocorrect behavior?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by WanderingPhilosopher, Dec 13, 2016.

  1. WanderingPhilosopher macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2016
    #1
    I am running MacOS 10.11.6* El Capitan on a late 2009 Mac Mini.

    I have recently noticed a lot of bizarre autocorrect behavior, notably in Pages, not sure if it's happening anywhere else. I was under the impression that Macs don't get viruses, but I can't imagine what else this could be. Basically, while it's hard to tell after the fact, it appears that perfectly good, common, properly spelled words are getting replaced with strange misspellings/ unknown words. Virus, or is some autocorrect software automatically incorporating misspellings into its dictionary somehow, maybe during a crash or something??

    Any thoughts? It's pretty spooky. Thanks in advance.

    *(was 10.11.5 but apparently just updated to 10.11.6 as part of the updates I didn't pay attention to before installing the other day)
     
  2. Gregg2 macrumors 603

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    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #2
    That's not at all what a virus would do, and there is not a single one in the wild affecting Mac OS X.

    You could try deleting your Pages plist file I suppose.
     
  3. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #3
    Malware/virus, etc would not be "correcting" your spelling for you - even incorrectly. Probably just a spelling dictionary that has gone haywire.

    You can turn off autocorrect in Pages.
    Edit menu, Spelling & Grammar. un-check "Correct Spelling Automatically"
    If system-wide, then go to your System Preferences, then Keyboard pane, Text tab, and unselect "Correct Spelling Automatically"
    That will take care of that for apps that use the system features. You may have to turn that off in settings for OTHER software, such as Microsoft Office, which do things their own way.

    Finally, if you want to check for possible malware on your system, download Malwarebytes for Mac, and run it occasionally (once a month should do the trick). It's good software, safe, does a good job, and you can trust it.
     
  4. WanderingPhilosopher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 24, 2016
    #4
    Thank you for answering. Since you and the other responder both seem confident that this problem isn't indicative of malware, I'll skip the software for now, since I am always hesitant about installing unfamiliar s/w.

    I did find the options to turn off autocorrect, both in Pages and in the System, but want to let it go for a while and see if I can get a handle on what is happening. I'd really love to know, and "spelling dictionary gone haywire" doesn't explain why or how. One thing I noticed in the System preferences is that I had spelling correction set up as "automatically by language," with several languages checked. So I wonder whether that was the problem. I unchecked most of them.

    I am very curious to see if anyone else has encountered similar difficulties.
     
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #5
    hmm...
    Malwarebytes doesn't "install" anything. It's just an app that you run. It checks for malware, most often adware, on your system. It may be unfamiliar to you, and I understand that.
    But, lots of folks here (where you came to ask about your experience) would share their experience that Malwarebytes is worth trying. If it finds nothing, then that's another step to a "clean" system. If it does find something, it will remove it for you, and your computer life goes on.
    That's one of the good things about the Malwarebytes app. It doesn't install anything additional, doesn't run in the background or do anything at all, until you run it again next time. It doesn't interfere with your use of the computer like other full-time malware scanners might.

    I think you may be on to something about the languages. That "automatically by language" senses when you type in another language, and adjusts the spell checking for that language. How often do you actually type in other languages (not just view documents, but create or edit documents in other languages?)
     
  6. thomasareed macrumors member

    thomasareed

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2015
    #6
    Another thought: it could be someone you know, who has had access to your Mac, playing a prank on you. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard, then select the Text tab. Those settings allow you to specify one string that, when typed, causes that typed string to be replaced with something else.

    A useful example of this would be to replace "tbh" with "to be honest," so that when you want to type "to be honest" you just have to type "tbh" and it expands to the longer text.

    However, this can be - and has been - used by people to play tricks on their friends. I saw someone once whose buddy had set up text replacements to transform common words into profanity. You can imagine how confused he was!

    See if you see anything weird set up as text replacements there.
     
  7. WanderingPhilosopher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 24, 2016
    #7
    Thanks for the thought, but that's not it. Interesting story, however!
     
  8. WanderingPhilosopher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 24, 2016
    #8
    This is insane. Just for example, today autocorrect changed the word "trouble" to "troutle" and "before" to "bedore." I turned if off, finally, but I would love an explanation. There is only one entry in my Keyboard-Text preferences, and it's unrelated.
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    Delaware
    #9
    My first thought is that your custom spelling dictionary (the one that you can edit to allow unusual spellings of names, or other typical spellings of words that YOU use. You just need to find that custom dictionary and edit wrong spellings out.
    For example, Pages would have its own spelling dictionary, and there would be another dictionary file that YOU make as a result of creating new spellings of words (because they are correct for YOU and not what the standard dictionary thinks.

    Watch for your next "spelling" incident. What software are you using at the time?
     
  10. WanderingPhilosopher thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 24, 2016
  11. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #11
    Hmm...
    Try going to the Library folder in your user folder.
    Easiest way to get there is (from the Finder), click on the Go menu, then press your Option key.
    You should see the Library appear in the Go menu (only while you hold the Option key)
    Click on that Library.
    Find the Spelling folder, and trash two files that you find. One will be named "LocalDictionary", the other will be named with 2 characters, depending on your system language. Mine shows (with English) the name "en"
    Trash both files.
    There's a chance that won't change anything for you, as both files are relatively old on my system (one is from 2010, the other from 2014), and might not even exist on your system. But the Spelling folder should be there?
    If you do trash those files, restart your Mac. Use it to the point of trying something that needs to be spellchecked.
     
  12. WanderingPhilosopher thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2016
    #12
    I found those two files and opened them. They had not been modified in years. Also there was hardly anything in them, and nothing relevant, so I just left them.

    Meanwhile, I had turned off autocorrect in system preferences, then realized I needed to do it separately for Pages, and did so. So the nonsense should stop, but I still don't have an explanation for it, which is killing me.

    Thank you for trying!
     

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