Apple’s latest iOS 17 update brings some exciting improvements and new features to the platform’s default keyboard. For iPhone and iPad users who rely heavily on the keyboard for messaging, emailing, and more, these changes aim to make typing faster, smarter, and more convenient.
In this article, we’ll highlight the major updates coming to the iOS keyboard and what they could mean for your everyday use. Read on to learn about transformer language models, upgraded autocorrect, new emoji redesigns, and more.
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The iOS keyboard is one of the most frequently used features across Apple devices. As one of the main forms of input, advancements to the keyboard can greatly improve the overall iOS experience.
Apple seems to recognize this, as iOS 17 introduces meaningful enhancements to the keyboard in these core areas:
- Smarter autocorrect and predictions – The addition of transformer language models and improved AI better tailors suggestions to each user’s writing style. This makes autocorrect more accurate and predictive text more personalized.
- New features for streamlined typing – Shortcuts like Catch Up in Messages and improved autofill help users type faster by reducing unwanted taps and suggestions.
- Design changes for clarity – Subtle changes to the emoji keyboard and punctuation keys make these options more scannable and easy to parse.
Together, these updates indicate Apple is responding to user feedback and aiming to craft a smarter, faster, and more intuitive software keyboard. For users frustrated with autocorrect errors or who feel slowed down by excessive typing, the iOS 17 keyboard could resolve some of these daily annoyances.
In the sections below, we’ll explore these updates in more detail, including how they aim to improve the overall typing experience.
Smarter Autocorrect with Transformer Language Models
One of the most significant changes coming to the iOS 17 keyboard is the addition of transformer language models that bring more personalized autocorrect suggestions.
Previous iOS versions relied on relatively basic algorithms to catch typos and predict intended words based on dictionaries and commonly used terms. This resulted in autocorrect fails like replacing correctly spelled words with incorrect substitutions.
To improve accuracy, Apple is now adopting transformer language models within the keyboard’s autocorrect function. This more advanced AI better understands word context and meaning to produce relevant suggestions tailored to each user’s unique writing style.
Specifically, the transformer language models process entire sentences to identify the most likely word intended based on sentence structure and previous word choices. By evaluating whole phrases, the new models can catch unintentional substitutions earlier in the sentence for more coherent autocorrecting.
Apple is also continuously training the new models on general word usage data from their devices to improve suggestions over time. But the models can further personalize by learning an individual’s preferred words, writing patterns, and frequently used terms.
This combination of broad language data and personalized habit tracking should make autocorrect errors less frequent. Users can type more freely without constantly fighting incorrect autocorrect suggestions.
The transformer language models also improve predictive text, or the word suggestions that appear over the keyboard as you type. Now, these floating recommendations better reflect each user’s distinct vocabulary and typing style.
Upgraded Autocorrect for Less Frustration
In addition to the smarter transformer language models, Apple also upgraded the general autocorrect function in helpful ways. These changes further address user complaints around excessive unwanted corrections.
First, iOS 17 makes it easier to undo unwanted autocorrect changes. Rather than having to manually delete and retype a corrected word, users can now shake their device to immediately undo the last autocorrect. This shortcut saves the hassle of retyping a word just to reject the keyboard’s “assistance”.
Autocorrect in iOS 17 is also less aggressive about replacing profanity or slang terms. Previous iOS versions would automatically “clean up” swear words by changing them to more formal terms. But now users can freely type profanity without autocorrect censorship.
This frees users to type more conversationally without constantly fighting autocorrect suggestions. The shift acknowledges that informal speech often includes slang or profanity that shouldn’t require corrections.
Finally, the new keyboard reduces suggestions for double spaces after punctuation. One of the most common autocorrect annoyances is the automatic addition of two spaces after a period instead of one. iOS 17 cuts down on this unneeded “correction”, learning user preferences for single spacing.
Together, these updates give users more control over unwanted autocorrect changes. Typing feels less rigid and constrained when users can undo corrections, use profanity, and maintain their preferred spacing style.
Streamlined Typing with Autofill and Catch Up
In addition to smarter autocorrect, iOS 17 also introduces new features that speed up common typing tasks:
The autofill suggestions that appear when signing into apps or entering personal data like credit cards have been significantly improved.
Now, autofill offers more relevant suggestions based on frequently used passwords, contact information, and payment methods. For example, your home WiFi password may automatically appear when joining a network.
Autofill also works better across Apple devices, using suggestions from your iPhone to inform recommendations on your iPad or Mac. This way, you don’t have to repeatedly enter the same login details on all your devices.
With more personalized and consistent suggestions, autofill removes unnecessary taps each time you need to enter credentials or payment information.
Catch Up in Messages
Catch Up is a new iOS 17 feature that makes replying to Messages notifications quicker. When you receive a new iMessage, you can pull down the notification banner to reveal a text box.
Rather than opening the Messages app, you can then type out a reply directly from the notification itself. When you hit send, the message is delivered instantly without ever leaving your current app.
Catch Up enables you to send fast responses on the go when you can’t switch apps. Whether you’re gaming, in a work call, or in the middle of a FaceTime chat, you can seamlessly keep conversations going.
Both Catch Up and the expanded autofill should help accelerate your most frequent typing needs on iOS.
Redesigned Emoji Keyboard
In iOS 17, Apple gave the emoji keyboard a slight redesign to make finding the right emoji faster:
- Recently used emoji now appear at the top of the keyboard for easy access to favorites.
- The emoji are organized into new thematic groups like faces, objects, and celebrations to more easily find relevant results.
- Users can now favorite specific emoji which also appear in the frequently used section.
While seemingly minor, these changes aim to cut down on aimlessly hunting through the vast library of emoji to find the right one. The favorites and recent emoji features mimic the predictive text row that surfaces commonly used words.
Bringing this level of personalization to emoji should make conveying tone and meaning simpler. Users can stick to their preferred emoji without having to memorize where characters are located in the keyboard.
Clearer Punctuation Keys
In addition to new emoji organization, iOS 17 also updated the design of the number and symbol keyboard:
- Keys now have visual separators between different punctuation marks to better distinguish options.
- Related symbols are now grouped together, with commonly mixed up characters like hyphens and dashes separated.
- The new look spaces keys out more to make each symbol easier to press accurately.
Much like the emoji redesign, these tweaks are subtle but meaningful. iOS keyboards require a lot of precision when typing numbers and symbols, so clearer visual distinctions and spacing reduces errors.
Users often need to switch between various punctuation marks on the fly, like periods, commas, dashes, parentheses and more. iOS 17’s punctuation keyboard makes juggling these various symbols simpler and faster.
Conclusion & Summary
The iOS 17 keyboard introduces meaningful enhancements focused on faster, smarter typing through:
- Smarter AI – Transformer language models provide more personalized autocorrect tailored to each user’s style. This results in fewer unwanted changes.
- Reduced Frustration – Users have more control via shake-to-undo and fewer autocorrect profanity replacements. Double space suggestions are also reduced.
- Time-Saving Features – Autofill and the new Catch Up for Messages help users type commonly needed information faster.
- Clearer Design – Both emoji and punctuation keyboards are redesigned to make accessing the right characters easier.
Together, these updates indicate Apple is listening to user feedback and iterating thoughtfully. The iOS keyboard acts as a constant gateway for communication and content creation on iPhone and iPad. More intuitive typing is critical, and iOS 17’s changes push the keyboard in the right direction.
While transformer language models and streamlined typing features may not be flashy updates, they solve real pain points that users encounter daily. For those upgrade eligible, the iOS 17 keyboard may offer the most immediately impactful improvements in everyday use.
Frequently Asked Questions About the iOS 17 Keyboard Updates
What devices support the new iOS 17 keyboard features?
The keyboard improvements are available on any iPhone or iPad compatible with iOS 17, including:
- iPhone 8 and later
- 7th generation iPad and later
- All iPad Pro models
- iPad Air 3 and later
Do I need to enable the new keyboard features?
No, the iOS keyboard enhancements are all enabled by default once you update to iOS 17. Users do not need to manually enable options like the transformer language models or Catch Up.
Can I revert to the classic iOS keyboard?
Apple does not allow reverting to older keyboard versions. The improvements are permanently part of the default typing experience in iOS 17.
However, users can install third-party keyboards from the App Store for alternative typing experiences.
How is Apple improving user privacy around the new keyboard features?
Apple claims extensive privacy protections for the transformer language models powering improved autocorrect suggestions. All processing occurs directly on each user’s device – no typing data is sent externally to Apple.
The models learn from general language data and each user’s local typing patterns only. Users must consent to enabling personalized learning, and can reset the model any time.
Will the new keyboard features come to Macs too?
Currently, the iOS 17 keyboard updates are limited to iPhone and iPad only. The Mac operating system includes a distinct keyboard with separate features.
However, Apple may choose to bring iOS keyboard advances like the transformer language models to Mac in the future.
Can I use shortcuts like shake-to-undo on third party keyboards?
Unfortunately, shortcuts are limited to the native iOS keyboard at this time. Third-party keyboards have access to more limited keyboard integration features.
However, developers may release updated keyboards on the App Store with iOS 17 optimizations in the future.
Do the new emoji favorites sync across Apple devices?
Yes, faved emoji set on iPhone will automatically appear in the frequently used section on any iPads or Macs signed into the same Apple ID. Emoji favorites sync across linked devices.
Will Apple continue improving the keyboard in future iOS versions?
Apple frequently refines and adds features to the iOS keyboard with each new software release. We can likely expect more enhancements in iOS 18 and beyond based on user feedback to these latest changes.
Table: iOS 17 Keyboard Updates at a Glance
|Autocorrect||Transformer language models||More accurate, personalized suggestions|
|Easier to undo changes||Less frustration fixing errors|
|Allows profanity/slang||More conversational typing|
|Predictions||Improved autofill||Faster logins and data entry|
|New Catch Up feature||Quick reply from notifications|
|Design||Reorganized emoji keyboard||Faster emoji selection|
|Clearer punctuation keys||Less incorrect symbol typing|