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T9 & Autocorrect

T9 & Autocorrect

For those who don’t know, T9 and autocorrect are tools used on mobile phones to make sending a text a quicker and easier process, something presumably very appealing to many people. You will find T9 on phones that use physical 1-9 (plus 0,# and *) keypads rather than touchscreen and autocorrect on the touchscreen devices. 

 So, how do they work? Starting with T9, for anyone who has used a phone with a keypad to text, it can be quite a long process to send a lengthier message. For example, if you want to input the letter ‘z’, you would need to press the ‘9’ key four times, rather than on a normal keyboard or touchscreen, which of course means it takes longer to type, especially if you want to do the same letter again. And if you want a letter which occupies the same button, you must wait until the mobile has recognised that you have reached the letter you want, and inputted it. Only then may you press it again, otherwise you will begin to cycle through the available letters again. T9 makes the process easier by automatically knowing the possible words that could be created using the combinations of keys pressed and the letters that are encased by them and giving you a potential list of options. For example, you press 4 (containing g-h-i), 6 (m-n-o), 6 again and then 3 (d-e-f), which then comes up as ‘home’, or if you press the hash/pound key it would cycle to another possible word combination, like ‘gone’. 

From having to press eight buttons to make a word (plus having to wait that extra short period for pressing ‘6’ twice) you only now have to press four.  Yes, only a small shortcut, but add time saved to each word and in a long text it may save quite a bit of time and certainly some stress. Also, anecdotally from my own use, it seems that the more you use a word the higher up on the pecking order it becomes. So if you type ‘home’ a lot more than ‘gone’ it should appear first in your choice of words. 

Moving on to autocorrect, this, as mentioned above, is used generally on devices in which you already have a whole keyboard available (albeit potentially just a virtual touchscreen one). Autocorrect works by guessing the word you wanted to use based on the letters you have already typed. For example, you type ‘thoughtf’, above where you type it may present you with different options of what you may have wanted to say, such as ‘thoughtful’, ‘thoughtfully’ or ‘thoughtfulness’. Or the word suggestion may appear next to the word you are typing and you can either confirm that is the word you wanted or simply dismiss it as you wanted to type something other than what was suggested. 

Another use of autocorrect is, as the name suggests, it corrects misspelled words to their correct spellings, changing ‘especielly’ to ‘especially’ or ‘happyness’ to ‘happiness’. It can also pick up on words you use a lot which may not appear in its dictionary, so if you type your name a lot and it comes up as a misspelled word, eventually it may just be automatically integrated into the system.  

Whereas Autocorrect is probably pre-set on the device, you may need to enable T9. From my own experience (but this may differ from phone to phone) when on the screen and writing a text, hold down the '*' button. This should then enable T9. Do the same to turn it off. Both are very useful tools that make texting a less tedious endeavour. 

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