For example, if I type
frien, the completed word “friend” appears as a candidate for auto-completion. To accept the suggestion, I press the Spacebar and friend replaces frien. If I instead intended to type anything else, I would simply continue typing.
Reset the Keyboard Dictionary: To make suggestions for corrected or completed words, the iPhone uses a special dictionary. While you cannot edit this file directly, you can add words to it. The second time you reject a suggested word with the same alternative word, the iPhone assumes that this alternative is a correctly spelled word and adds it to the dictionary. Over time, this should enable the iPhone to recognize more words as correct (which is good because, in my experience, its performance out of the box is pretty pitiful).
The problem is that, if you make the same rejection twice for a misspelled word (ideally this won’t happen often!), the misspelled word is added to the dictionary. Not good. You have two options here: Live with your mistake or reset the dictionary back to its factory-installed state (deleting any correct additions you may have made as well as incorrect ones). To reset the dictionary, go to Settings -> General -> Reset and tap Reset Keyboard Dictionary.
Use the magnifying glass: The iPhone is a rather bare-bones text editor. It lacks a command for selecting text (such as to select an entire paragraph), as well as commands for Cut, Copy, and Paste. There isn’t even an Undo command. About the only editing tool is a magnifying glass.
The magnifying glass isn’t much of a help, but you can use it to assist in repositioning the cursor. For instance, suppose you want to correct a misspelled word that is several sentences back from where you are now typing. You can tap the misspelled word to move the cursor there, but you may have difficulty moving the cursor to the precise letter where the error is located.
This is where the magnifying glass comes in. To use it, tap and hold down your finger over the approximate desired location in the text. The magnifying glass will pop up, displaying an enlarged version of the area surrounding the cursor. Drag your finger to move the cursor to the precise desired location, and then let go. The magnifying glass vanishes, leaving you exactly where you want to be.
[Ted Landau is the guru of Macintosh troubleshooting, thanks to best-selling books and innumerable magazine articles for Macworld and many other publications. His latest book is Take Control of Your iPhone (TidBits Publishing, 2007).]