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Meet the guy responsible for your ducking iPhone autocorrect fails

Ken Kocienda is responsible for linking ducks to one of the most powerful English curse words.

Iphone 13 in-hand
Image: Unsplash

If you’ve ever done any typing at all on your iPhone, then chances are you’ve run into the phone’s autocorrect feature. One autocorrect in particular has been solidified in infamy due to its persistence, and it’s ducking annoying. And it’s all this guy’s fault.

Ken Kocienda is the original inventor of autocorrect for the iPhone. Kocienda set out to create an algorithmic system to help users type what they want on the small keyboard of an iPhone. And although autocorrect has become a super useful tool, certain aspects of the feature can be frustrating.

Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern recently visited a duck farm to get to the bottom of a popular hiccup that users run into with Apple’s autocorrect. So how did Kocienda’s autocorrect forever link precious ducks with one of the more vulgar curse words there is?

Are your autocorrect issues really Ken’s fault?

Essentially, the iPhone autocorrect feature is made up of two separate dictionaries. The static dictionary is the dictionary you’re used to. It contains all of the known words in the English language that you’d find in a normal dictionary.

Then, there’s a dynamic dictionary. The dynamic dictionary is meant to change and evolve to include words that you regularly use but aren’t in a dictionary. Think names in your contact list, app names, or just silly, made-up words that you use often.

And curse words are included in the static dictionary. Autocorrect won’t automatically change curse words that you type out to something else. That is, as long as you type them correctly.

What autocorrect won’t ever do is nudge you in the direction of a curse word if you type it incorrectly.

So, if you try to type out a certain “f” word but mistype one of the letters, chances are autocorrect will try to find the closest, non-curse word available. That’s why so many of you are having ducking problems.

READ MORE: How to turn off autocorrect on iPhone

And when you think about it, this is a pretty good system. It would be disturbing if autocorrect was constantly replacing your typos with curse words. I’m sure you can see how that could lead to some awkward interactions.

So, at the end of the day, it’s not Ken’s fault that your phone won’t autocorrect your curse words. He designed the system that way intentionally.

The problem lies with misspellings or typos in curse words. If you want to use curse words when typing on your iPhone, you can totally do that. You just need to make sure that you’re spelling them correctly.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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