Apple's Surprise iOS 17.3.1 Update Fixes Your iPhone's AI-Fueled Text Entry Woes
Has your iPhone been mangling your text when it tries to predict what you're typing? I know that mine has, along with millions of other iPhone owners, and it's all caused by Apple's first attempt at improving the keyboard experience in iOS 17. Of course, iOS 17 launched five months ago, so this has been something that not only the iPhone faithful, but tablet and even macOS users have been fighting with for far too long.
Apple has released a series of updates for all of the company's supported devices that caused text to be duplicated and inserted in weird spots. iPhones, Macs, and iPads have been inserting AI-fueled autocompleted phrases in after partial words that users typed to inspire them, and then kept the typed text as well. The good news is that the fight may finally be over. Fortunately, iOS 17.3.1 has been released to address this issue, alongside iPadOS 17.3.1 and macOS 14.3.1 to resolve the issue.
In our limited testing, our Apple devices have significantly reduced the rate at which it recommends and autocompletes phrases since we've installed the updates. The good news is that in the rare opportunities the feature has presented itself, we're no longer getting duplicate text insertions. That more or less reverts them back to their iOS / iPadOS 16 or macOS 13 state of affairs. While it hasn't seemed to kick in quite so aggressively since updating, the fix itself is quite a relief, after it frustrated Apple users for a long while.
This past fall, Apple released a series of highly-touted updates to the keyboard with iOS 17. For the first time since iOS 13 when Apple finally got on board the swipe keyboard train, the company made a real attempt at enhancing the typing experience. The company added CoreML-based machine learning tools to bolster autocomplete and autocorrect. These are the tools that were kind of hosed out of the box.
At any rate, Apple doesn't get into the specifics of what else has been resolved. We're hoping it also resolves some issues with the Messages app crashing to a black screen occasionally and sometimes triggering voice transcription when we didn't want it. Several of us here at HotHardware are dedicated iPhone users, and a quick poll of the staff indicates we've all stumbled into one or more of these annoying bugs. The keyboard features that have seemingly disappeared are still listed on Apple's website so we're hopeful they'll come back
The good news is that the release notes indicate that this is just a bugfix release, far smaller than the previous iOS 17.3 update. Apple has confirmed that there are no vulnerabilities that these updates address, so it's not critical that users install them right at this time. On the other hand, this was an insanely grating bug to deal with for so long, so it's good to see it finally addressed. To update your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, just head to the Settings app (System Settings on macOS) and head to the Software Update section.