Cupertino Effect

What Does Cupertino Effect Mean?

The Cupertino effect is something that happens with text autocorrect technologies, where the system essentially “guesses” the wrong word, and puts the wrong word on the screen for eventual text communication between users. This can take place in mobile or desktop systems, in instant messaging or email correspondence, or any other place where a spell checker, autocorrect feature or other technology helps humans to craft text messages that they are writing.


Techopedia Explains Cupertino Effect

The Cupertino effect is named after instances where users would spell “cooperation” without a hyphen. In these cases, autocorrect technologies changed the word “cooperation” to the proper noun “Cupertino,” which is a city in California. However, this so-called Cupertino effect can involve any word or phrase that is changed by autocorrect tools in a way that is not actually correct, or is not what the user intended. In some cases, the Cupertino effect can impose objectionable or otherwise controversial words on behalf of the user. In other cases, it takes a misspelling and substitutes the wrong word, which makes the message look less intelligent. It can also reinforce spelling mistakes as less grammatically informed users look at the autocorrect contributions and mistakenly think that it is the correct word for the sentence. One common example is where the human user may spell the word “definitely,” and due to the Cupertino effect, the autocorrect substitutes “defiantly.” Some users may get tricked into thinking that the word “definitely” is actually spelled “defiantly.”

All of this raises serious questions about how much spell checking and autocorrect actually help people to turn out better text results and become better writers over time. One common piece of advice from experts is not to rely too heavily on autocorrect or spell check, but to always check the text manually before sending or publishing.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…