Apple is exploring a way to automatically censor the swear words in your music

Clean beats.
Clean beats.
Image: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
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Ever the family-friendly company, Apple, which just recently crossed into middle age, will surely make parents happy with its latest endeavor. It’s trying to patent a technology that can automatically find and delete swear words from music and audiobooks.

As Business Insider reported, Apple filed for a patent titled ”Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playbook” in September 2014. The filing was published on patent databases last week. It’s not clear whether the patent has been granted, but the idea goes like this: Audio players first screen audio files’ metadata for explicit lyrics, then offer users the option to stream ”clean” versions of the tracks in which curse words are replaced with substitutes such as a beeping noise or non-explicit lyrics.


All this would happen in real-time through Apple, freeing record companies from having to produce multiple versions of songs.

While scrubbing swear words, the (hypothetical) technology would keep the background music of the track running seamlessly, so the listening experience doesn’t need to be interrupted by an awkward, obvious indication of censorship.

There’s no word from Apple on the likelihood of the company turning this patent into a reality, for either its streaming service or any other product. Tech companies like to file applications for ideas that they may never put into practice. For now, parents using Apple Music can filer for clean tunes by fiddling with their kids’ device settings.