Apple is apparently developing a piece of software for the iPhone 7 that will protect your ears from swear words contained in music and audio books.

The new feature will surely be of great interest to overprotective parents or those who wish they could enjoy their gangsta rap without the profanity. It looks as though the next iOS update could include the feature, or it may arrive with the launch of the iPhone 7.

apple patent iPhone 7

Tech giant patents iPhone 7 audio censorship system

Apple has filed a patent for a system that will automatically remove swear words in audio tracks using metadata. It will be able to get rid of the words and replace them with a sound, or silence. It seems as though it might be able to differentiate between the music and the offensive word in order to keep the backing track playing.

The patent is named “Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playback.” It was filed in September 2014 and outlines a system that makes tracks that use offensive words more family-friendly.

It is not clear whether this censorship will be automatic or whether iPhone 7 users will be given the choice of whether to activate the feature or not. As it stands Apple’s Beats 1 radio station only plays non-explicit versions of songs.

Apple system could be helpful for parents

However there has been no indication from the company that it is considering censoring iTunes or new streaming service Apple Music. It is worth noting that plenty of patents never become reality.

It must be hoped that Apple leaves iPhone 7 users with the option to deactivate the system. Those who are old enough to listen to swear words would have their experience vastly diminished if they were listening to an Eminem album, for example.

Most likely Apple will provide the option for parents who want to restrict the exposure of their children to offensive content. Schools which allow pupils to use iPads during lessons also stand to benefit.

Interestingly the feature will also be available on audio books, removing any words that it deemed offensive. Although the system is only a patent at this stage, it could be an interesting future development from Apple.

Strict controls on content for App Store

While Apple may have gained a reputation for encouraging freedom in some areas, it also has form for controlling the kind of content that is available on its App Store and iTunes. One example is the fact that porn is resolutely banned from the App Store at the behest of former CEO Steve Jobs.

“Folks who want porn can buy an Android phone,” he said.

A dictionary app was also removed from the App Store because it had definitions for swear words. If you have young children and don’t want to have to keep an eye on iTunes in case an explicit song comes on, this new iPhone 7 system could be a boon.

If indeed it is released with the iPhone 7, it will be another rumored audio innovation. Rumors abound that the next generation smartphone will not have a 3.5mm audio jack, and users will instead have to use wireless headphones.

The rumor has sparked controversy among users who don’t want to have to invest in an expensive new accessory. The sound quality offered by wireless headphones is generally less impressive than their wired cousins, and serious audiophiles are up in arms.