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(Pocket-lint) - Apple is working on software capable of automatically censoring swear words out of music and audio books. The feature could appear in the next iOS update or with the launch of the iPhone 7.

Apple has a patent for a smart system that's able to use metadata to recognise and remove offensive words in audio. It can replace those words with sounds, like a beep, or simply with silence. It may also be able to detect the music behind the words and continue playing seamlessly while only extracting the offensive words.

The question of whether there will be a choice or if this censorship will be automatically imposed is not clear. Apple's Beats 1 streaming radio station only plays non-explicit versions of songs.

It's likely Apple will add this as an option for parents who would like to control content that children are exposed to. Use of iPads in schools would likely also benefit from this new software.

The patent states that this will also apply to audio books. The software would access its library of offensive words and remove any deemed unsuitable.

Of course this is just a patent right now so may not appear soon, if at all. But it could be a useful tool to have, especially for parents.

READ: Apple Music: 8 tips to master before you start streaming

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Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 7 April 2016.