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Apple to remove, replace non-inclusive language in code base

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Apple is working to deprecate non-inclusive language in its developer ecosystem, forwarding an initiative that began at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.

The company announced the change in an update to its developer portal on Thursday, saying coding terminology will be modified to remove or replace language that could be perceived as racist from Xcode, platform APIs, documentation, and open source projects.

Changes first rolled out with initial iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS Big Sur, watchOS 7 and tvOS 14 beta software and accompanying documentation in June.

Instead of references to "blacklist," "whitelist," "master branch," "master/slave" and other potentially insensitive terminology, Apple will implement more neutral language like "allow list" and "deny list." "Main" will take the place of "master" in the default SCM branch in Xcode 12, the company said. The term "Black" is now capitalized when referring to people.

Developers are urged to study the API changes and incorporate the new language in their respective projects.

"Developer APIs with exclusionary terms will be deprecated as we introduce replacements across internal codebases, public APIs, and open source projects, such as WebKit and Swift," Apple said. "We encourage you to closely monitor deprecation warnings across your codebases and to proactively move to the latest APIs available in the platform SDKs."

The updated terminology and other relevant changes have been added to the Apple Style Guide.

Apple's initiative arrives amid a wider push to deprecate racist terminology from technical computer references. The effort has been ongoing for years but gained new urgency with the Black Lives Matter movement and protests surrounding the killing of George Floyd in May.