Apple plans to make its app developer language more inclusive

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iOS 13.5 golden master is available only to developers.
Apple is changing terms to make them more inclusive.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple has made plenty of public-facing moves to show its push for diversity in tech. But it’s making some behind-the-scenes changes, too — like tweaking the terms in its developer ecosystem to remove words the company no longer considers appropriate.

Examples include switching “master” code repository to “main” code repository, and changing “blacklist” to “deny list.” Here’s what Apple had to say in its announcement:

“At Apple, we’re working to remove and replace non-inclusive language across our developer ecosystem, including within Xcode, platform APIs, documentation, and open source projects. These changes began on June 22 with the beta software and developer documentation released at WWDC20 moving to terms such as allow list and deny list, and main as the default SCM branch in Xcode 12. An updated Apple Style Guide reflects these and other changes.

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. We encourage you to closely monitor deprecation warnings across your codebases and to proactively move to the latest APIs available in the platform SDKs.”

Making development language more inclusive

From the perspective of the average user, these changes likely won’t mean too much. These are technical terms, used as part of a coding methodology, to make developer language more inclusive. They are not user-facing products. However, it’s certain that Apple will be paying extra attention to the wording in all of its products.

On Twitter, some applauded the move.

Apple isn’t alone in making such moves to update its terminology. Drupal, Python, Google’s Chromium and Microsoft’s Github all made similar changes over the past several years. The use of certain words to describe inherent traits and power dynamics can reinforce and perpetuate negative stereotypes.