Apple’s long-awaited emoji update

Posted by Kendall Wenaas
Five different hair and skin tone combinations are available for each person emoji. Photo by Kendall Wenaas.

Five different hair and skin-tone combinations are available for each person emoji. Photo by Kendall Wenaas.

In addition to the typical bug fixes and improved performance, Apple’s newest iOS update came with a much-needed, redesigned emoji keyboard.

Besides some new national flags—Canada’s has finally made the list—new animals and other assorted icons have been added.

But perhaps the most important change is in the people emojis. They’ve all been turned yellow—until you click on them. Then five different skin and hair color combinations  pop up.

And it’s not just the standard smiling faces that have gotten an update, almost all emojis that have to do with people now have skin tone options. For example, the hand signals—and Santa Claus.

A few people emojis have been exempt, though. The collection of families and couples are now only available in yellow. But they’ve been updated too. There’s now a large number of family and couple types.

Different couple and family options are now available. Photo by Kendall Wenaas.

Different couple and family options are now available. Photo by Kendall Wenaas.

There’s a two men option, a two women option, two men and a baby, two women and two babies, etc. Had Apple tried to add different skin ton options to the families, though, there would have been an infinite number of pages.

Unfortunately, while most people applaud Apple for this change, some people are still upset. One of the complaints? The continuing lack of a taco emoji.

What do you think about the emojis? What did Apple forget?

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7 responses to “Apple’s long-awaited emoji update

  1. I love the fact that Apple has finally done this! And I really appreciate that they didn’t limit it to just the yellow faces, but also included the hands and Santa! I just wish you could get custom emojis for your preferred sports teams! #GoBrewers!

  2. The default emoji is a good idea, except for the color choice. Because of stereotypes, many people assumed that the yellow faces represent Asians. Yikes. Of course this was not Apple’s intention, but when you try and fix something for the better, there’s always a group of pessimists who point out everything you did wrong or everything that could be minutely offensive.

    As far as I’m concerned though, great update. It needed to be done. Representation is important.

    • I’ve also heard this assumption – partly because I don’t think the other variations of emojis included one percieved to be Asian. But overall I definitely agree that this was a great move by Apple!

    • I also heard about the controversy with yellow emojis. And I agree Molly that I don’t think it was Apple’s intention either. Unfortunately when you’re as public of a company as Apple, every update will receive some criticism. In the case of the yellow emojis, had Apple made the default color purple, people would have complained about that too!

  3. I love the update! Even though the faces are yellow and that could be interpreted as a stereotype, it’s also the standard color of a smiley face. Plus, it would be a little weird if Apple decided to make the faces green or purple. I think overall, people are really happy with this update– although I would enjoy a nice taco emoji.

  4. I agree with everyone above: the update is great! Kudos to Apple for diversifying the emojis and taking a step toward inclusiveness–of which I hope other companies take note.

  5. I think this is a great change! I know a lot of people are really happy about this, and it makes Apple look much more diversified and more culturally aware. Clearly this was a change that needed to be made, and now that it has, I think Apple looks much better for it.

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