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World Emoji Day 2021: Here’s what Google is changing

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TL;DR

  • July 16 is World Emoji Day 🎉. For the 2021 iteration, Google is updating 992 of the cartoon images.
  • Some of the updates will simply make them cuter. However, some updates will make them more accurate or more flexible in meaning.
  • Additionally, certain apps will now see Emoji updates faster, without needing to wait for an OS update.

Usually, around this time, we start seeing new Emoji land on our phones, apps, and other devices. However, the Unicode Consortium — which is in charge of developing and standardizing Unicode-based Emoji — delayed the rollout of Unicode Standard 14.0. Instead of seeing that in March this year, we won’t see it until September 😢. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic played a big role in this delay.

But what about World Emoji Day? That’s what today is and without a bunch of new Emoji, how will we 🥳? Google thought an appropriate celebration would be to update some of its Emoji designs — and by some, we mean a little less than 1,000 of them, or roughly 28% of all Emoji.

Most of the updates are aesthetic in nature. Check out the differences between the old 🚚, 🚗, and 🚕 Emoji and their new designs:

Auto Emoji 2021

As you can see, they are clearly the same Emoji, they just look a bit different. The 🥐, 🍚, 🥓, ✂, 👙, and many more also saw aesthetic changes such as these.

Some other World Emoji Day changes, though, are more significant. Take the 😷 Emoji, for example. Currently, the mask-wearing face looks sad, likely because they are sick. However, most people who wear masks nowadays are doing so to prevent sickness, so the Emoji isn’t as useful. Check out the change below:

Mask Emoji 2021

Another change along these lines is the 🥧 Emoji. Google’s variant of this one currently looks very distinctly like a slice of pumpkin pie. However, that’s an American type of pie and might not work as well in other countries. Now, the pie Emoji is just a pie so everyone can relate to it:

Pie Emoji 2021

Google isn’t stopping the World Emoji Day celebrations just at changing some Emoji, though. There’s another big change in store.

World Emoji Day 2021: Faster rollouts on the way 😊

As one would expect, Android 12 will include all these updated Emoji when it lands (likely in August or early September). Usually, that’s how it goes: you need to wait for an OS update to get all the new and updated Emoji of the year.

Thankfully, Google is making things a bit faster, at least when it comes to specific apps. If an Android app supports Appcompat — a tool that enables Android apps to be compatible with several Android versions — it will get the latest Emoji immediately. You’ll still need to wait for the next OS update for the new Emoji to appear at the system level, but they should display properly in your favorite apps.

The downside to this faster rollout, though, is that it won’t work on anything prior to Android 12. If you know Android 11 is your phone’s final OS update, you’ll be stuck without the newest Emoji 😭.

Have a happy World Emoji Day, everyone 🍾🥂🙌

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