Skip to main content

Apple says it wants emoji to be more multicultural

Apple says it wants emoji to be more multicultural

Share this story

Emoji — the tiny art that can be stuck in texts, emails, and elsewhere to emote thoughts, feelings, and replace entire words — doesn't have a whole lot of diversity when it comes to the humans who are depicted. Very few of those characters, which originated from Japanese phone carriers, are non-Caucasian, though it might not be that way for long. Speaking to MTV Act, an Apple spokeswoman says the company has been "working closely" with the Unicode Consortium (of which it's a member) to update, and perhaps expand the emoji character set:

Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.

Apple confirmed the statement to The Verge, though did not elaborate on specific changes.

The last big update to Apple's emoji collection came in 2012 when the company added gay and lesbian couples as part iOS 6. That update also made emoji available to all users without any hackery. Previously, users needed to install third-party apps to enable the specialized keyboard set.