Apple is adding a raft of new emoji with a focus on inclusivity, plus a few notable extras and timely updates. Of the 217 new icons included in the iOS 14.5 beta, 200 include couples with a mix of skin tones, including same-sex partners, according to Emojipedia. There are also new gender options for the bearded person emoji, meaning you can choose between a woman or man with facial hair.
Other notable changes include a vaccine-friendly syringe with the blood removed. This isn’t the first time Apple has tweaked an emoji: It previously swapped out the handgun with a water pistol in the wake of a series of shootings in the US back in 2016.
Elsewhere, Apple’s branding remains on point as the generic over-ear headphone emoji in black has been replaced with its latest AirPod Max in all-white. The revision is in keeping with the other device emoji that match Apple’s lineup including a Mac desktop and Macbook, an iPhone and Apple Watch.
For those holding out for some new smileys, there are three new variants on offer including an exhaling face, a face with spiral eyes and a hazy face in the clouds — all of which seem apt for our present malady. There are also a pair of new hearts available from opposite ends of the romance spectrum, including a heart on fire and a bandaged heart on the mend.
These updates are currently limited to developers but will be accessible to everyone else on iOS in the Spring. The new emoji (release 13.1) were approved by the Unicode Consortium in September following a change to its schedule and have been available to vendors ever since, with Apple now choosing to integrate them.