Emoji are about to takeover over your passwords

A British company has developed an emoji-only password option for online banking.
A British company has developed an emoji-only password option for online banking.
Photo: Intelligent Environments/Vimeo

Our friends chuckle when we text them a story using emoji. Fun little pictures rich in context and feeling, especially when we can make use of the smiling poo.

But that funny emoji story could also make a very secure password.

The British company Intelligent Environments has developed emoji security technology the developers say will be easier to remember and offer many more combinations that a four-digit PIN code.

Smell the bacon? It’s one of 38 new emojis on the way

Apple's on a hot streak with its new emoji.
Apple's on a hot streak with its new emoji.
Photo: Cookbookman17/Flickr CC

If you’ve long found yourself unable to communicate effectively with your friends because of the lack of “bacon,” “shark” and “man in tuxedo” emojis, you could be in luck next year.

That’e because the Unicode Consortium, aka the Mountain View, California-based organization that standardizes characters and emoji across different operating systems — is set to add 38 all-new emojis to its Unicode 9.0 update.

Arriving in June 2016, they should find their way onto iOS not long after. Here’s what you can expect:

The true definitions of the world’s most popular emojis

Instagram found a way to decipher emojis. Photo: Cult of Mac
Photo: Apple


Emoji have gone from cute little pictograms only teens use, to a near-universal method of expression for all languages in about four years. Instagram has been tracking the use of emoji in posts and noticed an explosion of emoji after Apple added the keyboard to iOS in October 2011.

Today, nearly 60% of all Instagram posts in Finland use emoji, while users in countries like France, U.K., Russia, Italy and U.S.A. include emoji in 40% – 50% of posts. Using a tool called word2vec that reads through text and predicts the context around a given emoji, Instagram’s engineers have combed through millions of posts to decipher the true meaning of emoji.

Here are the most popular emoji and their definitions:

Instagram offers up new filters, emoji for hashtags


Lark, Reyes and Juno are three new filters for Instagram. Photo: Instagram
Lark, Reyes and Juno are three new filters for Instagram. Photo: Instagram

Instagram continues to play with the color wheel, introducing three new filters Monday the company says get inspiration from weekend outdoor adventures.

In addition to the filters, named Lark, Reyes and Juno, Instagram now allows users to include emoji on hashtags.

Since surpassing more than 300 million users in December, Instagram has added several new features to the photo-sharing app. It added five filters in December and last month, rolled out a new app called Layout, which allows users to combine multiple images in a single post.

Apple Watch gets mixed reviews and HBO NOW comes to iOS on The CultCast


HBO NOW on iOS?  God's be good!
HBO NOW on iOS? God's be good!
Photo: HBO

This week: get’em while they’re hot! The Apple Watch is ready for pre-order, but the reviews are in, and they’re a mixed bag. Plus: what’s good in iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3; Robert Baratheon makes HBO NOW a no-brainer; Samsung is up to their old tricks; the new Macbook didn’t benchmark well, but it might not matter; and things get weird in an all-new Get to Know Your Cultist!

Our thanks to Squarespace for supporting this episode. Squarespace 7 is live, and it’s their biggest update in years. Now building a beautiful website is faster and easier than ever. Learn more at Squarespace.com/seven and use code “CultCast” at checkout for 10% off any order.


Full show notes ahead!