How to unleash iOS 9.1’s awesome new emojis | Cult of Mac

Up yours, Unicorn Burrito: Unleash iOS 9.1’s awesome new emojis


This sad, middle finger-free existence is over in iOS 9.1.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

This week’s update to iOS 9.1 did more than just squash some bugs and tweak the Shift key. It also added a ton of new emojis to your built-in keyboard. If you want to put a number on it, iOS 9.1 adds 184 new, tiny pictures to spice up your text messages.

It may be hard to keep track of which ones are new, so we gathered up the newcomers for your convenience — along with where to find them.

Smileys & People

iOS 9.1 Smileys and People emojis
Turn that smile upside down. For some reason.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The workhorses of the emoji world, the Smileys and People category snagged some of the most useful new faces. Finally, we can give people the finger. At last, we can tell people to “Zip it.” And our days of waiting for a way to send someone a creepy eye without an online image search are over for good.

While iOS devices have recognized the Vulcan salute since version 8.3, iOS 9.1 finally gives it a home on the keyboard so you don’t have to do any extra work to tell your friends to live long and/or prosper.

Animals & Nature

iOS 9.1 Animals and Nature emojis
Cheer up, Mr. Lion. You’re moving up in the world.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The Animals & Nature section gains a few creepy crawlies in the Spider and Scorpion. But it also scores the most fabulous emoji ever made (sorry, inexplicably sassy Information Desk Woman) with the Unicorn. And now your iPhone is about 30 percent more magical.

New iOS 9.1 emojis also include some weather icons, including a pretty sweet tornado. We like the idea that someone with a tornado bearing down on them might have enough time to send a text, but not enough to actually type out the word. Thanks, Tornado emoji. You’re the real MVP.

Food & Drink

iOS 9.1 Food and Drink emojis
And now I’m hungry.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The Food & Drink category gets the fewest additions, but they’re pretty good ones. The eagerly anticipated Taco and Burrito have arrived. Unfortunately, however, the also-popular (for some reason) Avocado is still under review, so it didn’t make it into iOS 9.1. We’ll just have to wait a little longer to send people colorful cartoon pictures of those.

I love avocados and everything, but why is this one so requested?


iOS 9.1 Activity emojis
Levitating is, technically, an activity. You have us there, Apple.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

The Activity category has maybe the most confusing addition of the update. Check out that levitating guy. What’s that about? He kinda looks like an exclamation point, maybe, but mostly he just looks like the sort of thing that would chase me in a nightmare.

You can also easily talk to people about badminton now, too. So that’s cool.

Travel & Places

iOS 9.1 Travel and Places emojis
We’re pretty sure they covered every mode of travel that exists. Wait … no rickshaws. Get it together, emoji makers.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Not much to say about the Travel & Places additions in iOS 9.1. The category now has pretty much every setting you can go to and every way to get there. It even has space covered; check out that satellite. Finally, you won’t have to struggle to find just the right pictures to tell someone you just took a ferry to space. They’re right in there.


iOS 9.1 Objects emojis
What a bunch of stuff.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

“Objects” covers basically everything that exists, so it’s no surprise that iOS 9.1 brings more new things to that category than any other. It has 60 additions, including the Coffin, a few office supplies, and the Three Button Mouse, which Apple cleverly made to look like its own Magic Mouse.


iOS 9.1 Symbols emojis
I’m glad to finally have a way to tell someone to record my favorite show about atoms.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

My favorite new emojis are in the Symbols category, although I doubt I’ll ever use them. But I really like how the Radioactive and Biohazard emblems look. This is also the category that houses that weird eye in a speech bubble that may or may not be about bullying. Maybe we’ll find out what it is now that it’s in there.


Left Speech BubbleOne new emoji, Left Speech Bubble, doesn’t appear on the keyboard, although your iPhone is now capable of displaying it. You might recognize as one of the components of that mysterious eye emoji in Symbols. This emoji has been around since last year, but it hasn’t made the cut for standard inclusion (thanks to Jeremy Burge at Emojipedia for the clarification on this).

Left Speech Bubble is more or less like iOS 8.3’s secret Vulcan Salute emoji was: Your phone could show it, but you couldn’t access it. Apparently, Apple’s just being thorough.

In fact, these additions to the iOS keyboard officially give iPhone and iPad users access to every symbol the Unicode Consortium — the official policy-making group for all things emoji — has sanctioned. And some of these new-to-Apple pics are incredibly old; the Yin Yang, for example, has been around since 1993.

With iOS 9.1, Apple has fully embraced emojis, and we assume it will continue to update its library as more become available. The next batch is set to come out in the middle of 2016, and we still have our fingers crossed for that avocado. Although we have no idea why.


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