The new emoji set to appear in 2021 will help you express relief or confusion. Or show that your heart’s afire, or that it’s mending.
Those might seem fairly ordinary, but there is something extremely odd about the the list of upcoming emoji: It’s very short. The group responsible for coming up with new emoji picked just seven new designs to debut next year. The reason is simple: COVID-19.
That said, there are a couple of hundred additional mixed skin tones for emoji of couples together, but none of those designs are actually new.
New emoji for 2021
The fresh designs in the recently announced Emoji 13.1 list from the Unicode Consortium are:
- Face Exhaling
- Face in Clouds
- Face with Spiral Eyes
- Heart on Fire
- Mending Heart
- Woman with Beard
- Person with Beard
There are versions of the last two for different skin tones. And in that same vein, the remaining 200 additions are all variations on the Couple with Heart emoji. There are already options of this for man and woman, man and man, and woman and woman. Emoji 13.1 adds a huge range of skin tone choices for each of the people in the emoji.
Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc., will now take the basic designs determined by the Unicode Consortium and make them match their own styles. That’s why an emoji on an iPhone doesn’t look exactly like one on an Android device.
Why so few?
The emojis, which are added to all mobile operating systems, including iOS, are determined by the Unicode Consortium. This nonprofit depends on the efforts of volunteers, who are all dealing with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Unicode 13.0 was unveiled in January with a bumper crop of new emojis, which are expected to come to iPhone and iPad soon. But because of the pandemic, Unicode 14.0 isn’t scheduled to come out until autumn of 2021, about six months later than usual. Apple, Google and other companies will need time to add whatever emoji appear on that list to their operating systems. That means those likely won’t become available to spice up your text messages until 2022.
Hence, Emoji 13.1. “This minor release was created to add new emoji before 2022,” the Unicode Consortium noted in a blog post.