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October 7, 2017

iOS 11.1 will come with more than 200 new emojis, including a pie and a pretzel

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Apple’s spooky (and tasty) new emojis arrive just in time for Halloween.

Can’t get enough emojis? If you’ve got an iOS device that supports iOS 11, you’re in luck. Apple just previewed the “hundreds” of new animals, mythical creatures, food types, and smiley faces that will join the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch’s emoji library in iOS 11.1.

Among the highlights are a Chinese takeout box, a pie, a pretzel, an old-fashion red sleigh, a hedgehog, a brain, and a scarf. A few characters announced on World Emoji Day made the cut, like a bearded man, a woman with a headscarf, a zombie, a vampire, a genie, and a person in a lotus position. New American Sign Language signs like the Love-You Gesture — a raised index finger, thumb, and pinkie motion that means, “I love you” — are in tow too.

Apple says that every new child, adult, and older adult emoji is available in a range of skins tones, and that the number of distinct new emoji characters in iOS 11.1 is well past 50. Accounting for gender, color, and flag modifiers, the total is closer to 200.


They’re part of Unicode 10, the encoding standard hashed out by the eponymous Unicode Consortium. It’s a surprisingly complicated process: Every calendar quarter, the Consortium’s 12 major voting members — a group that includes Oracle, Google, Facebook IBM, Apple, and Yahoo — take recommendations from the public and propose letters, digits, symbols, and emoji for revisions of Unicode.

Reaching a consensus isn’t always easy. Last year, for instance, Apple and Microsoft raised a joint objection to a rifle emoji that’d been approved for Unicode 9. In 2015, Apple decided not to include gun and knife emojis in MacOS’s keyboard.

Sometimes the omitted emojis are the ones that cause controversy. In January, the committee devoted three month’s worth of meetings to the red-haired emoji. Members were divided on whether or not to change the “person with blond hair” emojis to a strawberry blond, or to create and entirely new “redhead variant” of emoji with different skin tones.


The process gets political, as one member of the committee told BuzzFeed last year. “We’re talking about engineers that are concerned about standards and internationalization issues who now have to do something more in line with Apple and Google’s marketing teams. It is a bizarre and unusual situation.”

Thankfully, Unicode 10’s emojis look to be broadly uncontroversial. Don’t expect to find them in the current iOS 11.1 beta, though — they aren’t there. Apple says they’ll be added to the developer and public beta releases in the coming weeks.

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