Android 7.0 Nougat Emoji Changelog

In the second major emoji update in 10 months, Google today released Android 7.0 "Nougat" with a bunch of emoji additions.

This latest release adds support for skin tone modifiers, Unicode 9 emojis, and a removal of previously gender-neutral characters in exchange for increased cross-platform consistency.

Above: New emojis included in Android 7.0 Nougat.

Humans Are Human

The first major change to look at is the changing of previously gender-neutral characters into gendered human characters.

While Unicode traditionally recommended a gender-neutral appearance for most emojis, the fact that other major platforms (particularly iOS and Samsung's Android variant) did not conform to this left the gender-neutral characters feeling out of place in a cross platform world.

Say farewell to worm-like police officer, blobby casonnova, jelly bean sweat bow and glove-wearing information desk thimble, and hello to their new human equivalents.

This applies to more than just the gender-neutral characters. Everyone in Android 7 gets a more detailed appearance, from the couples, to the family, to the surfer.

Note that the "smiley" category (grin, heart eyes, crying, etc) remain generic as intended, though with their own changes. Only the human characters have become gendered in this update.

Top: Android 6.0.1 blobs; Bottom: Android 7.0 humans.

Some may consider this a step backward (the generic blobs were cute) but I think Google made the right call here, opting to move closer to consistency with other platforms.

It's not about whether you're right, it's about whether what you are saying is understood.

Skin Tones

For the first time, Android now supports skin tone modification on all Unicode-recommended emojis.

The previous gender-neutral blob characters would have looked mighty weird with skin tones applied, so it makes sense that this arrives at the same time as a redesign of all human emojis.

First added to Unicode in 2015, support for skin tones is a late addition for Google, but one that seemed inevitable given the support for this from other major platforms.

Above: Skin tone selection is provided via press-and-hold in Android 7.0. Image: Google.

Skin tones in Android Nougat use the same hair color variations chosen for iOS, whereby the hair color is tied to the skin-tone choice: Black, Blond, Brown, Darker Brown, Even Darker Brown.

New

New emojis in Android 7.0 include every emoji from Unicode 9.0 โ€” released earlier this year โ€”ย plus all the various skin tone changes that go with these.

Most popular of this set have been the Shrug, Selfie, Fingers Crossed and Face Palm.

Food items such as the Shallow Pan of Food (paella), Avocado, Bacon, and Owl have also been popular on Emojipedia in the lead-up to this release.

Above: All 72 new emojis from Unicode 9 are supported in Android 7.0.

Full list of new emojis now supported by Nougat:

Given the lack of support for these emojis on iOS, Samsung, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, caution should be taken at this early stage.

Also included in this update are new flags which are commonly available elsewhere:

These are in addition to the 209 flags already supported in previous Android releases. Some countries did not get support in this release, including those without a clear choice of flag.

Consistency

A number of the "smileys" category of emojis have changed in this latest release to match a single standard appearance.

For a while, different versions of each smiley had different perspectives and sizes, which could be jarring when browsing all faces to find the right emoji.

In Android 7.0 Nougat, every smiley now has a consistent size and shape, which makes it clearer to see which emotions are being conveyed.

Top: Varying styles of smiley in Android 6.0; Bottom: consistent shapes and sizes in Android 7.0.

A number of emojis have also been tweaked to more closely match other platforms. These include ๐Ÿ’ƒ Dancer and ๐Ÿ‘ฏ Woman With Bunny Ears which both had quite different appearances in previous releases.

Notably, the ๐Ÿ”ซ Pistol emoji does not change in Android 7.0, which leaves Apple as an outlier with their new water pistol appearance for this emoji.

Minor consistency updates with other platforms include changes to symbols such as ๐Ÿ› Place of Worship, ๐Ÿšผ Baby Symbol and ๐Ÿšฎ Put Litter in Its Place Symbol

More Changes

As with all emoji updates, a number of other less obvious changes sneak in.

There is an increased amount of the color red in this update, which is in stark contrast to Android 4.4 which completely omitted red from the palette.

Top: Earlier Android releases often used orange instead of red; Bottom: Red makes a welcome return in Android 7.0.

Many emojis in Android 7.0 adopt a more realistic appearance, with less thick outlining, and more shading.

In particular, whites have often been replaced with shades of gray, particularly notable in the stationery section.

What's Else

You might notice subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) changes to a number of emojis in Nougat. Here's some I came across:

๐Ÿ“ Memo has dropped the thick outlines and added more shading.

๐Ÿ’ฉ Pile of Poo gets larger eyes and a bigger mouth to be more consistent with the rest of the set2.

๐Ÿ˜Ž Smiling Face With Sunglasses bought a new pair of shades.

๐Ÿ’ฑ Currency Exchange looks more like an exchange than just a pile of money.

๐Ÿ’ด Banknote With Yen Sign and the other three banknotes get a consistent color:

๐Ÿท Wine Glass looks to be a more palatable shade.

๐ŸŽฒ Game Die also gets shading, loses thick outlines.

๐Ÿณ Waving White Flag is now a bit less white:

๐Ÿ’ผ Briefcase gets more serious with a new brown shade.

๐Ÿ˜› Face With Stuck-Out Tongue gets a slight smile better matching the cheeky nature of this on other platforms.

๐Ÿ’ฎ White Flower gets a bit less abstract, and closer to the cherry-blossom stamp it originates from.

๐Ÿ‘ป Ghost loses its cheeky cackle, opting for scary ghost. Personally I preferred my ghost with a bit of a grin.

๐Ÿ“œ Scroll gets a more conventional vertical format.

Browse every changed emoji in Android 7.0 Nougat.

Future

This release comes at a key time, with more gendered emojis expected to be on the way, but not in time for this release.

Above: Female and male variations of existing emojis are not in this update, but seem likely for a future addition. Image: Google.

Google did not comment on future plans, but given they are behind one the major proposals for new female representation in emoji, it's fair to assume this will be seen in a future update.

Release

The rollout of Android 7.0 begins today. As with all Android updates, whether this arrives on your specific phone today varies by vendor and location.

This post updates.


  1. Google's Canary Islands Flag Emoji uses the Civil Flag instead of the State Flag, which does not include the coat of arms. โ†ฉ

  2. I'll miss the short-lived pile of poo emoji from 6.0.1 ๐Ÿ˜ข โ†ฉ