Unicode 9 Emoji Updates

The candidate list for Unicode 9 is taking shape, with the final list of new emojis scheduled for approval in mid-2016.

38 emoji characters have been accepted as candidates for the 2016 Unicode update, including Face Palm, Selfie, Shrug, Fingers Crossed, and Pregnant Woman.

We commissioned a complete[1] set of mockups to show how these might look if approved[2].

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of Unicode 9 Emoji Candidates

Created by the talented Joshua M. Jones, these emoji mockups imagine a world in which Unicode 9 has been approved, and is ready to use on your devices.

Gender Pairs

Of of the factors in deciding which emojis are approved for inclusion in Unicode 9 has been the concept of a gender-matched pair.

Bride finds a groom

Man In Tuxedo has been listed as the gender pair for the Bride emoji. Of course, he can be used in other contexts too. Hence the name that describes his clothing, instead of calling him "groom".

Dancer gets a male partner

The original Dancer emoji was not intended to be male or female.

Popular usage has resulted in Apple's salsa dancing woman being the more common implementation. As such, Unicode 9 introduces a the Man Dancing Emoji[3], allowing the regular dancer to stay female.

Father Christmas is paired with Mother Christmas.

Santa Claus gets reunited with his wife Mrs Claus, which has the Unicode name of Mother Christmas.

Princess and Prince

This was an easy one. The Princess emoji pre-dates skin tone modifiers, and has traditionally been the blonde-haired woman. To create the Prince emoji, the Person With Blond Hair gets a Crown.


Completing the family unit is a Pregnant Woman emoji. This emoji was considered missing, with family member emojis already in place for the Baby, right through to Older Man and Older Woman.



Candidates for new emoji faces are an eclectic mix of requests to consortium members, as well as inclusions for backward compatibility (primarily with Yahoo Messenger).

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of Unicode 9 Faces

Hand Gestures

The fingers crossed emoji has been very high on the list of requests to Emojipedia, as well as to Unicode Consortium Members.

Proposals from iDiversicons include two fist-bump emojis and the handshake. The Call Me Hand is a compatibility inclusion (from Yahoo Messenger).

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of Unicode 9 Hand Gestures

Food and Drink

A selection of new food and drink related emojis represents some of the more popular[^potato] requests to consortium members.

Clinking glasses is expected to have high frequency of use, due to its association with celebration or success.

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of Unicode 9 Food and Drink emoji candidates


Unicode 8 included missing animals that had associated zodiac symbols, such as the lion and crab.

Unicode 9 endeavours to include other animals that are common around the world, but not yet included in the emoji set.

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of Unicode 9 Animals


For those requiring emojis to represent genuine (or sarcastic) sorrow, the Wilted Flower and Black Heart are the candidates to achieve this.

Black Heart is notable due to the existence of two other emojis with black heart in their names, which are actually red.

Above: Emojipedia Mockups of the Wilted Flower and Black Heart

In addition, if the transport section of your emoji keyboard was not comprehensive enough already, here are two more modes of transport, and a traffic sign.

Potential Inclusions

There are still some emoji proposals that may become candidates prior to next year's release. These are not yet accepted as candidates, but have a likely chance of making it to the candidate list this year.

Let's check back in a year or two[4] to see how closely any of these match the completed emoji images from Apple. Or from other platform vendors, for that matter.

A note to anyone wishing to use these emoji mockups on the web: please feel free to do so, provided a link is included to the relevant Emojipedia page (or this article) as the source. Thanks!

Above: The iOS emoji keyboard could look something like this if these emojis are approved. Photo: Jeremy Burge

Update: The candidate list for Unicode 9.0 has been finalised with 72 new emojis included in total. These are due for release in June 2016.

  1. This is the full list of proposals accepted as candidates. There is another set of Unicode 9 emoji proposals which are not (yet) at the candidate stage. β†©οΈŽ

  2. We gave a nod to Google's Disco Dancer Emoji from Android 4.4 with this one. He's still got it. disco-dancer.png β†©οΈŽ

  3. The potato emoji is frequently submitted as a request to Emojipedia, and I'm not entirely sure why. β†©οΈŽ

  4. And here they are on YouTube β†©οΈŽ