The latest list of emoji recommendations drafted by the Unicode Consortium - Emoji 15.1 - has been formally approved. This means that 118 new emojis should be arriving across our various digital devices over the next year or so.
Emoji 15.1 has been formally approved alongside today's release of version 15.1 of the Unicode Standard, the Unicode Consortium's core text encoding standard that is designed to support the use of text written in all of the world's major writing systems.
🆕 New Emojis in Emoji 15.1
These 118 new emojis introduced in Emoji 15.1 include six completely new concepts, four new gender-neutral family emoji combinations, and 108 new direction-specifying versions of six pre-existing people emojis.
Example color images are commonly shown on pages of new emoji information by Unicode and come from various sources. These are intended to convey the preferred design choices for vendors when implementing emojis.
The six completely new emoji concepts within Emoji 15.1 are:
- 🙂↔️ Head Shaking Horizontally
- 🙂↕️ Head Shaking Vertically
- 🐦🔥 Phoenix
- 🍋🟩 Lime
- 🍄🟫 Brown Mushroom
- 🔗💥 Broken Chain
The four new family emojis are:
- 🧑🧑🧒 Family: Adult, Adult, Child
- 🧑🧒🧒 Family: Adult, Child, Child
- 🧑🧒 Family: Adult, Child
- 🧑🧑🧒🧒 Family: Adult, Adult, Child, Child
The six people emoji characters that now have direction-specifying variations are:
- 🚶➡️ Person Walking Facing Right
- 🏃➡️ Person Running Facing Right
- 🧎➡️ Person Kneeling Facing Right
- 🧑🦯➡️ Person with White Cane Facing Right
- 🧑🦽➡️ Person in Manual Wheelchair Facing Right
- 🧑🦼➡️ Person in Motorized Wheelchair Facing Right
Unicode Version 15.1 will include 118 new RGI #emoji ZWJ sequences, 108 of which are directional variants of existing emoji, and are expected to start showing up on 📱s, 💻s, and other platforms sometime early next year → https://t.co/ooTcjrayiF #絵文字 #Unicode15_1 pic.twitter.com/b2OgM5StR1— The Unicode Consortium (@unicode) September 6, 2023
This means that no changes have been made to the draft emoji list since we here at Emojipedia previewed the Emoji 15.1 draft list ahead of our 10th annual World Emoji Day celebration this July.
Emoji 15.1 is to be released in September 2023 and will likely include a Phoenix, a Lime, two shaking heads, and many direction-specific people emojis— Emojipedia (@Emojipedia) July 13, 2023
Ahead of our 10th #WorldEmojiDay, here are sample designs for every emoji in the final draft list 👇https://t.co/CpdrIDlQGJ pic.twitter.com/49HURFazal
This means that each of these new emojis is based on combining pre-existing emoji characters or sequences to be represented with a new unique emoji design.
As of Emoji 15.1, there are now a total of 3,782 emojis recommended by Unicode.
However, while Emoji 15.1 contains brand-new emojis, since these are all constructed via ZWJ sequences, Unicode 15.1 did not require any brand-new emoji characters to enable the creation of Emoji 15.1.
This means that Unicode 15.1 is the first update to the Unicode Standard to not feature the creation of any new emoji characters since May 2019's Unicode 12.1 - a minor update to the standard that added just a single new non-emoji character to enable software to be rapidly updated to support the new Japanese era name in calendrical systems and date formatting
Prior to Unicode 12.1, new emoji characters had been added to every update to the Unicode Standard from 2014's Unicode 7.0 onwards.
Despite not containing any new emoji characters, Unicode 15.1 does induce several hundred new non-emoji characters to the Unicode Standard.
🔡 New Characters in Unicode 15.1
The vast majority of characters in the Unicode Standard are not emojis. Emoji updates are given priority here at Emojipedia, but it's worth taking a moment to look at some of the other new characters approved in this release.
Regarding this update, Unicode notes that:
Unicode 15.1 adds 627 characters, for a total of 149,813 characters.
To put it in perspective, the total number of emoji characters and sequences that are recommended for general interchange (RGI) is 3,782 in Unicode 15.1, compared to the 149,813 characters across the entire updated version of the Unicode Standard.
The bulk of the 627 new characters in #Unicode15_1 are 622 CJK Unified Ideographs in the new #ExtensionI block in Plane 2 → https://t.co/ooTcjrayiF #CJK統合漢字 #CJK统一汉字 #拡張I #扩充I #GB18030 pic.twitter.com/ZxmJrr5rlS— The Unicode Consortium (@unicode) September 8, 2023
According to the Unicode blog:
The characters in the Extension I block have been deemed to be very urgently needed for use in China. The Extension I proposal was based on characters that appeared in a draft amendment of China’s mandatory GB 18030 standard. For this reason, the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) considered it imperative to arrive at a stable encoding for these characters as quickly as possible.
The GB 18030 is a Chinese government standard that defines the required language and character support necessary for software in China.
The code charts for the main CJK Unified Ideographs block will now support seven columns for accommodating the addition of thousands of KP-source ideographs → https://t.co/ooTcjrayiF #Unicode15_1 pic.twitter.com/ymwhL6ScGj— The Unicode Consortium (@unicode) September 11, 2023
🗓️ Emoji Release Schedule
The release of Emoji 15.1 does not mean users can immediately access or use any new emoji from this list.
Expect to see some companies come out with early emoji support throughout the remainder of 2023, and the majority of updates to take place in the first half of 2024.
Swiftly after @unicode approved Emoji 15.0 earlier today, @Google revealed a bonanza of new emoji features 🤯— Emojipedia (@Emojipedia) September 14, 2022
These included support for the 31 newly-recommended emojis in both of their Noto Emoji fonts, plus a brand new animated Noto Emoji subset 🎨
🔗 https://t.co/AKp2FxKpdt pic.twitter.com/LdyzOrmeqC
These designs would then begin to appear progressively across select Google platforms such as Chrome OS, Gmail, and YouTube between September 2022 and their release within Android 13 in March 2023.
Google's latest beta release for @Android 13 (QPR 2 Beta 2) was released earlier today, debuting support for Emoji 15.0 on select Pixel devices registered for the beta program. https://t.co/L5rZxGMbnu pic.twitter.com/BvA1QdwM8Q— Emojipedia (@Emojipedia) January 9, 2023
Last year Samsung debuted their support for Emoji 15.0 uncharacteristically early via October 2022's One UI 5.0 update, though this update did also debut the Emoji 14.0's recommendations that were approved over a year prior.
Today Samsung has officially begun rolling out its latest major OS update. This update introduces new emojis from both 2021 and 2022, such as the Melting Face and the plain Pink Heart emoji.https://t.co/5DCSXmz4C0 pic.twitter.com/3aUUqW3Zo9— Emojipedia (@Emojipedia) October 24, 2022
If Apple sticks to this release schedule, expect to see Emoji 15.1 support come to iOS 17.4 in March or April 2023.