Emoji have become an intrinsic part of our lives and have shaped our interactions online since being first developed as cute, small and web-friendly pictographs in the late 90s.
Once known by the less catchy name of ‘emoticons’, emoji have come a long way since first appearing on the internet as the pixelated colour symbols first created in 1999 by Japanese artist, Shigetaka Kurita.
These tiny illustrations paved the way for different assortments and versions for years to come, with the emoji we use today enjoyed worldwide thanks to their recognition by Unicode – an international computer encoding standard that assigns letters, digits and symbols a unique numerical code to turn make them universally accessible across different browsers, search engines, platforms and devices.
More than 3,600 emoji exist to help us represent our mood, identity, places, food, animals and more – and there’s even a World Emoji Day to celebrate the colourful symbols and smilies filling our social media feeds and messages.
Today, more than 700 million emoji can be found in Facebook posts every day and 92% of the world’s online population use emoji in their communications.
With Apple among the tech companies set to embrace the new emoji approved last year in its latest software update, iOS 15.4, here’s what you need to know about 2022’s new emoji, what they are and when they’ll be available.
What are the new emoji coming out in 2022?
Unicode, the body which approves new emoji for roll-out across different devices and models, approved the latest batch of new emoji contributions in September 2021 in the form of Emoji 14.0.
These have since been rolled out across some devices and software already, such as in Google’s Android 12L update in late October last year.
New emoji approved in the final draft of Emoji 14.0 included the popular Melting Face emoji as well as Troll, Coral, Lotus, Empty Nest, Beans, Mirror Ball, Biting Lip and Low Battery emoji.
The number of new emoji approved for 2021-22 was 112 in total, with many of these now appearing in the test Beta mode of Apple’s latest iOS software update, iOS 15.4, set to release in Spring 2022.
You can view the whole set of new emoji released in Emoji 14.0 at https://emojipedia.org/emoji-14.0/.
Which new emojis will be on Apple’s iOS 15.4 update?
According to Emojipedia, the online encyclopaedia and reference site for all things emoji, the new batch of emoji which are already available in Apple’s iOS 15.4 beta release include seven new smilies, more hand gestures and 25 new variations on its popular handshake emoji to reflect a wider range of races, relationships and skin tones.
The seven new smilies are: Melting Face, Face with Open Eyes and Hand Over Mouth, Face with Peeking Eye, Saluting Face, Dotted Line Face, Face with Diagonal Mouth and a Face Holding Back Tears.
In a further effort to represent gender diversity and inclusivity in its range of emoji, Apple’s 15.4 beta iOS update also includes a gender neutral Person with Crown and Pregnant Person, along with a new Pregnant Man emoji.
There are seven new hand gesture emoji in iOS 15.4 beta, including right and left hand emojis, a Palm Up Hand, an intimidating Index finger Point at the Viewer emoki and Heart Hands.
But in addition to 25 new skin tones in its Handshake emoji, Apple has also added the following new emoji in its latest beta software update:
- Empty Nest
- Nest with Eggs
- Pouring Liquid
- Playground Slide
- Ring Buoy
- Mirror Ball
- Low Battery
- Identification Card
- Heavy Equals Sign
How are new emoji chosen?
New additions to the thousands of emoji featuring in our messages and social media posts on a daily basis across the world are decided by the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee, which regularly reviews proposals from the public for new emoji.
They look at whether an image submitted for emoji consideration will work at their tiny scale, how well it expresses whatever symbol, mood or item it is designed to and how likely it is that the emoji will be used by a large amount of people.
New emoji are set to arrive in the next emoji update, Emoji 15.0, which is due to be released in September.
While these are still yet to be officially decided, a provisional set of future Unicode emoji so far includes: shaking face, pink heart, jellyfish, a moose face, folding hand fan, hyacinth, goose, khanda and donkey.
These provisional candidates may not make it to the draft list of emoji shortlisted for the next 15.0 update, however.
Among the 117 new emoji released in 2020 were the transgender flag, smiling face with a single tear, the pinched fingers emoji and animal emojis for seals, otters and beavers.
To see the full line-up for the next emoji update and find out more, visit the Emojipedia website here.