Apple Just Announced It's Changing This Emoji

The company just announced it would be changing this icon to be more COVID-friendly.

Laughing-crying face. Flame. Flying money. What might've sounded like a random string of words as recently as a decade ago is now a widely understood method of communication, thanks to emojis. And just as the tiny icons that live in our phone's keyboards have changed the way we chat with one another, the icons themselves are no stranger to being updated to fit with the times. Now, Apple has announced that it will change a popular emoji to make it more friendly for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to see which of your favorite icons is getting a makeover, and for more businesses making major changes, This Iconic Store Is Closing All Its U.S. Locations.

The syringe emoji is being updated to look like a COVID vaccine.

An updated syringe emoji featuring clear liquid inside that makes it appear more like a COVID vaccine

As part of an announcement regarding updates the company is making to its iOS operating system, Apple unveiled a new look for its syringe emoji. The icon will go from appearing to be filled with blood—complete with two red droplets spouting from the needle—to being filled with a clear liquid that makes it appear more like a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Removing the blood makes this emoji more versatile, and also might remove any misconception that vaccination involves blood," Jeremy Burge, the chief emoji officer of online emoji dictionary Emojipedia, told CNN Business. "Whether this directly impacts how the emoji is used or if it assists vaccination rates we don't yet know, but it shouldn't hurt." And for the latest tech news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The emoji's use actually influenced the decision to change it.

A person's hands use a smartphone to add smiling emojis to a message.

The syringe emoji's previous design has remained relatively unchanged since 1999, when it was used to promote blood donation in Japan, The New York Times reports. But the upcoming change in the emoji's design was actually brought about when researchers at Emojipedia noticed a sharp spike in usage at the beginning of the pandemic about COVID vaccinations on Twitter.

"When you provide someone with a communication tool, they will use it as they see fit," Keith Broni, deputy emoji officer at Emojipedia, told The Times. "We've seen many different emojis take on many different connotations," explained Broni, who also pointed out that the blood-filled option will still be available when choosing the icon. And for more crucial information about your device, If You're Using This Phone Charger, Stop Immediately.

Other emoji changes are coming as well.

woman texting in bed wearing pajamas, sex emojis

The changes to the icons will come as part of the rollout of Apple's iOS 14.5 mobile operating system within the next month, The Guardian reports. But the updated jab won't be the only thing getting a new look: the "People Holding Hands" emoji will now have the ability to mix and match the skin tones and genders of those depicted, a gender consistency option that allows users to select a man or woman's face with a beard, and an updated look for the headphones emoji that resembles Apple's AirPods Max product are all included, according to Emojipedia.

Brand new emojis are also being released.

Four people sitting on a couch each holding a different reaction emoji cut out in front of their faces.

Besides changes to existing icons, some brand-new emojis will also be introduced to the world when the new operating system rolls out. Users will soon have the option of selecting "Heart on Fire" or "Mending Heart" among the popular icons, in addition to newly added "Exhaling Face," "Face With Spiral Eyes," and "Face in Clouds" emojis. And for more major changes from your favorite brands, Costco Is Removing This From All of Its Stores in February.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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