Each year, we get new emojis on our iPhone, iPads, and Macs. They typically come with the new iOS and macOS updates in the fall (though sometimes they’re added in a point-release shortly after). Who decides which new emojis we get?
Emojis are defined by a group called the Unicode Consortium, comprised of representatives from a number of hardware and software companies. They agree on updates to the Unicode Standard, which is a common means of encoding and representing text in digital formats. It’s the foundation of transmitting and displaying text on nearly all modern digital platforms.
Emojis are a part of the Unicode standard, and the group gets together each year to decide which new icons will be added to the official list. On January 5, Unicode announced the final Emoji 13.0 list. These are the emojis all the different software platform makers will build into their software this year.
New emojis for 2020
There are 117 new emojis this list, which breaks down into 62 completely new objects or people and 55 gender and skin-tone variants. It’s about as many totally new emojis as last year (there were 59), but we saw a lot of existing emojis get new gender and skin-tone variants last year, which ballooned the figure up to 230.
Over at Emojipedia, you’ll find a complete list of the new emojis as well as some highlights and examples. Note that these examples are Emojipedia’s own artwork—they’ll be drawn a bit differently on Apple platforms, as well as those from Microsoft, Google, Samsung, etc.
Apple typically previews new emoji around World Emoji Day, which is on June 17 this year. That will be our first look at Apple’s interpretation of some of these new emojis.
There’s plenty of great stuff in there. The Ninja is sure to be popular, as is the new “people hugging” which is a lot less grabby and creepy than the hugging smiley face. There are plenty of new foods, including oft-requested bubble tea, and quite a few new everyday objects (needle and thread, mirror, toothbrush, coin, plunger…).
The complete Emoji 13.0 list
Here’s the entire list of new emojis, as seen at Emojipedia.