Apple diversifies emoji

Apple diversifies emoji

By Jonathan Swartz, @JP_Swartz

The sunshine-yellow faces adorning text messages of iPhone owners are soon to be joined by diverse counterparts.

According to an ABC News article on Tuesday, iOS 8.3 and OS X 10.10.3 will contain multiple skin tones of emoji.

“Apple supports and cares deeply about diversity, and is working with The Unicode Consortium to update the standard so that it better represents diversity for all of us,” an Apple spokesperson said in an ABC interview.


Unicode Consortium sets the standard for emoji for many technology companies. According to ABC, a plan was released in November to have more diverse emojis in the group’s 2015 update.

Apple’s latest beta update allows users to change the skin tone of any human icon by tapping and holding the character, according to a Monday article by The Verge, 

Laura Neibergall, a freshman from Des Moines, Iowa, studying cinema, expressed concern for this formatting style.

“If a light colored skin is [the primary selection,] some people will wonder why it is secondary to select another color,” she said.

However, Neibergall said the change is positive, and Apple should have done it sooner.

Tara Lowry, a freshman from St. Louis studying radio television and digital media, said the integration of multiple races of emoji is a good idea, as it subtly introduces diversity into the mindset of those using social media and text messaging. 

“My niece can operate an iPad and she’s 4,” Lowry said. “If the options are available for these different races of emoji, that will open up their minds to racial diversity much earlier and encourage a more accepting society in the future.”


Not everyone believes the change in emoji race is needed.

“Necessary, no,” Tesia Galvan, a senior from Chicago studying journalism said. But… it’s good to be diverse. If Apple wants to have a good image as a culturally diverse company, then it’s good.”