iPhone and iPad users have been calling for more diverse emojis for a while now. Many users felt that emojis didn’t properly reflect different races as it was always just the standard yellow. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, admitted about a year ago that the standard yellow emoji needed to be updated to include different races.
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Now, with iOS 8.3, which became available for download yesterday, you can access more diverse emojis. Apple calls the new diverse emoji options “the skin-tone variations” and the update lets you choose between 5 different skin tones:
Initially the emojis look normal and are all still the standard yellow emoji colour. However, when you tap on an emoji a bubble will pop-up that will give you the option to choose between the five different skin colours. The so-called skin-tone variations is available for each human-like emoji under the People and Activity sections. The variations aren’t available for the group emojis, but the groups have been updated as well. Previously the family emojis only represented the standard mother and father relationships, but now there are different gender variations to include families with same-sex parents.
Other updates to the emoji keyboard is that you can now swipe left to access different choices that are now labeled under sections like People, Nature, Celebrations and Activity. You can jump to each section by using the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. Some new emojis have been added as well like a Mac and an Apple Watch (obviously), but sadly not the recently announced Spock emoji.
One set back about the update is that the message receiver will only be able to see the diverse emojis you use in your messages to them if they’ve also updated their iPhones with iOS 8.3. Also certain platforms like TweetDeck are not technologically equipped yet to deal with the update.