Developer’s Manual to Apple Emoji 🍏😊: iOS & macOS

Updated:
3 minute read

Learn about how emoji are handled on the most valuable mobile platform, Apple. This is part of a series on how emoji have changed over time across mobile operating systems. Our earlier posts covered emoji on the two major players in Android ecosystem: Google and Samsung.

Emoji in Mobile Apps

In our debut game, Emoji Riddles™, relies on a number of different aspects of emoji to make each riddle decipherable. The illustration of the emoji matters for brainstorming the underlying words in each riddle. If the emoji illustrations are not consistent from player to player, some players could suffer a poor experience and have lower overall engagement. This post seeks to help developers understand key differences when relying on the system default emoji for use in an application.

Apple 🍏

Emojis displayed on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV use the Apple Color Emoji font installed on iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Some Apple devices support Animoji and Memoji. - Emojipedia

Source: StatCounter Global Stats - iOS Version Market Share

iOS

Emoji Riddles™ Compatible Version Release Date Emoji Changes # Emoji
iOS 11.1 2017-10-31 Supports Emoji 5.0 2614
iOS 11.2 2017-12-02 Minor design updates for 17 existing emoji 2614
iOS 11.3 2018-03-29 Minor design updates for some animoji 2614
iOS 12.1 2018-10-30 Supports Emoji 11.0 2776
iOS 12.2 2019-03-25 Minor design updates for some animoji 2776
iOS 13.1 2019-09-24 Accuracy update for a number of existing emoji 2776
iOS 13.2 2019-10-28 Supports Emoji 12.0 and Emoji 12.1 3175
iOS 13.3 2019-12-10 Skin tone updates 3175
iOS 14.2 2020-11-05 Supports Emoji 13.0 3292

macOS

Version Release Date Emoji Changes # Emoji
macOS High Sierra 10.3.1 2017-10-31 Supports Emoji 5.0 2614
macOS 10.15.2 2019-12-10 Supports Emoji 12.0 and Emoji 12.1 3175
macOS 11 Big Sur 2020-11-05 Supports Emoji 13.0 3292

Key Takeaways

  • Apple is typically among the first to support new Unicode emoji specifications.
  • Apple rolls out emoji design changes to all of their operating systems iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS at the same time making the user experience consistent across their ecosystem of devices.
  • Emojipedia does an excellent job tracking everything going on in the world of emoji. We suggest following their updates on Apple.


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