Visual communicators, rejoice: Apple has unveiled a suite of thrilling new emojis in an upcoming iOS update.
As of today, iPhone users can send images of nonbinary vampires, fairies, genies, mermaids, golfers, and more.
There are also a wide range of new animals, which will be a delight to anyone who uses animal taxonomy to categorize gay men. At last, you can use an image of an otter in your texts — or your Grindr bio of course. There’s also a new sloth emoji, a skunk, and an orangutan.
If you’re planning to use the emoji in suggestive texts or images, tread carefully around Facebook and Instagram. The sites have recently cracked down on “horny” emoji like eggplants or peaches. Depending on context, the otter might run afoul of rules as well, as the sites have clarified that they don’t allow the use of emoji to censor nudity.
Sadly, there are still no LGBTQ+ flags beyond the rainbow. No trans flag, no bisexuality flag, no leather flag. The Android version of WhatsApp currently allowes users to enter a copy and paste a string of characters that produces a transgender flag, but it’s not available on Apple devices.
Apple’s gender-neutral figures are at least a step forward for texting, with a total of 457 new nonbinary takes, many based on existing emoji.
Apple has also provided more interracial couple options, and a handful of emoji representing disabilities and accessibility devices like limbs, wheelchairs, and canes.
But despite the excitement, heavy iPhone users might not want to rush to update yet. Recent iOS updates have been fairly bug-heavy, and many experts advise waiting a few days to make sure there aren’t any show-stopping bugs in the new software.
The one exception is users with an iPhone 5. They must update their software in the next few days, or lose the use of core features of their devices.