Back in the autumn of last year, the Unicode Consortium announced an update plan for new emojis: Unicode 16.0, originally scheduled for release in September 2023, would be delayed⏸️, and instead, Unicode 15.1 would be released, with the upcoming emoji version being designated as Emoji 15.1. As mentioned by Jennifer Daniel, the Chairperson of the Emoji Subcommittee, in her newsletter Did someone say emoji?, all of the updated emojis in Emoji 15.1 will be ZWJ sequences created by existing emojis. (Recommended reading: What are ZWJ sequences?

There are three noteworthy highlights of this update: 1⃣ The addition of six new emojis 2⃣ The directional changes of some emojis 3⃣ The changes of family-related emojis.

Six New Emojis

First, let's take a look at the six new faces in Emoji 15.1. From left to right, they are: Lime, Brown Mushroom, Broken Chain, Head Shaking Vertically, Head Shaking Horizontally, Phoenix Bird.

🔺:Sample design provided by Jennifer Daniel

The picture above is a sample design provided by Jennifer. Their appearance may be subject to further modifications before the final release, but it will not be significantly different from what is shown now.

As we mentioned earlier, these six emojis will be ZWJ sequences formed by existing emojis:

  • Lime=🍋+🟩
  • Brown Mushroom=🍄+🟫
  • Broken Chain=🔗+💥
  • Head Shaking Vertically=🙂+↕️
  • Head Shaking Horizontally=🙂+↔️
  • Phoenix Bird=🐦️+🔥

The directional changes of some emojis

In the many years of development of emojis, the Unicode Consortium has been continuously improving them to better meet user needs, such as adding skin tone, hair color🦰 and gender♂️♀️ options to emojis. This year, the Unicode Consortium is going to add another useful feature to emojis: changing the direction of an emoji↔.

🔺:Most of the characters, animals, vehicles emojis are facing right

As shown in the above image, emojis that are not facing directly forward have typically been oriented to the right. However, with the update to Emoji 15.1, users will be able to choose whether an emoji faces left or right.

This feature opens up new possibilities♾️ for the meaning and usage of emojis, particularly in creating emoji combinations. For example, by combining an emoji of a person running to the left and an emoji of a person running to the right, an emoji combination meaning "meeting" could be created.

This is just a simple example. When Emoji15.1 is officially released, I believe the wisdom and creativity of users will dig the fun of this feature to the extreme🤹‍.

In fact, there has long been high demand among the public for the feature to change the color of emojis. On social media, it is common to see many users asking for white cat emoji, green grape emoji, black rose emoji, etc. Since changing the direction of emojis is about to become a reality, does it mean that it is not impossible to change the color of emoji in the future? I hope this day will come soon! (Unicode Consortium, please🗣!)

The changes of family-related emojis

Jennifer also mentioned about the changes in family-related emojis:

Thanks to the efforts of the Unicode Consortium over the years, the current family-related emojis look quite comprehensive. They consider various family situations such as single-parent families, two-parent families, one-child families, multiple children families, and even same-gendered parents families.

🔺:There are currently 26 emojis for "Family"

However, since the boundaries of the family concept are not so clear, there are still many forms of families that these emojis cannot cover, such as multi-generational families👵👩👧, families with pets👨👩🐕, and multi-racial families👨🏾👩🏼, etc.

Therefore, the Emoji Subcommittee has decided to redesign family-related emojis and introduce four sequences in Emoji 15.1:

  • 🧑‍🧑‍🧒‍🧒Family: Adult, Adult, Child, Child
  • 🧑‍🧒‍🧒Family: Adult, Child, Child
  • 🧑‍🧑‍🧒Family: Adult, Adult, Child
  • 🧑‍🧒Family: Adult, Child

These four sequences are non-gender-specifying family emojis, so their application will be more versatile and will be able to meet the needs of more users and bring them more personalized experiences.

When can we use Emoji15.1?

Finally, let's talk about the question you all care about the most: When can we use Emoji15.1❓

First of all, it can be confirmed that it will be a long time before we see Emoji 15.1, because currently most platforms still cannot support Emoji 15.0🫢. Apple just released the official version of iOS 16.4 on March 28th, providing support for Emoji 15.0. Apart from Apple, only Google, Samsung, and Facebook have also provided the support for Emoji 15.0.

🔺:Apple's Emoji15.0 design

According to the situation in previous years, the release of new emoji version and its update on devices usually have a gap of about half year. Therefore, it is expected that after the release of Emoji 15.1 in September this year, major emoji vendors will gradually provide support for it in the spring of 2024.


Through this update, we can see that the Unicode Consortium has a comprehensive consideration for the future development of emoji and has been working hard to solve various problems in the use and innovation of emoji. Although Emoji 15.1 will not include too many new emojis, it will have a significant impact on improving user experience. Let's look forward🔭 to a more advanced future of emojis!

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