Apple to update mask emoji with happy face

Millions of people use emojis every day to express themselves and add a visual component to typed messages.

From favorite foods and furry friends, to flags, astrological signs, professions and a myriad of activities, there are dozens of icons to be used for various meanings and situations.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, one emoji has seen a significant uptick in use: the masked emoji.

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What was once used to suggest illness or an unpleasant smell is now being used to reference any activities engaged in during the pandemic, including grocery shopping and meeting up with friends.

To reflect the new associations with mask wearing, Apple will update its mask-wearing emoji to appear happier. Instead of downturned, “forlorn” eyes, the new icon will show one of Apple’s smiling emoji’s with a mask superimposed, according to Emojipedia.

The new icon is set to debut in the iOS 14.2 update, which doesn’t yet have a release date.

“If mask-wearing is to become normalized and encouraged for people regardless of symptoms, then symbolism around mask-wearing shouldn’t imply that by wearing a mask you must be sick,” Emojipedia wrote in a blog post.

Mobile users who do not have the latest update installed will still see the original, frowning masked emoji, whether they send or receive messages with the icon or when using platforms other than iMessage.

Apple first introduced the mask emoji in 2008. Samsung first introduced it in 2012 and updated it’s mask-emoji to look more joyful back in March.

More than 60 new emojis are set to be released when Apple rolls out its new update. Among the new emojis are an olive, a bison, a roller skate and a boomerang. More inclusive icons include show a man bottle-feeding a baby, a woman in a tuxedo and the transgender pride flag.

Read more at Emojipedia.