Frequent emoji-users will be thrilled to learn that a further 117 emoji were announced in January 2020, to be rolled out on iOS and other operating systems in the latter half of the year. However, new emoji aren’t suggested on a whim; it’s a lesser-known fact that they’re vetted and approved by the Unicode Consortium – a non-profit organisation dedicated to maintaining the world standard of text and emoji.

The 117 new characters you’ll be able to use in your messages include everything from new hand gestures to animals, food, tools and gender-neutral alternatives to existing emoji. Explore some of our favourite new additions below.

New Inclusive Characters

One of the most significant updates for the selection of emoji available to users this year is the more inclusive range of people available. The Unicode Consortium takes steps every year to make the emoji on offer as representative as possible, and the 2020 release is no exception.


Amongst the 117 new characters, you’ll find gender-neutral versions of Santa Claus, the bride and groom, and other emoji that are listed without specific pronouns, like ‘person feeding baby’ or ‘person in tuxedo’. The list of new symbols also includes the flag for trans pride.

New Animals

Animal emoji are a popular choice on iOS, and there’ll be a whole host of new furry friends included in the 2020 update. You’ll be able to enjoy a polar bear face and a seal, as well as a beaver, bison and a black cat; there are even several extinct options to play with – like a dodo and a woolly mammoth.


There are one or two new insects in the line-up as well; joining the ranks of the mosquito and the ladybird are the cockroach, fly, beetle and worm.

New in Food

Being some of the most widely-used symbols in the collection, food emojis are always a big hit. From pizza and sushi to French fries and avocados, there are already some great food characters available on iOS, but 2020 will see the arrival of several more.


The Unicode Consortium will be introducing emoji for some of your favourite snacks, like tamale, fondue and flatbread; there’ll also be some new fresh food, with emoji for bell peppers, blueberries and olives. Finally, there are two new beverage emoji to choose from – a bubble tea and a teapot – so inviting a friend over for a cup of tea just got more colourful.

Toys, Tools & More

Alongside the additional people and food emoji, there are plenty of other fun characters to explore. New toys range from roller skates to a magic wand, piñata and nesting dolls, and there are a couple of musical instruments like the long drum and the accordion too. You’ll also be able to add a few new tools to your box, with the addition of a carpentry saw and screwdriver. The Unicode Consortium usually decides on a few miscellaneous emoji to add into the mix, and for 2020 you can expect to see an assortment of household objects like a toothbrush, window, mousetrap, plunger and more.


If you love the look of the new emoji update, you’ll be able to access all these and more on your iPhone as they’re released throughout 2020. Looking into an upgrade? Browse great contract and SIM-free deals on the latest handsets from Apple, here at