OS X 10.10.3 Puts More Focus on Emoji, Lays Groundwork for Skin Tone Modifiers

While the featured addition in yesterday's OS X 10.10.3 developer seed was the new Photos app, Apple is addressing other issues with the forthcoming update, and one of these focus areas is emoji, which is seeing several changes and improvements.

One immediately evident change is the menu option used to bring up the character palette where emoji and other symbols can be browsed and selected. The Character palette a is systemwide option generally accessed through the "Edit" menu in most Mac apps. On OS X 10.10.2 and earlier, the menu item is called "Special Characters," while on OS X 10.10.3, it is labeled "Emoji & Symbols". The change offers a clearer description of what can be accessed through the menu item while specifically giving a strong visibility boost to emoji.

Another significant change for emoji in OS X 10.10.3 is the apparent laying of groundwork to support skin tone modifiers proposed for the Unicode 8.0 standard. Apple noted almost a year ago that it was working with the Unicode Consortium to bring more diversity to emoji, and the proposed skin tone modifiers are a significant step in that direction. OS X 10.10.3 also appears to include a number of placeholders for new emoji in the character palette, but no images or descriptions have yet been added for these entries.

emoji_placeholders

Character palette showing placeholders for new emoji and an arrow on the "Man" emoji to provide access to skin tone options

The skin tone modifier proposal would apply to certain skin-colored emoji, allowing users to select from a range of skin tones to best represent the message they wish to send via emoji. As can be seen in OS X 10.10.3, many of these skin-colored emoji now display an arrow that when clicked brings up a menu of options.

emoji_skin_tone_man

Apparent incomplete implementation of skin tone modifier options for the "Man" emoji

While the menu is currently non-functional, it does show the selected emoji followed by five instances of the emoji paired with a number one inside a black box. These are presumably incomplete implementations of skin tone modifiers, waiting for the Unicode Consortium to finalize its standards for Unicode 8.0. Just yesterday, the Unicode Technical Committee officially moved the technical report covering skin tone modifiers and other emoji changes for Unicode 8.0 to draft status, and Unicode 8.0 itself has been approved for beta release.

In one other change for emoji in OS X 10.10.3, the pop-up emoji picker available in many apps has been transitioned from a paginated layout to a single larger vertical-scrolling page. Under OS X 10.10.2 and earlier, the various emoji categories are contained on separate pages within the picker, with users needing to click on a toolbar along the bottom to change pages.

emoji_pickers

Emoji picker in OS X 10.10.2 (left) with paginated categories vs. OS X 10.10.3 (right) with single scrollable page and category jumps

In OS X 10.10.3, all emoji are displayed on a single page, and while they are still organized by category and users can still click toolbar buttons to quickly jump between categories, users can now also simply scroll the entire list if they wish.

All of these changes come as emoji have exploded in popularity, spreading beyond their origin in Japan to be embraced worldwide as a quick, fun, and easy way to share a variety of emotions and thoughts, most commonly within messaging apps. As a result, Apple has been working to increase support for emoji across iOS and OS X, and this first OS X 10.10.3 developer build is a clear sign of that continued interest.

(Thanks, Sachin!)

Top Rated Comments

Traverse Avatar
79 months ago
Really? Above all else, this takes precedence? I didn't even think emoji were supposed to look like real people, hints the unrealistic yellow skin and missing nose.
Score: 78 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SmileyBlast! Avatar
79 months ago
Why? :apple: Why?
Score: 62 Votes (Like | Disagree)
weckart Avatar
79 months ago
At last. Something for the professionals. This makes up for Final Cut X.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ButteryScrollin Avatar
79 months ago
Great to see Apple putting effort into emoji and not fixing the opendirectoryd bug...
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cunninglinguist Avatar
79 months ago
Glad to see Apple putting time and effort into the truly important features of an operating system. :rolleyes:

Seriously folks, if you were on the fence about switching to a different OS because of Apple's long string of debacles over the past few years, this should be your "table flip, exit stage left" moment.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rkilcoyne Avatar
79 months ago
REALLY‽ How about Vid Driver issues‽

How about video driver issues on retina macbook pros? I've had more lockups since Fall than I've had in the previous 10 years! And while they're at it, instead of screwing around with goofy emojis, how about fixing the absolutely horrendous calculator app‽ It's really an embarrassment -- the window controls don't even line up and C/AC don't work right!
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
mac security privacy

Apple Takes Step to Prevent Further Spread of 'Silver Sparrow' Malware on Macs

Monday February 22, 2021 6:13 am PST by
Over the weekend, we reported on the second known piece of malware compiled to run natively on M1 Macs. Given the name "Silver Sparrow," the malicious package is said to leverage the macOS Installer JavaScript API to execute suspicious commands. After observing the malware for over a week, however, security firm Red Canary did not observe any final payload, so the exact threat to users remains a...
jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
whatsapp privacy banner

WhatsApp Reveals What Happens to Users Who Don't Agree to Upcoming Privacy Policy Changes

Sunday February 21, 2021 1:11 am PST by
WhatsApp has revealed how it will gradually limit the features available to accounts held by users who do not accept the platform's impending privacy policy changes, due to come into effect on May 15. WhatsApp's new banner explaining the privacy policy changes According to an email seen by TechCrunch to one of its merchant partners, WhatsApp said it will "slowly ask" users who have not yet...
new airpods leaked image 52audios

Alleged Leaked Image Claims to Show Third-Generation AirPods and Case

Sunday February 21, 2021 2:49 am PST by
A new image claims to offer our first real world look at Apple's next-generation AirPods. The image, shared by 52audio, showcases both AirPods and the charging case for what the site claims to be the third iteration of the wireless earbuds. 52audio has in the past shared images claiming to showcase different parts of the third-generation AirPods. Most notably, the site in November shared...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...
iPad Pro Mini LED

New iPad Pro and MacBook Models With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Taiwanese company Ennostar will begin production of Mini-LED backlight units for an upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the late first quarter or second quarter of this year, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. Ennostar is a holding company that was jointly established in January 2021 by LED-related manufacturers Epistar and Lextar Electronics. Apple is expected to unveil the new ...
14

iOS 14.5 to Make Zero-Click Attacks 'Significantly Harder'

Monday February 22, 2021 9:05 am PST by
Apple's impending iOS and iPadOS 14.5 update will make zero-click attacks considerably more difficult by extending PAC security provisions, according to Motherboard. Apple has made a change to the way in which it secures its code in the latest betas of iOS 14.5 and iPadOS 14.5 to make zero-click attacks much harder. The change, spotted by security researchers, has now been confirmed by...