Nothing is immune to the effects of COVID-19. Not even your emoji keyboard.
Apple recently released a first look at the emojis in the next version of Apple iOS, which are always weirdly exciting tech nerds. As part of the update, the now infamous mask-clad emoji has a subtle change in facial expression. Simply put, the face is obviously smiling behind that sterile white medical mask.
The “Medical Masked Face” emoji that was in the emoji library prior to the COVID-19 pandemic had a less enthusiastic expression previously as it was created to symbolize illness. But this year, face masks became a daily necessity for everyone, sick or not ̵
In fact, the popularity of the “face with medical mask” emoji rose dramatically from late February 2020. According to Emojipedia, the use of the emoji for medical mask increased six-fold from January 2020 to March 2020. and decided to make a change.
Instead of the emoji with “sad” eyes pointing downwards, the emoji “face with medical mask” has raised eyebrows and reddened the cheeks. It looks like the smiling face emoji – only with a mask. A GIF composite from Emojipedia shows a direct comparison of the two emojis, which proves that the new version of the mask-wearing face is actually the emoji “Smiling Face”, on which a mask is stuck.
As with every emoji update from Apple, the smiling mask emoji will only appear when users download the latest version of the company’s operating system. Apple’s newest iOS is currently in beta, but the company plans to publicly launch iOS 14.2 later this month. Emojipedia also notes that beta emoji designs are “subject to change” prior to general release.
But let’s face it, this is an update we can all leave behind. Following CDC guidelines and protecting your community is a smile.
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