Skip to main content

Emoji 13.0 adds polar bears, pickup trucks, bubble tea, and gender-neutral Santa

Polar bears, pick-up trucks, bubble tea, and a gender-neutral Santa will soon be a quick tap away, thanks to Emoji 13.0. On Wednesday, January 29, Unicode released a list of 62 emoji releasing in 2020, with emphasis on gender-neutral figures, animals iconic for conservation efforts, cultural trends, household objects, and expanding skin tone variants.

After 2019 brought a gender-neutral option to most of the people emoji, Emoji 13.0 takes that even further, filling in the gaps with a gender-neutral Santa, or Mx. Claus, as well as a gender-neutral bride and groom. The transgender flag and transgender symbol are also among the list. The new emoji “woman feeding baby” and “man feeding baby” are also joined by a “person feeding baby.”

Unicode says the new list includes 55 gender and skin tone variants, which, with the 62 new emoji, brings the total to 117. Late last year, 168 gender-neutral emoji were added as part of Emoji 12.1 — an update that was originally not supposed to arrive until 2020, but rolled out early when Apple and Google rolled out gender-neutral variants to the keyboard. As emoji increasingly become part of the online lexicon, advocacy groups have pushed for representation for minorities. Besides giving nonbinary users a more accurate emoji version of themselves, gender-neutral emoji, in some cases, display on the keyboard before the user selects from one of the options.

A polar bear and seal also made the cut to be part of the emoji keyboard, Arctic animals that may be more commonly used in conversation as concern for global warming grows. A black cat, bison, and beaver are also on the list, but so are the dodo bird and wooly mammoth, both of which may also show up as a suggestion when typing the word “extinct.” Unicode also added a beetle, cockroach, fly, and worm.

Current trends have influenced a number of new emoji, such as bubble tea, and the party snack currently seeing a resurgence, fondue. Others are cultural icons much older than the internet itself, like the piñata, tamale, nesting dolls, accordion, and the long drum.

A handful of others are characters that feel like they should have become an emoji years ago — like a pick-up truck, a flip-flop, a ninja, and a rock. The items lying around your house are also more likely to be in emoji form, including a mousetrap, plunger, screwdriver, and house plant. A smiley face with a tear, a disguised face, gravestone, roller skate, magic wand, and military helmet also made the cut.

The Unicode Consortium has finalized the set of standards for the new emoji, but the emoji have yet to migrate to devices. While Unicode develops the standard, the companies behind the different operating systems and web platforms have yet to incorporate the figures into keyboards, often with a design that differs between operating systems. Smartphones often don’t integrate the new emoji until early fall.

Anyone can pitch a new emoji to the Unicode Consortium — but besides a lot of paperwork and a bit of design, the process takes patience. The process of submitting an emoji often takes a year or more.

Hillary K. Grigonis
Hillary never planned on becoming a photographer—and then she was handed a camera at her first writing job and she's been…
Twitter gives blue check mark to dead folks
Twitter logo in white stacked on top of a blue stylized background with the Twitter logo repeating in shades of blue.

The continuing saga of Twitter and its blue check mark has taken a bizarre twist as it seems that a number of deal celebrities are now paying for Twitter Blue.

On the orders of new owner Elon Musk, Twitter last week started removing blue check marks from accounts that have not signed up for Twitter Blue, its premium tier.

Read more
These are the 10 most-viewed YouTube videos of all time
The red and white YouTube logo on a phone screen. The phone is on a white background.

Being popular is about the only thing the current most-viewed YouTube videos have in common with their top-performing predecessors. Even though YouTube videos like Chocolate Rain went viral during the first few years of YouTube's content, they probably wouldn't be among the kinds of videos that go viral on the platform now.

In fact, children's programming and music videos are now among the most-viewed content on YouTube. Music videos, in particular, have enjoyed great success on the streaming site and, until recently, had been the majority of the most-viewed videos in YouTube's history. Music videos still account for 40% of the top 10 most-viewed videos, however. The other 60% is content for young children. If these view counts are anything to go by, the video-sharing site could be considered a leading platform for music videos and kid-friendly content, rather than just the memeworthy viral videos the site was known for in its early days.
What is the most-viewed YouTube video of all time?
Baby Shark Dance is the most-viewed video ever on YouTube. The children's song overtook the all-Spanish version of Despacito in November 2020.
What are the top 10 most-viewed YouTube videos?

Read more
Elon Musk says he’s appointed a new Twitter CEO
A digital image of Elon Musk in front of a stylized background with the Twitter logo repeating.

Twitter owner Elon Musk has found someone to replace him as the company’s CEO, but he hasn't revealed who it is.

Musk tweeted on Thursday that the new CEO will step into the role at some point over the next six weeks.

Read more