Apple, Google Adding Disability Emoji
A slew of new icons representing everything from wheelchairs to service animals are coming to smartphones soon.
Apple said it will add 59 emoji including many representing the disability experience to iPhones and other devices as part of a software update this fall.
Google indicated that the new disability-related symbols will be among 65 emoji released later this year with its Android Q operating system.
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The additional icons were released by the Unicode Consortium in February. The organization is responsible for standardizing the emoji that device makers include in their keyboard selections.
Apple proposed the new disability-related icons in 2018 in an effort to “provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities,” the company said at the time.
The icons depict people using manual and power wheelchairs, a service dog, a hearing aid and prosthetics, among other special needs. Some of the emoji have male and female versions and variants for skin tone.
Apple said the adoption of the new icons will “help fill a significant gap in the emoji keyboard.”