The sad news for emoji addicts is that the pandemic has affected the release of the Unicode 14.0 update that was supposed to be released next year. The good news is that we’re still getting a “minor update” next year which will see 217 new emojis come to our devices and apps. However, most of these will just be mixed skin tone options for couples and not really new glyphs. Still having a few new emojis to message our friends in a time when sometimes messaging is all we have is still something.

The release will be called Emoji 13.1 and is expected to be released sometime next year. It will not be as big as a major release as the Emoji 14.0 will come much later in 2022. It will also see a varied vendor release window as web apps may actually see it in the next few weeks or months but OS updates will come later in January 2021 onwards. It may even be as late as October 2021 so here’s hoping your OEM will be faster.

As for the non-skin tone options emojis, we’ll get three smileys: face exhaling, face with spiral eyes, and face in clouds. If you’re getting over a broken heart, you’ll soon get to use the mending heart emoji to express yourself. And if you need a heart that’s on fire, then you’ll get a heart on fire emoji once the update rolls out. They’re also adding more to their gender-inclusive emojis by adding new beard options for both men and women.

But 200 out of the 217 new emojis are various skin tone options for the various mix of couple emojis. It may seem silly to some but having these more inclusive emojis are actually important in both representation and also consciously and subconsciously acknowledging differences in ourselves and other people. So the fact that Unicode has been very particular about these things the past years is pretty significant.

All these emoji designs vary by vendor of course, just like previous releases. Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung create their own emoji fonts and graphics, which can sometimes lead to delays in releases. In fact, some people don’t even have Emoji 13 right now, although it’s expected to be released in the next couple of months.