When millions are vaccinated, Apple makes a design change to the emoji syringe, exchanging an image with blood droplets at the end of the emoji’s needle for one that looks more like a vaccine.
The redesigned emoji is only available to members of the company’s beta program, but will be publicly available with iOS 14.5. While new emojis are harder to approve, changing the design of the emoji can yield a similar result on a faster timeline, according to Keith Broni, vice president of emoji at Emojipedia, a service that archives design and usage trends for emojis.
“When you give someone a communication tool, they will use it at will,” Broni said. “We’ve seen many different emojis get many different connotations.”
Mr. Broni said he had begun to notice an increase in the use of emoji late last year, and saw that the conversations people had on Twitter while using it had revolved around talking about coronavirus vaccines.
Mr Broni said he expected the change from Apple to be permanent and that other technology companies would likely follow suit. He said that the emojis that look like a vaccine injection could be used more easily, and that removing the blood would make the emoji more flexible and less scary.