Emojis have become an essential part of digital communication, allowing us to express a wide range of emotions and concepts without using words. With every iOS update, iPhone users anticipate the addition of new and exciting emojis that can freshen up messaging and social media. iOS 16.6 was recently released, bringing the usual bug fixes and performance improvements. But did it also introduce any new emojis? Let’s take a look at what’s new on the emoji front in iOS 16.6 and recent iOS updates.
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The Basics: What are Emojis?
For those unfamiliar, emojis are the small digital images or icons used to express ideas and emotions in electronic communications. The word emoji comes from the Japanese language, combining the words for ‘picture’ (e) and ‘character’ (moji).
Emojis can represent facial expressions, common objects, places, foods, animals, activities, and more. They are used inline with text to add color, emotion, and context. Since originating in Japan in the late 1990s, emojis have become popular worldwide thanks to their inclusion in mobile phones, apps, operating systems, and social media platforms.
Emojis help add tone and personality to digital text conversations. They can break language barriers and transcend cultures. They also add efficiency – allowing complex feelings, objects or concepts to be conveyed with a single character instead of lengthy descriptions. For many, emojis have become an indispensable part of communication in the digital era.
New Emojis in Recent iOS Releases
Before looking specifically at iOS 16.6, let’s quickly recap some of the more notable emoji additions in recent iOS updates:
- iOS 16.4 – This update released in March 2022 introduced 21 new emojis: new facial expressions like melting face and saluting face, new hand gestures including hand shaking, and new animals like donkey, moose and goose. Food additions included beans, pouring liquid, and a pink heart-shaped box.
- iOS 16.4.1 – This minor update focused on bug fixes and security improvements, but also addressed an issue where the new pushing hands emoji failed to display different skin tone options properly.
- iOS 16.5 – No new emojis were included in this minor update released in June 2022.
- iOS 16.1 – This update brought the ability to delete and edit messages in iMessage, but did not add any new emojis.
So while the last major infusion of new emojis came with iOS 16.4, most subsequent updates until now focused on technical improvements rather than new emoji content.
iOS 16.6 Memoji Stickers
When iOS 16.6 was unveiled in October 2022, some sources reported that it contained new emojis. In fact, the only new emojis introduced were 6 new Memoji stickers usable in iMessage and FaceTime.
Memoji are personalized emojis that iPhone users can create to look like themselves. iOS 16.6 added new Memoji sticker options to choose from, but no new standard emojis.
The new Memoji stickers aim to expand the range of expressions possible with personalized emojis:
- Fist bump – Holding up a fist to bump with someone
- Heart hands – Both hands formed into heart shapes
- Lightbulb moment – A lightbulb appearing above the Memoji’s head
- Mind blown – Memoji looking shocked with exploding mind
- Sigh of relief – Memoji breathing a sigh of relief
- Pure joy – Memoji jumping up and down with mouth open happily
So users now have more ways to react and express themselves with their unique Memoji characters. But iOS 16.6 did not actually add any regular new emojis to the keyboard.
The Latest iOS 16.6 Details
iOS 16.6 was released on October 24, 2022 as a regular operating system update for iPhone models going back to the iPhone 8.
The update focused mainly on bug fixes and security improvements, such as:
- Fixes for display and battery charging issues on iPhone 14 Pro models
- Optimizations to decrease background activity to improve battery life
- Fixes for Siri requests failing unexpectedly
- Patches for security vulnerabilities in WebKit and other areas
Besides the new Memoji stickers mentioned above, iOS 16.6 contained no other major front-facing changes or new features.
Under the hood, iOS 16.6 lays groundwork for upgrading U.S. iPhones to Emergency SOS via satellite later this year. But otherwise, it’s a relatively minor update to the iOS 16 cycle.
In the emoji department, multiple sources confirmed iOS 16.6 did not actually introduce any new standard emojis. The Memoji stickers do provide some additional expressive tools, but no additions were made to the main emoji keyboard.
The Wait Continues for New Emojis
With iOS 16.6 turning out to not include new emojis beyond the Memoji stickers, the wait continues for more expansions to the emoji catalog.
The last major emoji update for iOS was back in March 2022 with iOS 16.4. The Unicode Consortium – which approves new emojis across platforms – is only planning one emoji release for 2022.
This means new emojis likely won’t arrive now until iOS 17 later in 2023. Possible candidates under consideration for next year include:
- New hand gestures – such as index finger raised, open palm raised
- Additional household items – like a mug and jar
- More animals and foods – such as a goose, moose, donkey, beans, pouring liquid
- New facial expressions – including melting face, pale face
- Other digital communication icons – like wifi, charging battery
So while iOS 16.6 didn’t move the needle for emoji fans, there’s still hope for more expressive icons coming in 2023. For now, enjoy spicing up chats with the latest Memoji stickers and stay tuned for more emojis coming in a future iOS update.
Summary of Emoji Changes in Recent iOS Releases
|iOS Version||Year||New Emojis||Notes|
|iOS 16.4||2022||21 new emojis||New hand gestures, animals, foods, faces|
|iOS 16.4.1||2022||None||Fixed skin tone issue with new pushing hands emoji|
|iOS 16.5||2022||None||Minor update focused on bug fixes|
|iOS 16.6||2022||6 new Memoji stickers||No new standard emoji additions|
Emojis play a valuable role in digital communication, bringing personality, tone, and fun to conversations. iOS updates often introduce exciting new emojis that iPhone users eagerly adopt. While iOS 16.6 did not expand the emoji lineup beyond some expressive Memoji stickers, the Unicode Consortium is working on new emoji candidates for 2023. Look for new emojis to likely arrive in iOS 17 later next year.
Meanwhile, take advantage of iOS 16’s editing tools to customize your Memoji with the latest sticker poses. The fist bump, lightbulb moment, and other new stickers can add flair to your personalized emoji messages. Although our emoji wait continues, at least we have creative ways to enhance chats with Memoji alternate expressions. Stay tuned for new emojis coming to iOS down the road!