Apple Makes Bold Political Statements with iOS 10 Emojis

Apple has had a rather fearless year. First, it refused to cooperate with the United States FBI over allowing backdoor access into users’ iPhones. Then, in nothing short of a bold political statement, refused to donate to the Republican National Convention over presidential nominee Donald Trump’s controversial comments. Now, make no mistake that as playful as emojis are, the new ones in iOS 10 hold significant meaning.

Shutterstock 441242845
In the order for new emojis, diversity was absolutely on the menu | Shutterstock

iOS 10 adds more than 100 new emojis to the mix, but the more notable ones are very symbolic statements on Apple’s social and political views.

Women and Diversity

The big theme to several of the new emojis is the complete dismantling of gender roles and stereotypes. In addition to an extension of emojis with skin tone variations, women are seeing more equal representation in a number of ways. Emojis now include more female athletes for activities like running, biking, swimming and weight lifting.

Apple Emoji Body Builder
Apple Emoji Mountain Biker

Plus, women are taking on new jobs in the emoji world: forensics and construction — two positions that are traditionally tied to male figures.

Apple Emoji Sleuth
Apple Emoji Worker

Aside from the added female representation, single parent families are getting some love too. Apple added new emojis alongside the group of family-oriented characters that include a single mother with her son and a single father with two children.

The new emojis completely dismantle gender roles and stereotypes.

Apple Emoji Single Family Dad
Apple Emoji Single Family Mom

Apple has always been pretty transparent on its stance for diversity, regularly issuing diversity reports and including accessible statistics on its website. The headline on its Inclusion & Diversity page reads “The most innovative company must also be the most diverse.” That’s now clearly reflected in the latest update to emojis.


Apple began the inclusion of LGBT emojis last year when it added gay and lesbian couples and families. This year, it appears the company is sealing the deal with the addition of the rainbow pride flag emoji. It’s safe to say this marks official public support of the LGBT community — at least through emojis.

Apple Emoji Rainbow Flag

Back in 2013, CEO Tim Cook made a bold public statement calling on the United States Congress to ban workplace discrimination. This came after controversy began swirling around whether business owners have the right to fire workers solely for being gay or transgender.

“We’ve found that when people feel valued for who they are, they have the comfort and confidence to do the best work of their lives,” Cook wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

Gun Control

Apple made a conscious decision to replace the gun entirely.

While statements on diversity and LGBT rights can be interpreted as political, it’s impossible to interpret one final move from Apple as anything but. iOS 10 replaces the popular gun emoji with a water pistol.

Apple Ios10 Emoji Waterpistol

You might think this could just be a playful addition, but Apple made a conscious decision to replace the gun entirely. Apple could have worked with the Unicode Consortium to simply create a new emoji for a water pistol and throw that in alongside the gun, but nope. Instead, the weapon that has some people up in arms — pun intended — is nowhere to be found in iOS 10.

Daring Fireball’s John Gruber writes very plainly: “Hiding the pistol from the emoji keyboard is timid. Changing it to a toy is a statement, indicating that Apple wants no part of the gun culture here in the U.S.”

Apple slyly referred to the change as a “beautiful redesign” to a popular emoji, in line with the redesign of many other emojis in iOS 10. The smileys among some other characters have gotten slight facelifts in that they’re flatter, less glossy and more in tune with the design philosophy of iOS.

ALSO SEE: How to Set Up and Control Your Smart Home Scenes in iOS 10

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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