Emoji Release Timeline

A look at the historical release dates of Unicode and all major emoji vendors.

Within the emoji world, little is more exciting than release day. It is a day that takes months of planning, hard work, and even guesswork, with preliminary designs often being worked on before Unicode has officially announced which candidates have made the final cut. JoyPixels is consistently among the first vendors to release new emoji. As a small organization, the in-house design team prides itself on a competitive release schedule that even many of the largest emoji vendors can’t rival.

Emoji 11.0

Emoji 11.0 was released in June of 2018 (the first release of Unicode's new naming convention that aligned Emoji version numbers with their respective Unicode versions). Twitter managed to release their update that same month, with JoyPixels 4.5, Samsung, and Google following shortly thereafter. The other major vendors followed suit in the fall.

Unicode 11.0 Timeline

Emoji 12.0

Emoji 12.0 was a large release first announced by Unicode in February of 2019. This was the accessibility update that was two years in the making, with 230 new designs. JoyPixels followed close on the heels of Twitter and Microsoft, releasing JoyPixels 5.0 that June. Apple supported the release in October and WhatsApp was the final major vendor to support it in December 2019.

Emoji 12.0 Timeline

Emoji 12.1

Emoji 12.1 was announced by Unicode in October of 2019. The release included gender neutral and hand-holding sequences that were originally slated for Emoji 13.0. Several emoji vendors were not satisfied with that timeline and the proposal to accelerate the release of these emoji was accepted. JoyPixels was pleased to launch JoyPixels 5.5 just three months later.

Emoji 12.1 Timeline

Emoji 13.0

In January 2020, Unicode approved Emoji 13.0 for release, with 117 new emoji. Despite the world turning upside down, Twitter managed a May release and JoyPixels quickly followed with JoyPixels 6.0 in June. Most other vendors launched their new designs that summer and fall, though Microsoft and Facebook have yet to make theirs fully available to the public.

Emoji 13.0 Timeline

Emoji 13.1

Emoji 13.1 was announced in September 2020. After a roller coaster year of delays and uncertainty about the timeline of future releases, emoji fans and vendors alike were excited that a new release would still be possible. JoyPixels and Google were the very first to launch their new sets in early winter of 2021. At the time of this writing (April, 2021), these are the only vendors with the new emoji currently available.

Emoji 13.1 Timeline

Emoji 14.0 & Beyond

Unicode is expected to release Emoji 14.0 in the fall of 2021 (this release was postponed six months due to COVID-related delays), and JoyPixels will be ready for an early 2022 launch of JoyPixels 7.0 when they do.  This update will consist of all of the newest emoji (including possibilities such as a Ring Buoy, Face Holding Back Tears, Heart Hands, and more) as well as updates to existing emoji, with special attention being paid to Smileys and People. The JoyPixels design team is already hard at work in development, preparing to continue the legacy of putting the latest emoji designs into the hands of licensees as early as possible.

Sarah Neufeld

Sarah Neufeld

Sarah Neufeld heads up the blog, social media, and marketing for JoyPixels.
Colorado USA