- Apple is changing its syringe emoji with the iOS 14.5 update.
- The old emoji contained blood, while the new one won’t.
- The change makes the emoji more appropriate for talking about COVID-19 vaccines.
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Apple is adapting one of its emojis to better suit the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
Emoji archive site Emojipedia on Wednesday spotted that Apple had altered its “syringe” emoji as part of the rollout of the iOS 14.5 update. Previously the syringe had always contained blood – now it is clear.
Jeremy Burge, chief emoji officer at Emojipedia, told Insider the design change was to better suit the reality of COVID-19 vaccines.
“Anything to encourage uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine is a positive step. While an emoji change might seem minor, if it dispels any notions that vaccination involves the drawing of blood then it just might help,” Burge said.
Insider has contacted Apple for comment, but the company declined to provide more detail on the change to CNN.
Emojipedia has observed an uptick in usage of the syringe emoji on Twitter. Before 2020 the emoji was often used in conversations about blood donation, drug administration, and even getting tattoos, but over the course of 2020 it became commonly used in discussions about COVID-19 vaccines.
“I was so happy when my grandparents were vaccinated last month, and I love seeing everyone post when their relatives are too. Hopefully a blood-less syringe makes that a little more appealing!” Burge said.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has quietly amended an emoji. In 2018 it changed its bagel emoji to include cream cheese following an outcry from New Yorkers.