A “Panic” Emoji Is Coming to Smartphones—Along with These Other Keyboard Icons

High-fives all around! We’re about to get a slew of fun new emojis to craft the perfect texts.

Not sure how to convey a specific emotion? Want to make your messages more fun and colorful? Enjoy making puns and sharing inside jokes with friends? The answer: emojis! And we have great news. Soon, we’ll have 31 new emojis—including several new hearts, a moose and, yep, a panic emoji—to play with and use in texting abbreviations and emoji riddles.

The history of emojis is relatively short. They were invented in 1997 but didn’t become widely used until around 2010, and now, of course, they’re incredibly popular. Ninety-two percent of people say they use emojis in texts on a regular basis, while more than half of Instagram comments and one in five tweets contain at least one emoji, according to a survey conducted by Emojipedia.

There’s a good reason why people love emojis: These little pictures are a perfect communication shortcut. Emojis allow you to be more specific and express a broader range of emotion in a digital communication that inherently lacks emotional context, says Gianna Biscontini, a board-certified behavior scientist who specializes in communication. Basically, this is the new way of “reading someone’s face,” she adds.

And with 3,363 emoji options currently at your fingertips, there are plenty of ways to get your point across. But just in case you still can’t find the right emoji meaning, the new Emoji 15.0 release will help you craft the perfect text. We’ve got the scoop on the new designs—and when to expect them.

What are the new emojis for 2023?

Emoji 15 Visual Layout of new emojis for 2023via emojipedia.org

The past couple of years have been high in anxiety for many people, so perhaps the most anticipated of the new emojis is the shaking face or panic emoji. This is the only additional “face” emoji on the proposed list. We’re also finally getting a Wi-Fi emoji!

Here are some other new emojis we’re looking forward to, along with ideas from Biscontini on what they mean and when to share them:

New hearts

Heart emoji meanings can get complicated. Yet with as many heart options as there are, how has a plain pink one never existed before? Problem solved.

  • Pink heart: The perfect emoji to tell someone I “friend-love” you.
  • Gray heart: You’re not quite dead inside … yet.
  • Light blue heart

New hand icons

  • Two pushing hands: This one means “Heck, yes!” Now you can give a proper text high-five to someone. The hands “push” in both directions and come in six different skin colors.

New animals

  • Moose
  • Blackbird
  • Donkey: We’re calling it—get ready for the punny insults!
  • Goose: So silly!
  • Jellyfish: Perhaps a way to tell someone to grow a spine?
  • A single white wing: Why just one? It’s a mystery.

New plants

  • Ginger
  • Peas: Two (or four!) peas in a pod!
  • Hyacinth

Other new symbols

  • Hair pick
  • Maracas: A whole new way to say “Let’s party!”
  • Folding hand fan: Appropriate as climate change continues to cause record-high temps.
  • Flute
  • Khanda: A symbol of the Sikh faith.

When will Emoji 15.0 be released?

Right now, the new emojis are only proposed and still need to be approved by the Unicode Consortium when they meet in September 2022. The Unicode Consortium, by the way, is a nonprofit organization that ensures that all types of keyboard setups, including those in other languages, work with computers and phones, and it makes the final decision and approves the designs of any new emojis.

Once the Consortium members review the proposed emojis, they may also change the design a bit; the current pictures are just proposals. But most proposed emojis get approved, so look for this new crop to be released starting in the fall, possibly as early as September. The rollout will continue through the end of 2022 and into early 2023. Here are more emoji hacks for other ways to get your point across.

How do you get the new emojis?

If you have your Apple or Android device set to update automatically, you don’t need to do anything. The new emojis will be added to your keyboard with the next system update. If that doesn’t happen, you can always manually update your system by going to your device’s settings. In Settings, check to make sure your operating system, languages and keyboard are all up to date, and install the update if needed. Check out these iPhone hacks for more pro tips.

How are emojis chosen?

Emojis can be suggested by anyone by submitting a written proposal to the Unicode Consortium. The Consortium has a committee dedicated to making sure the emoji list stays current and relevant by adding and deleting emojis each year. This is incredibly important, as emojis go through cultural changes, often acquiring new and sometimes unintended meanings, says Biscontini. After all, only 7% of people texting the peach emoji are using it to talk about fruit!

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Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.