Some interesting new regulations are starting to appear surrounding emojis on iOS. Apple is starting to reject apps that use emojis in ways they deem against their rules. Emojipedia, a lifeline for anyone who works in social media from their computer and needs to use emojis for dank memes on their corporate channels, reports that app developers are seeing rejections from Apple for using emoji in their app screenshots, or in their apps themselves that Apple deems unfavorable. One example used is the crying emoji used when users can't connect to Game Center in a game.

Emojis exist in a weird space because technically, they're just a set of unicode characters. Emoji are standardized, so an emoji typed out on Android is theoretically the same as on iPhone, or on a computer. However, the artwork itself is not standardized, which leads to interesting situations like the Google cheeseburger emoji outcry of 2017 (the biggest geopolitical issue of that year) or cases where certain emoji carry different cultural contexts based on tiny details in the artwork.

Apple might not own emoji, but they own their emoji depictions, so in theory they are saying that developers can't use their art all willy-nilly on the platform with reckless abandon. Apple's particular emoji art interpretations play a major role in their marketing, in particular with their Animoji.

However, this also means that Apple is saying that developers can't display a certain type of unicode character in their app because somebody at Apple said so. And as is to be expected with any kind of Apple policy, there appear to be very selective rules about it, as some apps are getting away with using emoji in ways that would otherwise violate the rules. Emojipedia names Snapchat in particular as an offender of these rules. Some apps are getting away with using the Apple emoji set on other platforms, such as Signal using Apple emojis on Android. Slack notably uses the Apple emoji set on the web and Android as well, even replacing the platform's native emoji set.

For example, Dashy Crashy [Free], which used to use the official Apple emoji set as you can see in the original launch trailer, now appears to use a custom emoji set in the most recent version of the game.

I asked Travis Ryan of Dumpling Design, developer of Dashy Crashy and the AR tank battler Smash Tanks [$1.99], about the situation, and apparently this has been brewing for a while now.

Dashy Crashy's prominent use of emoji was an extension of an idea we used for OutRun2, and the solution to us not being able to afford to localise the tons of text we’d written for the game at that time 😅😅 Over time it would become the character of the game, and a useful tool in communicating gameplay goals and performance to players.

However we changed our use of the emoji font last September; for the ’SUPER KART' event during the 'Arcade Season’ of updates, we hit upon the idea to use emoji to drive our Karts:

Honestly, even we felt we might have been pushing it a bit too far 😅. To comply with Apple's trademark and copyright guidelines, we opted to replaced all use of the emoji system front in the game and marketing materials with a third-party emoji font - and had a dumpling drive the karts instead - which is obviously less sleek or familiar to iOS players, but maintains the character of the game 👍

This is what developers that want to use emoji in their games and apps might have to do going forward: utilize custom-built, non-Apple emoji sets, and avoid the use of emoji in certain text forms. Or if you're a dev that's gonna go crazy with emojis, make sure you're just doing it on Android, where the rules are far more lenient. Perhaps emojis in general were a mistake...if The Emoji Movie wasn't a warning sign of that already.

  • boydstr

    Yeah really important a emoji from how a hamburger should look like.

    • Hiraether

      Apple's new policy is Unconstitutional. Banning emojis is serious and this is why a cheeseburger icon can actually matter.

      With millions of people speaking pidgin English and using emojis to work and translate, it's the difference between cheese and no cheese essentially, a graphical mistranslation.
      It would be like if you wanted to write out "cheese burger" and it always autocorrected to "burger." Or "hot dog" was always reduced to a "dog." Far from correct if translating to someone whom English isn't their 1st language. Indeed, some few million now Talk Pidjin. Most of us would not understand that "Magimix belong Jesus" passes for "Helicopter" thanks to missionaries being the usual first tribal welcome to the South East Asian islander nations. In America most don't know Magimix, for that matter. Thank you global corporate enterprise.

      Metaphor and worse Homophones are a serious confusion for other countries utilizing out language. Indeed, most nouns translate to full sentences due to the descriptive natures to Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, etc. and how all the southeast islands are collisions first from Asian sailors, then from 13th century sailing trade. All of the sudden Spanish, English, French (a new lingua franca), Portuguese, Latin, Greek roots that had still been seldom used since Alexander, translated to Sanskrit and 1000s of subsequent languages, revivified for trade.

      The Silk Road used a combination of emojis to communicate for 1000s of years until certain religious factions desiccated the load stones and imagery of each city. So there had affectively been a Muslim dark age / renaissance where numbers and shapes were everything, but imagery forbidden. To this day it is a religious superstition difficult to well in many middle eastern religions, with Buddhism and Hindu akin like polar opposites in the family of theosophists, philosophies, & religions adjusting culture and governance.

      This let only the elite trade. Taxation of all forms was most likely invented in such a manner, making it some sort of continental toll road. The Silk Road was the only route until sailing circumnavigated the caste / clandestine merchant classes, let alone thieves, giving way to a sort of anarchocristic free trade.

      Of course the same history repeated with sailing, as it was privateered trade until all the worlds pirates, and navies got in on the action.

      Flags for the vessels are color shape emojis. Understand that to put a picture on these is idolatry before their God (Allah, Zoroaster, etc). And only geometric patterns are used by the holy. Thus most Western nations followed suite, more for capital gain than any sort of religious belief like the Middle East, conquering trade routes with flags.

      Of the Japanese it must be said then that they managed to reinvent emoji in languages that had lost it. Who can say how old they are? We can say Mayan & Egyptian, or any classic culture, but they must be older still.

      Cave paintings make sense to children. Anyone can look and for the most part ascertain the artistic intent. Words must be translated to a specific language(s). Pictures can be explained in any language. This is the honesty of painting before it is tainted by language or numeral.

      Emoji then is the most basic form of expression, universally translatable, so simple every child can understand it, even preliterate.

      The problem with any sort of religion that conceptualizes geometry separate from imagery is this: to the abstract mind there is no difference. The Japanese look at characters and see pictures as much as geometric systems. This is quite Zen, and Shinto at its core, if one observes their art techniques. It is all quite beautifully succinct, yet not complex. All of their characters represent nature. There simply is no picture that is not a form of letters, there are no letters that do not for art.

      This Zen philosophy of nonduelistic definition exposes the core beliefs of many religions against idolatry as themselves the most supreme of idolaters.

      Any religion forbidding freedom of peaceful expression is therefor tyrannical.

      This is blasphemy in most middle eastern cultures, and even some western. Their Clerics made the words religious, but made all pictures profane. All of the ancient art was destroyed in the name of "God" when all these works were of God to begin with. It is political power and nothing to do with spirituality whatsoever.

      The problem is it's impossible to say a shape can't look like another shape. This is in all actuality a religious ban on metaphor and poetry. The people can't help always sinning in this system where no one can win. The disenfranchised poor and stupid are blamed, keeping the populace obedient and ignorant through censorship of free speech, and thus freedom of artistic expression.

      Now those whom fear idolatry meet the globe and can't believe we are all sinners; however they idolize geometry just as many worship statuary, making their religious government hypocritical and tautological in its punishments of their people, as well as foreign affairs.

      The 1st world doesn't ban art. Sometimes we have controversy and may rope off a section, put it in a dark room away from the kiddies, but it is not illegal to express oneself. No company is allowed to overstep the Constitutional violation of inalienable human rights, Freedom of Expression. We do not make languages official or outlaw them.

      Apple 🍎 is acting unconstitutionally like a 3rd world theocratic dictatorship by banning emoji, the bridge between all languages. This is an affront on the lower class who utilize graphics to communicate. Apple has made a Civil Rights violation of the most dangerous nature: an attack of personal expression.

      Apple is not allowed to make rules above the law. I hope all of the app designers affected by the policy changes ban together and sue. Unfortunately that's what the hostile takeover people want. Truly, Apple needs to name names and fire some truly atrocious people. However that disease most likely has infected most of the people at the top and the company wouldn't function. Follow the money: who benefits?

      Pull your stock in Apple now. They are collapsing like a 🍮flan in a cubbard. No company is better than The People.
      Apple is not an island.