Google's emojis are getting a face-lift in Android 12 this fall. What to know

Get a sneak peek at how Google is polishing its emoji for an update later this month.

Dale Smith Former Associate Writer
Dale Smith is a former Associate Writer on the How-To team at CNET.
Dale Smith
2 min read

Google says its updated emoji will represent a more international point of view.


Google's emoji are getting a new look that's set to debut when its Android 12 mobile operating system arrives this fall. And you don't have to be fluent in emoji to understand why. Google spelled it out in a recent blog post.

"Emoji have a global audience and it's important for them to be globally relevant," the blog post reads. 

Google points to the pie emoji as an example. It currently mimics a slice of pumpkin, which is a favorite in the US but not so well known internationally. The updated emoji looks like a whole, uncut pie, and could represent "apple pie, blueberry pie, strawberry pie, cherry pie, chicken pot pie, beef and mushroom... the list goes on," Google says.

Read more: Confused by emoji meanings? Here's a simple trick for getting it right ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

But you don't have to wait for Android 12 to see the new emojis -- Google says updates will start rolling out to Gmail and Google Chat starting later this month. Nor will you need to have Android 12 installed on your device; all apps that support Appcompat will automatically receive the update.

Which emoji do we know are changing?

While Google didn't offer a comprehensive list of changes, it did highlight a few of the changes coming later this month. 

  • Slice of pumpkin pie: Being overhauled into a freshly baked pie -- freeing users from the tyranny of fall flavors. 
  • Bikini emoji: Getting a flatter shape, giving it more of a on-the-hangar appearance.
  • Face mask emoji: Its eyes, once solemnly closed, will now be open. 
  • Motorway emoji: Colored lines now correctly colored. 
  • Several car emoji are receiving updates to be more recognizable in a small space. 
  • Others will become dynamic and change when they're viewed in dark mode, like the sun and moon emojis.
  • Various food emoji will now have a little more texture to them, like the bacon and rice emoji. 
  • Though not specifically mentioned in the post, the header image shows several emoji that appear to have new looks, including the football emoji, maple leaf emoji, saxophone emoji, and ballet slippers emoji.

Why is Google changing emoji in Android 12?

Google's new face mask emoji will have open eyes.


In the absence of any new emoji coming with Android 12, Google said it wanted to give users emoji that were "more universal, accessible and authentic." Many of the previews showed emoji that were more accurate to the real world (no more yellow lines on the outside of highways) or more welcoming (the face mask emoji now has open eyes to better reflect the intent behind masking). 

What other changes are happening in Android 12? Check out our coverage of all the features you'll love, even the hidden ones. You can also read about how privacy features will let you prevent apps from collecting unwanted data.