The new syringe emoji is a better fit for the age of COVID-19 vaccines


New syringe emoji meets the old (blood-filled) one.

Apple/Illustration by Sean Buckley/CNET

Apple users upgrading to iOS 14.5 are getting their hands on a staggering array of new emoji, with one particularly notable update — a vaccine emoji.

Technically, the syringe emoji has been around since the very first version of the Unicode icons, and it often featured red coloring. According to Emojipedia, the original design was a reference to blood donation, but more recently it’s been used to represent the COVID-19 vaccine. In that context, the blood-filled syringe just doesn’t make sense.

The new version of the emoji that arrived in iOS 14.5 adopts a more simple blue and gray color palette, making it more of an all-purpose syringe that can represent vaccination, blood donation and more.

For now, the new design is available only on Apple devices, Twitter and services that use the emojidex platform, but Emojipedia says the generalized change is on the rise — which makes sense, considering how much we’ve all been talking about COVID-19 vaccines recently.

iOS 14.5 launched on April 26.