iOS 8.3 Is Here & It Has New Emoji

Apple is rolling out its latest update to iOS today, and among the numerous improvements and bug fixes it's adding to the system is one thing we've wanted for ages: new, more diverse emoji. 

Emoji in iOS 8.3 are organized differently, as a horizontally scrollable list of categories. For the face and family icons, you can tap to see other skin tone options within that group. We actually got a preview of the broader selection of six different skin tones back in February, after developers had a chance to download an early version of the OS. Apple also updated other emoji — the computer, phone, and watch now look  like the Mac, iPhone, and Apple Watch, for example — and added some new flags. In total, there are 300 new emoji characters.

The update adds and fixes a number of other things for the iPhone as well. It features a slight keyboard redesign that elongates the space bar, so you're less likely to accidentally tap the period key when you mean to hit a space. (Did you notice you'd been hitting the period button more in iOS 8? Mind blown? Time to update.). It also fixes an annoying WiFi bug that repeatedly prompted you for log-in credentials, or intermittently disconnected you from WiFi networks. There are also upgrades related to device orientation and rotation, if you ever noticed that apps occasionally got stuck in landscape mode. Among the laundry list of other improvements are a fix to autocorrecting the word "FYI" and the ability to filter out iMessages not sent by one of your contacts — useful if you're a celebrity whose number got leaked, or if you find yourself getting iMessage spam

Before you download 8.3, you'll want to take a few precautions. You'll want to make sure you've backed up your iOS device, as there's always a chance something can go awry during the install; that you know your passcode and iCloud password (you'll be prompted to re-enter them following the download); that your device is either plugged in or is at least 50% charged; and, if you haven't updated your apps in a while, it might be a good idea to update them to the latest version to avoid potential bugs or sluggishness from version incompatibility. 

This new version of iOS takes up 285 MB, so you'll need a WiFi connection in order to download it. You can update your phone by going to Settings > General > Software Update, then tapping "Download and Install." 
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