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That's why you get square instead of emojis

Emojis are part of our communication; Whether you want it or not. This is a widely used feature among social network users or messaging applications. Even your grandmother uses it. But have you ever wondered why sometimes your phone shows a square instead of the emoji?

Last week, I posted news about Android OS fragmentation, which showed that 99.3% of smartphones running Google's mobile platform don't use the latest version of the operating system. That's why you get square when you should get emojis. I'm gonna explain.

The website Emojipedia published a study showing that only 4% of Android device owners can view the latest update from the Unicode (Emoji company) catalog. The remaining 96% comes from a series of blank squares like these below:

missing character emoji box
Who has never received this little square? / Emojipedia

Why only 4% of Android owners come with Unicode 9?

The Unicode 9 emoji catalog has been available to the Google developer team since August 2016 when Android 7.0 was released. When 7.1 came out in October, Android became the first system to offer more gender representations and professions through emoji.

However, as less than 1% of devices running Android Nougat, so almost no one has access to new emojis.

A cell phone that can't see emojis released more than 12 months ago is crippled

To give you an idea, Apple started messing with Unicode 9 only in September when it launched iOS 10, which received the full list of emojis only in December 2016. Today, 84% of Apple users have support for the latest catalog of illustrations.

ios 84 android 4 latest release
84% of Apple users have support for the latest illustration catalog / Emojipedia

The alternative is in third party applications.

As Android users, we can only use third party applications released with our own emoji packages, such as Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter or Slack, for example.

Incidentally, as well surveyed by the research institution, both WhatsApp and Telegram even offer Apple-developed emojis for Android users. So when you use the custom keyboard of these applications, you can send these images to other users, otherwise the situation of Android users could be even worse in this regard: you would only communicate a brick wall.

emojipedia ios android statistics
56% of Android users rely on 2015 emoji catalog natively / Emojipedia

I am of the opinion that you do not need the latest version of the operating system to have secure software, as Google and the manufacturers already ship monthly security updates (at least they should) supported from KitKat. Therefore, you are not at serious risk of security breaches in an older version. However, I have to agree with the staff of Emojipedia when they say that a cell phone that cannot see emojis released more than 12 months ago is crippled as a communication device.

And what do you do to get around this?

(tagsToTranslate) emojis android (t) emojis android nougat (t) emojis ios