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A Renewed Call for Better Emoji Search

New emoji are coming. Without a revamped search tool, it’ll be difficult to find them on the iPhone.

(Ringer illustration)
(Ringer illustration)

New emoji are coming this summer, and Emojipedia recently mocked up the 69 candidates, including broccoli, a woman breastfeeding, and a curling stone. There are enough emoji, in my opinion, but I accept that this is an argument I will lose, as people freaking love them. My request is humble, then: If more wee phone glyphs are continually added to the menu, how about giving us a better way to search for them?

The Verge complained about this in 2015, and I’m complaining about it now, because as we add additional emoji, it’s just going to get harder to locate them. Apple created a predictive emoji feature in which iOS pulls up emoji based on what people type, which is a start, but I want something to help me sort through my options when I’m looking at the emoji keyboard. Is that so hard?

Are you telling me Apple’s out here releasing random red iPhones, trying to capture the market of the eight people in the world who miss the U2 iPod, but it can’t make a functional emoji search?

There are third-party keyboards that offer emoji search functionality, but if I wanted to download a third-party keyboard I would be a much different person. I just want one keyboard. One keyboard with a working search function. Google has made an emoji search for Android, which both illustrates that it is possible and that those of us still using iOS are probably fools, but I’ll be damned if Apple hasn’t tricked me into brand loyalty.

Good emoji should not go unused because they’re hard to find. The best thing Taylor Swift did in 2016 was help raise awareness of the snake emoji by acting like a snake. “Person throwing something in the trash” emoji shouldn’t languish in obscurity because people have to scroll through all the flags and horoscope symbols to find it. “Person throwing something in the trash” deserves better. There are many terrific emoji that don’t get enough play. Look at these oft-forgotten beauties:

Slack has a feature where someone can type “:snake:” and a snake emoji comes up. Apple should do something like that, for starters. Then I could type “:trash:” or “:garbage:” and the person throwing something in the trash ( ) would appear. If Slack can do it, Apple can definitely do it, no offense to Slack. Apple has $246 billion in cash. Apple could do something better. If the notion tickled Jony Ive just so, Apple could probably create a feature that would make an emoji appear if a person simply thought about it. That would be impressive!

But all I’m asking for is a functional emoji search within the emoji keyboard.

Thank you in advance to Tim Cook.