Apple Updates iOS, watchOS And OS X, Including Support For New Emoji (And The Middle Finger)

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The next major update to Apple’s mobile operating system since the debut of version 9.0 released in September, is now rolling out. In iOS 9.1, Apple is introducing a number of new features and improvements, including one involving those GIF-like “Live Photos.” However, the addition that most users will be excited about is iOS 9.1’s inclusion of new emoji characters – yes, including the middle finger.

Also rolling out now are updates to watchOS for Apple Watches, and an update for OS X El Capitan, both of which will receive the new emoji, too.

The emoji are based on standards set by the Unicode Consortium, to be clear, so this update is about Apple moving to support the new standard – not Apple’s independent decision to include an expanded emoji set, and – in the case of the rude gesture, possibly controversial – characters.

The middle finger gesture is probably the most-desired among users – Emojipedia noted it has been the #1 emoji on its site for the past 12 months.

However, the updated standard additionally includes a number of other in-demand characters and images, such as new foods like a taco, hot dog, cheese, pepper, popcorn, champagne bottle, and burrito, for example; animals like a turkey, crab, squirrel, lion, unicorn, and others; more religious symbols like prayer beads and places of worship; more faces, like an upside-down smiley, one with “$” symbols for eyes, a robot face, a bandaged face, a thinking face, and others; a few extra sports emojis; more weather emojis; more landscapes; and a lot more.


The other significant consumer-facing change in iOS 9.1 is an update for Live Photos. These are the images that, when pressed using the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus’s 3D Touch function, animate like a video (or a Harry Potter-like photo!). Now, says Apple, the iPhone will sense when it’s being raised on lowered so it won’t record those extra movements. For anyone who’s been playing around with Live Photos on their new devices as I have will welcome this change, as you would often accidentally record video of your phone pointed at the floor, or just away from the subject matter.

9.1 also introduces other compatibility updates for the soon-to-be released 4th generation Apple TV and new iPad Pro, plus other bug fixes, security fixes, and improvements, as per usual, along with performance enhancements. And there’s a new setting for Messages that lets you disable Contact Photos via a toggle switch.

iOS 9.1 is rolling out now as an over-the-air update to all current iOS 9 users.

Just ahead of its release, Apple updated its App Store Distribution page to show iOS 9’s current adoption rate, which has risen to 61 percent. That’s up from the 51 percent reported closer to the beginning of the month. iOS 8 accounts for another 30 percent of iOS devices, the chart indicates.

Full Changelogs, below:

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Besides the iOS 9.1 release, Apple also rolled out watchOS 2.0.1, a more minor update with several changes and bug fixes. The OS will include the new emoji as well, and is addressing problems around battery life, stalled software updates, iOS Calendar event syncing, instability issues, and other bugs.

Finally, Apple released the first update to its El Capitan desktop OS, which launched last month. With OS X 10.11.1, the company notes it’s fixing a lot of bugs, in particular one that caused crashes for those running Office 2016. Like the iOS and watchOS update, 10.11.1 will also include the over 150 new emoji thanks to support for Unicode 7.0 and 8.0, and addresses a couple of problems with information missing in the Mail app, among other things.

If you’re not seeing the updates available to you yet, you should very soon, as they are rolling out to all users now.

Meanwhile, Apple developers have one more update they can download, too – the Gold Master (final version) of tvOS for Apple TV.

(image credits, h/t: emojipedia; updates – 9to5Mac; iClarified)