New gender neutral emoji will be introduced in a major shake-up of the fun images, used billions of times a day in instant messaging applications across the world.

The gender neutral faces in child, adult and senior styles
Apple will be first to introduce the new emoji in their iOS 11.1 update, available for some users from Monday 9th October. Updates for Google and Android devices are set to follow later in the year.

The tech giant has previewed the gender neutral emoji today (above), which come in various skin tones, with the update also set to include the Scottish Saltire flag for the first time.

Users will also find an elf, dinosaur, vampire, wizard and broccoli!

Emoji images are tightly controlled by the Unicode Consortium, which sets the global standard for all the characters and makes sure they can be used in different software products.  There is even a World Emoji Day held in July each year (who knew!).

The emoji smiley face will also undergo a transformation, with even more additions in the latest update, including ‘starstruck’ face and ‘mind blown’ face.

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