Apple will welcome a host of new “gender diverse” characters to its emoji collection on iOS 10.

The new characters include single parent families, female sports characters, a female builder and the LGBT flag.

The update also includes a green and orange water pistol which Apple chooses not to address in the press release but which reports say will replace the handgun emoji.

This swap reflects growing concerns around gun violence after a recent series of mass shootings in the US and Europe.

A French man was sentenced to three months in prison in March for threatening his ex-girlfriend with the gun symbol. And a recent campaign in the US called for Apple to "Disarm the iPhone" by removing it.

The new set of emojis will be available in the next software update, which will be released in September along with the iPhone 7.