Apple has added a range of racially diverse emoji, in five new skin-tones, to the keyboard on new software for its mobile devices.
New iOS 8.3. updates, which will be officially released in the next few months, will see multiple skin-tone options added to the human face graphics available on iPhones, iPads and other mobile Apple products.
The faces will also automatically default to the standard bright yellow colour associated with the non-human emoji, instead of their current white skin-tone.
The Unicode Consortium, an industry body devoted to the development and promotion of software standards, has created the new skin-tones using the Fitzpatrick scale, a standardised method of classifying human skin colour used by dermatologists.
The changes come after Apple faced criticism for the lack of racial diversity on its keyboard. Previously, just three emoji characters appeared to represent non-western people: a man wearing a cossack hat, a man with brown skin wearing a turban and a man wearing a traditional Chinese skull cap.
A total of 300 new emojis have been added to the keyboard, also including same-sex relationship emojis, families with two mothers and two fathers, an iPhone 6, an Apple watch and 32 new country flags.
The updates will see Apple’s voice activated assistant Siri learn seven new languages, too: Russian, Dutch, Thai, Danish, Turkish, Swedish and Portuguese.