Apple is changing its syringe emoji to remove the dripping blood, as it becomes widely used to talk about the Covid-19 vaccine.
Apple’s new version has nothing inside the needle.
“This makes the emoji more versatile when used to describe Covid-19 vaccination,” explained Emojipedia, a site that catalogues the icons.
The site reports a surge in the use of the syringe emoji last year to talk about the Covid vaccine.
Emojipedia said that while the syringe was once associated with blood donation, it saw a noticeable shift to it being used for vaccinations, alongside other emoji such as a face mask or a microbe.
By December, the icon had become associated with words such as “vaccine”, “Covid-19”, “Pfizer”, and “Moderna”, it said.
Apple has not officially made any comment on the revised graphic.
But the change was discovered in the beta version for Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 14.5, which is likely to be available to ordinary users soon.
New emojis must be approved by industry body the Unicode consortium – but existing ones are designed slightly differently by companies such as Apple, making tweaks possible.
Google’s Android has not announced any similar changes, but the major software makers usually converge on a similar design.
In 2016, Apple changed the pistol emoji from a handgun to a water pistol, with Google, Samsung, Microsoft and others eventually following suit.