Discover hidden details in 10 popular emojis: from train destinations to rebellious snails

To celebrate World Emoji Day on July 17, we reveal some of the most intriguing hidden details in emojis and why they exist

It’s World Emoji Day on Saturday, a day on which we celebrate all the non-verbal things we say in our WhatsApps, text messages and across many social media platforms.

This year alone, 217 new emojis have been approved for launch, including a burning heart and face in the clouds, creating even more ways to say what you mean when words fail, time constraints or you just can’t be bothered to chat.

According to CNBC, World Emoji Day was created in 2014 by Jeremy Burge, the London creator of the website Emojipedia. Since 2017, Apple has announced new emoji developments on this day and global brands and famous names have also hopped on board. On July 17, 2015, Pepsi launched PepsiMoji, Hollywood studio Sony announced casting news for The Emoji Movie on this day in 2016, and ever one to hitch her wagon to a marketing opportunity, Kim Kardashian launched her own Kimoji fragrance line on July 17, 2018.

While the hidden meaning of many emojis have become well known, and a recent online battle between Millennials and Gen Z revealed that emojis used showed your age – the crying laughing emoji is Millennial, while the skull is Gen Z’s preferred way to say ‘lol’ – there are some hidden details you might have missed.

From what’s written on the pages of the book emoji to exactly where the metro train is headed, we bet you can’t make it to the end of the list without scrolling through your iPhone to check on these details …

1. The date on the calendar

Frequent users of the more business-themed emojis might have noticed that the date on the calendar icon is July 17 – World Emoji Day. But which came first, the emoji or the celebratory day?

In this instance, the emoji came first, with July 17 chosen because it is the date that Apple’s iCal premiered at technology trade show Macworld back in 2002.

2. The snail and the lizard face the other way

Of the 116 animal emojis (and, yes, we are including the unicorn), they all face to the front or left, apart from two – the snail and the lizard.

The snail emoji was introduced in 2010 and remained the standalone right-facing animal, until the lizard arrived in 2016 to keep it company in its right-facing solidarity. Although the internet has some theories as to why this is, no one really knows.

3. You can create couples with different colour skin tones

Earlier this year, the couples emojis got more inclusive. Apple introduced the ability to choose which skin tones best represented users when posting a couple emoji.

Simply press on the couple, then select the tones that best represent you and your partner.

4. There is real text on the book emoji

You might need to find yourself a powerful magnifying glass to see it, but there is actual writing on the book emoji. The same text is on the clipboard, and paper and pencil emojis.

“Here’s to the crazy ones,” it says. “The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes …”

The text is a shortened version of the monologue from Apple’s 1997–2002 Crazy Ones/Think Different ad campaign, created by creative marketer Rob Siltanen, which ends: “Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

5. The deaf emoji signs a real word

The emoji symbolising deaf people, in which the person gestures with their index finger between the ear and mouth, is the sign used to signify deafness in American Sign Language and many other global sign languages.

6. Emojis within emojis

In what can only be considered the Inception of emojis, there are two which feature popular icons within them. The first is the fries in the food section, which features the smiley face emoji on the front of the red packet.

The second is the post house in the buildings section, which features a postal horn on the front to mark it as a post office. The postal horn itself is found in the objects section.

7. The pager emoji has a number

Much to the internet’s amusement, the pager emoji continues to feature despite the popularity of the once cutting-edge communication technology falling out of favour since the early 2000s.

The number on the pager reads: 555-3215. Triple 5 is commonly used in films and adverts as a fictitious area code, but no one seems to know what the “3215” signifies.

8. The metro emoji is en route to Apple’s original HQ

In the transport section, the metro train has IL2 written on the front where a train would usually feature its destination. Apple fans believe IL2 is a reference to Infinite Loop, the name of Apple’s original headquarters in Cupertino, California, which comprised six buildings.

Steve Jobs’s office was in IL1, and Apple employee Chris Espinosa told Wired: “Building 1 was occupied first by the exec staff and software group. Building 2 was all the Mac web.”

9. The credit card emoji has a signature

Although you might expect the signature on the gold credit card to be that of Steve Jobs or another original Apple founder, the name actually reads John Appleseed.

The original John Appleseed was a man named John Chapman, an American pioneer nurseryman who, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, introduced apple trees to large parts of the American east coast.

In Apple Inc lore, John Appleseed is the pseudonym of former Apple chief executive Mike Markkula, who used the name as his alias while publishing software for the Apple II.

10. The most used emoji on Twitter is …

… the crying laughing emoji. Twitter emoji tracker scans the social media platform in real time, and shows that the tears of joy or crying laughing emoji is consistently the top choice.

Updated: July 16th 2021, 6:27 AM