WhatsApp used Apple’s iOS emoji across all supported platforms until recently, as the leading mobile messaging app has now released its own set of emoji as part of its latest Android beta version. The characters still seem to be somewhat inspired by Apple's own offerings and many of them aren't too dissimilar to their predecessors, though some differences between the two sets are still observable, with the new characters being shown in the gallery below. Making the move from reliance on Apple’s emoji ecosystem to its own designs is hardly a surprising decision from WhatsApp. Many social media platforms and communications services including WhatsApp’s competitors have already made the switch to their own emoji. Facebook and Twitter are amongst the most notable names already using their own emoji and the iMessage service unsurprisingly remains the largest user of Apple's own offerings.
There’s a good chance that WhatsApp could once again tweak its emoji before the non-beta version release, as the company often uses beta releases to test new functionality before alterations are made to the stable version of its app. For example, also in the most recent beta release of WhatsApp’s Android app, WhatsApp introduced functionality designed to give users greater control over how the app uses storage on their device. That beta update adds a new interface area to the app, which not only details how WhatsApp is using your device’s storage, including specific chats and file types but also highlights elements of those chats that could be deleted without impacting your conversations. Exactly when that functionality will make its way to the main app remains to be seen.
WhatsApp is clearly aiming to make its messaging server smarter, which is no surprise when you consider increasing competition from other providers. The aforementioned iMessage, which still uses Apple’s emoji eco-system remains the most popular form of internet-based communication on iOS devices. Meanwhile, Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp, continues to provide healthy competition in the Android market. What’s more, there’s speculation that the company could merge its two messaging platforms in a move that would shake up both WhatsApp and Messenger.