Genmoji will allow custom AI-created emojis in iOS 18, and might resurrect Memoji

in iOS

The Apple Intelligence features in iOS 18 merge with Messages to make Genmoji, the system Apple uses to create new emojis from simple text prompts.

Floating 3D emojis in a large white room, including animals, food, and humanoid cartoons, with a man standing in the background.
Apple showed off multiple Genmoji styles.

If the name Genmoji sounds familiar, it may be because of Apple's existing "Memoji," custom cartoon-style avatars first introduced in 2018. Memoji are just a part of the new Genmoji tools, with the Genmoji custom emoji creation in a more traditional style seemingly more powerful.

Apple says that even with "thousands of emoji to choose from," Genmoji will help " times when you can't quite find the right one for how you feel."

The first part of Genmoji seems very useful. Users will be able to create emojis on the fly to match any situation. Apple showed examples of Genmoji being used to create a smiley face with cucumbers over their eyes to represent a spa day, and a squirrel DJ for a conversation about a noisy squirrel.

For anyone who's looked for the perfect emoji and settled on something not quite right (we're looking at you, poop emoji), these new AI-driven tools should be particularly useful. These custom emojis will certainly be used in texts and will likely appear in trending social media posts on Instagram, TikTok, and similar platforms.

Genmoji can be created directly from the keyboard in Messages. They're not extending Unicode, so it remains to be seen if the feature pops up anywhere else. The images generated can certainly be moved outside of Messages, though.

Our upcoming coverage of the iOS 18 and iPad 18 betas will cover the use of Genmoji, and the process used to make them.

Apple initially hyped Memoji, even changing the executive suite information page on from using photos to using Memoji of the team.

The idea never really caught on as Memoji notably don't look much like the people they are designed to represent. Apple hopes to revitalize Memoji by making it a part of the new Genmoji tools.

Three iPhones display custom emoji creation screens with smiley face, lox bagel, and squirrel DJ icons, each accompanied by relevant text.
Apple's Genmoj can be created right from the keyboard.

The primary problem with Memoji, and by extension their inclusion in Genmoji, is that in trying to make these avatars look like everyone, they end up looking like no one.

You can create a Genmoji with photos of yourself, but other people can make Genmoji of you from photos they have. Considering how bad some of the photos my friends have of me are, I'm not looking forward to their ability to create an avatar for me.

Apple's Genmoji will likely inspire other tools and platforms to allow the creation of custom emojis. In theory, we could soon see users stop using the stock emoji and begin making icons that represent what is happening in their lives.

We'll see soon enough -- Apple Intelligence features start testing soon. And since they're just images with no Unicode attached, they'll spread everywhere if they're popular.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 2
    Apple embraces emojis far beyond just implementing the requirements of Unicode.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    mpantonempantone Posts: 2,099member
    Apple embraces emojis far beyond just implementing the requirements of Unicode.
    Apple realizes that these sort of features have different levels of popularity around the world.

    It's not just about middle age college-educated white males in the USA. Remember than Americans make about 4% of the world's population. 

    It's about the same for almost any consumer technology. Some things are more popular in some places than others and tastes can change.

    White consumer electronics are very popular in southeast Asia and Europe. Not so much in the USA.

    Ever have an Orkut account? It ended up being very popular in India and Brazil while Americans gravitated toward Facebook. Japan and Korea still use LINE very frequently. Italians use WhatsApp. A lot of younger Western people use Discord which in many ways has replaced AIM, Yahoo Messenger, ICQ, and other defunct services.
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