The revolver emoji in Apple devices will be removed from the emoji keyboard in an upcoming software update and replaced with a lime green water pistol emoji. The emoji swap will take place this fall when the tech giant rolls out its iOS 10 operating system.
In an announcement on Monday, Apple casually hinted at the switcheroo by mentioning “beautiful redesigns of popular emoji” emojis and debuting a picture of the plastic water gun emoji.
“More than one hundred new and redesigned emoji characters will be available to iPhone and iPad users this fall with iOS 10,” said Apple in a news release. “This exciting update brings more gender options to existing characters, including new female athletes and professionals, adds beautiful redesigns of popular emoji, a new rainbow flag and more family options.”
Apple's stand on gun emojis is fairly transparent, as the company has previously campaigned against a rifle emoji. Those opposed to the gun emoji swap have taken to social media to point out that a simple emoji switch does not resolve the gun violence issue. But gun control groups and activists have welcomed the emoji change, even if it is just a symbolic gesture.
With gun violence becoming more prevalent — there were 372 mass shootings in the 2015 calendar year in the U.S., wounding 1,870 and claiming 475 lives — the role of emojis is evolving. Authorities have made arrests when people have used emojis to make threats and in France, the French court has deemed an emoji to suffice as a death threat.
iOS users who want to continue using the revolver emoji have three options: avoid the iOS 10 update for as long as they can, take a screenshot of the emoji and manually send a pixelated version when they want to, or gamble a bit by saving the emoji in the Notes app and hope that the new update won’t automatically update all revolver emojis with water guns. And those who want to get a head start squirting water guns can download the public beta of iOS 10 now.