Eli5: Why do emojis look different on PC and smartphones



From I usually observe, emojis on a computer aren’t as good (in terms of graphics) as they are on smartphones. Could anyone clear this little cloud of doubt in my head?

In: Technology

Sevice manufacturers and software makers use their own images for each emoji. The same Unicode standard is utilized by all the tech companies so when somebody sends you a “poop icon” from their iphone, your android phone will pick it up as “Unicode 128169” therefore I must bring up a poop emoji on your phone now.

Emojis don’t really ‘exist’ in computerland but are a sort of code that means en emoji should be placed there. It is up to the manufacturer of the product/platform to decide how to graphically represent said code.

Where you would see: ‘Hi 😀’
The computer sees: ‘Hi :smiley-face-here:

The number and name of emojis is standardized in various unicode blocks in the same way that the “Basic Latin” unicode block says what the magic number is for an “F” or a “}”

But just like letters the actual representation varies. The letter F is always unicode U+0046 and if you use Tahoma it looks how you expect, if you use Comic Sans it looks a little soft and funny, but if you use Wingdings its a finger pointing to the right. Every company has their own representation of Emojis, they’re in a bit of a gray area where they’re probably not copyrightable but just not directly copying Apple’s avoids that legal fight entirely

Emojis are part of the [unicode](https://home.unicode.org/) specificiation, essentially a universal standard for keeping track of all characters that can be rendered as text. With this in mind, it is up to the software manufacturer to decide how these characters are actually conveyed to the user. Most emojis you see are simply part of a font, and fonts obviously differ. For example, if you use a windows device you’re likely going to see the [Segoe UI Emoji Font](https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/font-list/segoe-ui-emoji), while Twitter and Discord use the open-source designs called [Twemoji](https://twemoji.twitter.com/). It’s ultimately up to the software developers and designers how emojis will appear to you.