While the highlight of the OS X 10.10.3 pre-release seed yesterday was the iPhoto replacement app simply called Photos, the beta version of the OS X software update also contains changes to how and which Emoji characters are presented.

First, the new Emoji picker found in the OS X 10.10.3 beta has been redesigned with a new window that allows you to scroll through each category of Emoji characters. The new design is similar to some third-party Emoji keyboards for iOS 8 including Emoji++ as sections no longer require choosing between various pages of characters.

Next, it appears Apple is preparing to include more diverse Emoji characters in the next OS X release as various place holders have been spotted on the beta’s current character picker.

We first heard about the effort among the members of the Unicode consortium to ship more diverse Emoji characters nearly a year ago in March. At the time, Apple explained that its Emoji keyboard was based on the standards set by the Unicode consortium and that it was working alongside the group to deliver more diverse characters for its users.

The implementation, which shows placeholders for multiple versions of the same Emoji character under a sub-menu, fits with the resolution described in detail by the Unicode consortium last fall. In that description, the group posted an early draft which involves 151 Emoji characters that display skin tones.

The resolution involves including multiple skin tones for each relevant Emoji character to include more ethnicities than the current implementation. Rather than presenting a single skin tone for each Emoji character, each Emoji that presents a skin tone will have its own sub-menu from which to choose.

In addition to presenting the expected sub-menus of various skin tones for the various Emoji characters, placeholders among the national flag section of the Emoji picker have been spotted. In total, 32 placeholders are present around the national flag section suggesting many more countries will be represented by the upcoming release.

Placeholders for 14 more Emoji characters are visible around the section representing people which could also reflect more diversity from the future update.

The free 10.10.3 update to OS X Yosemite is expected to be released to Mac users later this spring. Changes to the Emoji character set present on the Mac are also expected to make their way to iOS for iPhone and iPad users as well.

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About the Author

Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news, hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour podcast, and created SpaceExplored.com.