Emojis on Apple, Google, Samsung can look very different from each other (VIDEO).

Emojis Look Very Different on Different Devices. Watch the Worst Examples in Action.

Emojis Look Very Different on Different Devices. Watch the Worst Examples in Action.

Slate in motion.
Feb. 10 2016 12:09 PM

Lost in Translation

How texting emojis between different devices can turn disastrous.

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As more people of all ages, devices, and tech savvy adopt emojis in their texts and online messages, we must address a problem few seem to realize: Emojis look very different on different platforms.   

Unicode—the standard programming language that allows communication between platforms—is pretty much foolproof for text. Words are words, and there are no cross-platform kinks to work out. But when it comes to emoji characters, things get a bit trickier. Because of licensing issues, many messaging systems on different platforms must develop their own interpretations of the corresponding emoji symbols, so an emoji on an iPhone may appear very different on an Android. And let’s just say the results … vary.

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To get to the bottom of the cross-platform issues, we compared every single emoji on different systems and identified the biggest discrepancies between the Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung sets. Watch the video above to find out just how much can be lost in emoji translation.

Jessamine Molli is a Slate associate producer.

Daniel Hubbard is a writer, editor, and director living in New York City.