Apple held up Telegram’s latest update over emoji

Telegram released a new update on Frida,y just one day after Telegram CEO and founder Pavel Durov said the update had been in Apple’s app review for two weeks without explanation. The update is packed with emoji-related features, but one is missing because Apple specifically requested its removal, according to Durov.

“After extensive media coverage of my previous post, Apple got back to us with a demand to water down our pending Telegram update by removing Telemoji — higher quality vector-animated versions of the standard emoji,” Durov wrote on his Telegram channel on Friday. “This is a puzzling move on Apple’s behalf, because Telemoji would have brought an entire new dimension to its static low-resolution emoji and would have significantly enriched their ecosystem.”

You can see the Telemoji in a short video included with Durov’s post (and I’ve made a GIF of the video he shared). Personally, I think the Telemoji look like a lot of fun — I love how they add some life to static emoji faces I’ve gotten quite familiar with. But I’m guessing Apple took issue with another company modifying its designs in this way, which might be why it asked Telegram to remove Telemoji from the update. Apple and Telegram didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Now I wish Apple would animate the standard emoji.
Video from Pavel Durov, which I turned into a GIF

The update is loaded with other new emoji improvements, though. Users who subscribe to Telegram’s recently-launched $4.99 Premium service will be able to upload and use custom emoji in chats with friends, and Telegram is offering 10 custom packs with more than 500 emoji to start. Free users will be able to see any of the animated emoji and use them in their saved messages.

Telegram has also updated the sticker panel on iOS by creating separate tabs for stickers, GIFs, and emoji, like what you might be familiar with in Telegram on Android, desktop, or the web. You can read the full list of updates in Telegram’s blog post.

There are more improvements on the way. In “a few weeks,” Telegram will let users add any custom emoji as a message reaction, Durov says, though this will be a Premium-only feature to start. I’m of the opinion that emoji reactions are actually good — the more ways to use emoji, the better.

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