Don’t worry, the Unicode Consortium’s 2020 emoji update is ready to go and will arrive on your phone sometime between August and December. But the 2021 emoji update will come six months late. It was slated to arrive on phones at the end of 2021, but will now be pushed back to the beginning of 2022.
As you might expect, the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for this delay. The folks at Unicode can’t work on their regular schedule and have other projects to deal with right now. On this adjusted schedule, the 2021 emoji should be fully illustrated and programmed by September of next year. But if previous emoji updates are any indication, phone manufacturers won’t update their devices to the new standard until at least January of 2022.
We may still see a small update in 2021, but it won’t include any new emoji. According to Emojipedia (the Unicode Consortium’s blog), a few easy-to-program emoji sequences might come out next year. Sequences are simply two emoji that can merge, like the service dog (🐕 + 🦺 = 🐕🦺) and the rainbow flag (🏳 + 🌈 = 🏳🌈). This small update hasn’t been confirmed, and again, will not include any new emoji.