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As you probably know,  and Unicode keeps adding new emojis, but, if like me, you can't or you don't want to update to the latest version of macOS, you don't have those emojis. I know that there are several emojis fonts such as

But, I don't want to have this kind of library, I would like to have the "real" emojis from  (Yes, I ❤️ to use the Apple logo and emojis 😊).

Is there a way to update the emoji list from the  emojis?

This is my question, I think it's technically possible, but I have no idea where to find those emojis and how to update them.

4 Answers 4

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The font file you need to use a more recent version of is /System/Library/Fonts/Apple Color Emoji.ttc and is about 135MB.

The High Sierra version of the file and the process to install it to /Library/Fonts can be found here: http://stephenradford.me/install-high-sierra-emoji-on-older-versions/

Note that the Emoji & Symbol picker will not list the newer emoji added since your version of macOS. For that to work you would also need to update at least /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/CoreEmoji.framework and maybe some other files.

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You have to either obtain a copy of the newer Apple Color Emoji font from a newer OS version and install it in your machine, or manually edit the one you have using a font editor app which can handle this kind of font. I think the second option is not very practical for most users in terms of the work and skills required.

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If you're on El Capitan, it's quite easy. You need to temporarily disable SIP and copy the TTC file over to /System/Library/Fonts. You should turn SIP back on after you copy the font, since that imposes a security risk, since any app can have unlimited access to the /System folder once you grant it access to file system.

Yosemite and earlier are the easiest. All you need to do is copy the file to /Library/Fonts, and maybe reboot for the changes to fully take effect.

Catalina is slightly different. Once you disable SIP, you need to remount the /System partition as Read/Write (again, another security risk) by typing sudo mount -uw / into the Terminal. Copy it to /System/Library/Fonts

With Big Sur, you can't replace the font. However, it's still possible to update the font. Simply install the font, and disable the preinstalled font through Font Book.

Make a back up of the original font!

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  • You used to be able to just copy it to the user-editable /Library/ folder, or even just install it in font book. Did something change in recent releases where it has to be in /System/? May 27, 2021 at 1:54
  • @Wowfunhappy I realized I had made a mistake. In Yosemite, it is still inside /Library/Fonts, however since El Capitan and SIP, it was moved to /System/. Correct me if I'm still wrong.
    – John R.
    Oct 29, 2021 at 17:33
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You may be able to avoid the SIP nonsense, even beyond Yosemite. Just copy the new version of Apple Color Emoji to ~/Library/Fonts.

I have tried this on Catalina, and upon opening Font Book, you can see multiple copies installed:

fontbook conflict

Then you can resolve by choosing the new version.

fontbook resolve screen

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  • Can I ask where you got the updated version of the font file? The link in the accepted answer is long dead. May 30, 2023 at 18:27
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    site:reddit.com "apple color emoji.ttc"
    – Matt M.
    May 31, 2023 at 19:06
  • For me, going this route (adding the newer font file to Font Book and resolving the duplicate) resulted in strange behavior when using the emoji picker and viewing certain emoji. Jun 1, 2023 at 17:25

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