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Updating Mavericks's emoji picker


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Mar 12, 2019
Everyone 💜's emojis! That's probably why the Unicode consortium keeps creating new emojis every year. 😎 Sadly, poor old Mavericks is stuck in 2014, and doesn't know about any of these new emojis! 😩 You can install a newer version of the AppleColorEmoji font to at least make these emojis visible, but they still won't show up in the emoji picker! 😩 This is clearly not acceptable! 😤

As it so happens, last night I stumbled across the system files that control the emoji picker. 🤭 A few hours spent figuring out how everything works, aaaand... I think I did it. 😉

First, grab a copy of the AppleColorEmoji font from macOS 11 Big Sur or newer, and install it with Font Book, ignoring the warning about duplicate fonts. I've uploaded a copy of the font here for now:

Next, open /System/Library/Input Methods/ in Finder, and make a backup copy of these files:
  • Category-Emoji.plist
  • CategoryImage-NKo.pdf
  • CategoryImage-Tifinagh.pdf
  • CategoryImage-Ugaritic.pdf
Lastly, download the zip attached to this post, and copy its contents into the folder you opened earlier. Restart your computer (sometimes not necessary), then gaze in wonder at the wealth of options in the Emoji picker. 😮

  • Mavericks's emoji picker has no concept of skin tone variations. 💩
  • Some gender variations appear in the mini emoji picker, but not the expanded character picker. I don't know why! 🤷‍♂️
  • Regardless of your system language, the names of the three new categories—"Food", "Activity" and "Flags"—will only appear in english. 🇬🇧 If this personally affects you, and you're willing to help with testing, please let me know—I'm pretty sure I can add languages, but it's a bit of a pain and I'll need translation help. 🌐
  • In the character picker, three very obscure symbol categories will now have the wrong icons. (These aren't even visible by default; you have to open "Customize List".) Unfortunately, I wasn't able to add icons for the new categories without replacing existing ones (or rather, I was able to, but it caused iMessage to crash for some reason 🤪).
  • The new Emojis don't have descriptions, which means you can't search for them. Unfortunately, I can't seem to figure out where Emoji descriptions are stored on Mavericks; if you find them, please tell me where they are! 🔍
Just think—until Big Sur is officially released, you now have more emojis than the latest version of macOS! 😈


  • Mavericks Emoji Backport
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