The pre-release update to Apple's OS X was sent to developers and includes an updated emoji keyboard featuring skin-tone variations based on the Fitzpatrick scale, which is a skin-colour classification system recognised by dermatologists.
Apple has not stopped at representing racial diversity, but has also used its latest update to introduce emoji in same-sex relationships, including families with lesbian and gay parents.
Apple’s emoji previously only included three characters representing non-white people, including a man with brown skin wearing a turban, and a man in a Chinese-style skull cap with smaller and more slanted eyes.
The racial variations now come in a default yellow, with users able to select other skin tones – from white to dark brown.
Apple’s move follows pressure from bodies including the Unicode Consortium, which campaigns for software standardisation and which last year drew up a plan proposing five skin-tone colours for emojis.
But campaigners are still bemoaning the lack of representation for ginger-haired people in Apple’s cast of emoji characters.