Apple Devices Link 'Woozy Face' Emoji to Stammering


Hundreds of you have contacted us to tell us that a 'woozy face' emoji automatically appears on iPhones and iPads when typing the word 'stammering' into messages.  

The emoji features a yellow face with a crumpled mouth and a cockeyed expression, and the WhatsApp emoji also features a tongue hanging out.

Members have inundated us about the issue:

"This comes up on my phone when I type stammering! This is ableist, as sometimes people who stammer make facial expressions when experiencing a block, and this almost mimics that. I hope Apple realise this and apologise." Ellie 

"It has appeared on all apps that I have tried including Facebook, my emails, WhatsApp and my iMessages. I am horrified and hope that this can be sorted." Kristina 

Sue said, "What would disabled people think if a wheelchair emoji popped up every time?!"

One member, whose child has an iPhone, was particularly worried about the impact it could have on how they view their father.

STAMMA CEO Jane Powell said in a press release, "This is demeaning and damaging. Stammering is how some people talk. Treating it as a joke is stigmatising. It can leave people embarrassed about how they sound, bullied and ashamed which can affect their mental health, careers and relationships."

A keyboard, with the word stammering typed above

It isn't clear why this is taking place, as it doesn't affect every iPhone or Apple device, but members have reported it on the iPhone 5s, 7, SE, 11, XR, 12 Pro Max and on iPads.   

We have contacted Apple and urged them to investigate their algorithms and stop this highly offensive feature from occurring on any of their devices.

Update, July 2021

On the 22nd July 2021, Apple released an iOS update that removed the link with the woozy face emoji. You can read all about it on our Apple Woozy Face campaign page.

Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

Become a member

It's free

Join the movement to change how people understand and react to stammering.

Sign up

Campaign. Fundraise. Connect. Meet. Vote. Talk.