Jeremy Burge, before diving into the numerous ways in which Apple’s emoji search on the Mac is pretty broken:
I’ve been aware of this for quite some time, but until recently haven’t sat down to figure out what’s going on.
His blog post is full of examples, but this is a pretty damning one:
To find Person Facepalming you can’t type “facepalm” or “palm” but instead need to type “face palm.”
I’ve often lamented the lack of search in Apple’s iOS emoji keyboard. Maybe Apple has held off on that feature for a reason. That said, many of Jeremy’s examples work correctly in the emoji section of the QuickType bar above the keyboard.
The thing is, this shouldn’t be a hard problem. Every emoji has an official name granted by Unicode, as well an official localized name that can be more user-friendly. Apple’s search should take those two labels, plus its own custom names, into account when searching. Right now, the entire system seems bad in random ways, and inconsistent across emoji characters.