How to activate iOS emoticons

How to activate iOS emoticonsIt might surprise you to learn that despite my being a writer or blogger or random scribbler (or whatever the hell I am), I’m actually incredibly fond of “smilies”/emoticons/emoji – call them what you will. I do, however, draw the line well before “RAOFLMAO” :-P

Where were we? Ah yes! There’s no shortage of emoticon apps for iOS, but what you mightn’t know is that there are tons of the little guys already on your iDevice, just waiting to be activated.

As is often the case with such smartphone thingies, the answer is just a few taps of the touchscreen away. Here’s where to go:

  • Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > Emoji

And that’s it. Job done. Bob is your father’s brother. If, for whatever reason, you later decide you want to remove the Emoji character set, just follow the instructions as far as ‘Add New Keyboard’ and tap Edit in the top right. Easy.

Now for actually using our little iOS emoticons.

Wherever the iOS keyboard pops up, be it iMessage, Facebook or even within your browser, you’ll see what appears to be a little globe icon in the bottom left (between ‘123’ and the virtual spacebar).

Give that globe a tap and you’ll open up a whole new world of emoticon keyboard goodness. At a quick count I make a whopping 820 little icons. Shepherd of Judea.

The leftmost category shows ‘Recently Used’, though I’m not entirely sure what logic is at work. Ah well, better than nothing.

Enough blabbering; what you really want to know is where to find the iOS poo. Tap into the face category (as indicated by a, uhm, smiley face) and scroll along to the fifth subsection. On the top line, you’ll find said poo. Brilliant.

It’s worth noting, of course, that users of different operating systems like Android and Windows Phone (yeah, there are a few out there) won’t always see what you see. Indeed, more often than not, they’ll simply get those annoying little blank squares.

Similarly (and somewhat confusingly), I’ve had a couple of iOS-based friends say that some of the emoticons haven’t displayed correctly, though I suspect that’s because they’re still on iOS 5.something while I’m rocking iOS 6.

And that’s how to activate iOS emoticons. Go forth and send poo to your iFriends. Hours of fun. If you fancy a real challenge, try communicating entirely in emoji. You'd be surprised what you can do. And that's exactly why my flatmate has been known as Money Hammer (following an emoji misinterpretation) for several years. True story.

Read more about: iOS

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JanSt / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 13:15

Can you post a part 2 kinda thing: how to disable them?

mrew42  Jan. 16, 2013 at 13:22

Tsk, even Google knows it should be ROFLMAO.

mightyforest  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:11

This wont keep the teenagers from saying "Apple is out" :) next try lol

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 16, 2013 at 14:23

This wont keep the teenagers from saying "Apple is out" :) next try lol


Reeeeeee  Jun. 11, 2014 at 22:30

Very useful as I didn't know the tricks etc. thanks


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