I remember on iOS6 having to download and install a special app so I could gain access to the “Emoji” keyboard. Now I’m running iOS7 and hoping that there’s an easier solution?
Ah, those great emoji, known to most people as emoticons. Super fun and as long as the other party also has an iOS device they all work and you gain access to hundreds upon hundreds of different tiny pictures you can include in text messages, social media updates, and much more.
Instant messaging services like Facebook have their own emoticons [see this article for details: Guide to Facebook Emoticons] but while I definitely chat with Facebook friends on occasion, I have a much larger circle of people I text message or, to be more accurate, “SMS message”, so for me, emoji are a must-enable.
And I too remember how much of a pain it used to be on the iPhone to get these working. For some reason, Apple thought that if you weren’t in Japan, you wouldn’t want to use them and would be happy with silly sequences like colon-dash-paren. But hey, it’s the 21st century!
Fortunately iOS 7 makes it quite easy to enable emoji on your iPhone or iPad.
I’ll start by showing how the keyboard looks when I don’t have the emoji keyboard enabled, by viewing a Google verification code text message:
The top section isn’t very interesting, but notice along the very bottom, the buttons are “123″ to get to the numeric keyset, the microphone to use dictation (courtesy of Siri), the space bar and the return key. As we’ll see, once multiple keyboards are enabled, a new button will appear.
For now, however, go to “Settings” > “General” and scroll down to find “Keyboard”:
Now you’ll be able to turn off things like automatic capitalization if you’re so inclined:
We’re focused on the Emoji keyboard, however, so tap on “Keyboards” to proceed.
iOS7 shows you a list of all the keyboards that are available when you’re entering data, along with the important button for our task:
Tap on “Add New Keyboard…” then swipe down a bit until you can see the “Emoji” keyboard listed:
As you can see, it appears between “Dutch” and “Estonian”.
Tip: if you want to enable another foreign language keyboard while you’re at it, the sequence is identical and you can actually choose more than one keyboard while you’re here turning on emoji!
Tap on Emoji and now you’ll see two keyboards listed:
Looks good. Done.
Now you can jump back to the that pending text message and notice that there’s a new button that’s appeared:
The “world” icon allows you to switch between multiple keyboards.
Tap on it once and you’re looking at the Emoji keyboard on your iPhone:
Way, way more fun.
The only challenge is remembering which of your friends and family also have iPhones or iOS devices, because everyone else, alas, just receives little “empty box” icons, not the fun pictures.
Ah well. Standards and interoperability. Blech. Someday.
In any case, you’re good to go. Enjoy the emoji!