iOS 5 Tip: Enable Emojis

October 24, 2011

All iDevices have their own Emojis – you know, not only the smiley faces but also dozens of other mini-icons / emoticons of dancing women, food dishes, cars and trucks, and much more.

What many people don’t realize is that it’s now relatively easy to enable Emojis without having to download an app.

Here’s how.

First, on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, go to Settings / General / Keyboard and then tap on “International Keyboards.”

Next, tap on “Add New Keyboards …”

You’ll see a list of keyboards of different languages. Scroll down to “Emoji” and select it. (I know, I know, Emoji isn’t a language. Humor me here, please.)


You’ll be taken back to the Keyboards screen, where you should see the Emoji keyboard listed.


Now go to any app that involves typing – say, Mail or Messages. When you see the keyboard, you’ll see a world icon between the numbers key and the space bar (or mic, if you’re lucky enough to have an iPhone 4S).


Tapping the world icon key will switch keyboards – and if you only have two keyboards enabled then it’d switch directly to the Emoji keyboard.


You’ll notice that the Emoji keyboard has several tabs. Each tab has several pages – you only need to swipe the Emojis to see the next or previous page. The first tab lists the Emojis you most recently used, and the second tab is actually the “default” with the typical smiley faces and a great deal more. The rest of the tabs are for household / office stuff, nature, transportation, and other stuff.

Go swipe and have fun! :)

UPDATE: These Emoji can only be viewed on iDevices like iPads, iTouches, and iPhones. They show up as gibberish on other devices and on the computer. In addition, they might not be accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. Heck, they’re hard for me to see — I’m too close to being middle-aged for my own comfort … So, keep these in mind when using Emojis with friends, family, your audience, or your enemies.

6 Responses to “iOS 5 Tip: Enable Emojis”

  1. My aunt got her first smartphone ever (the iPhone 4) when it price dropped recently. I sent her a Pumpkin in iMessage, and she was so excited she had me go over to her house to install the Emoji keyboard. I also had to explain to her blue messages vs green messages. Overall she’s super happy.

  2. adeline Says:

    I have downloaded 2 different sets of emojis – where do they go ? I have the one you show as well as 2 others .. How can I find them ?

    • proudgeek Says:

      Wish I could help you, Adeline. Do you have more than 1 Emoji keyboards installed in your International keyboards settings? Keep in mind that some apps that say they would download and install emojis actually install something different – i.e., animated gifs (or links) that don’t work well with Messages and some other apps.

      • adeline Says:

        The is only one Emoji keyboard and no other option to add another one .. I can’t believe that no one else has had this same issue ?. Thanks for replying 😊

      • proudgeek Says:

        My mother actually has nearly exactly the same issue, and I need to remember to look into this whenever she visits – it’s annoying me to no end!

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