How to Turn on Emoji Icons on the iPhone

By Diana V. Faustmann

If you're aching to use picture characters in your messages to highlight your moods and emotions, you're in luck. If you'd rather show an airplane than spell it out, you can access picture characters, or emoticons, through a Japanese Emoji keyboard. While only iPhones sold in Japan have the Emoji keyboard built in, you can install one on your device using a free or paid third-party app. While Emoji apps differ in emoticon range and style, you use their keyboards in basically the same, straightforward way on your iPhone.

Step 1

Tap the "App Store" icon on your Home screen. Tap the "Search" icon at the bottom and then key in "Emoji" in the search bar above. Review your choices. Tap your app of choice and then its "Price" or "Free" button. Log into your iTunes account if prompted and then wait a few seconds while the app downloads onto your iPhone.

Step 2

Locate the "Emoji" app on your Home screen. Tap to open it and read specific instructions on how to proceed. Generally, the app will ask you to tap a button or two to install its keyboard and then instruct you on how to enable it through your settings.

Step 3

Tap "Settings" on your Home screen and then "General." Scroll down to tap "Keyboard." Select "International Keyboards," "Add New Keyboard" and finally, "Emoji." This activates a new Emoji keyboard on your iPhone.

Step 4

Use your new Emoji keyboard when writing notes, texts and emails. To access it, tap the "Globe" icon located on your regular keyboard's lower left, between the "123" key and "Space" bar. Browse through the new keyboard's emoticons and then tap to insert one into your text. Tap the "Globe" icon again to return to your regular keyboard.

Tips & Warnings

  • Given the wide range of Emoji apps available, ask for recommendations at your favorite forums or pay close attention to the ratings that the App Store provides in its listing, especially if you're looking to buy one.
  • Some Emoji apps provide animated emoticons.