How to Add Emoji to Your iPhone Keyboard

It's easy to get emoji on your iPhone

What to Know

  • To enable emoji, open the Settings app and go to General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard. Tap Emoji to enable the keyboard.
  • To use emoji, tap the face or globe icon beneath the keyboard when typing a message. Tap any emoji icon to add it to the text.
  • To remove the emoji keyboard, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Edit. Select the red minus button next to Emoji > Delete.

The iPhone includes hundreds of emoji, all accessible and completely free—provided you enabled the built-in emoji keyboard. In this guide, we show you how to enable, use, and remove emoji on all iPhone, iPad, and iPhone touch devices with iOS 7 or later.

How to Enable Emoji on iPhone

To add emoji to your iPhone, install a new keyboard, which is as easy as selecting the emoji keyboard from the phone's settings.

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Go to General > Keyboard.

    Three iOS screens showing Settings icon, General button, and Keyboard button
  3. Select Keyboards > Add New Keyboard.

  4. Swipe through the list until you find Emoji, and then tap it to enable it.

    Three iOS screens showing Keyboards, Add New Keyboard, and Emoji buttons

On the Keyboards screen, you'll see the language keyboard you chose at the initial setup of your iPhone, as well as the emoji keyboard. This means that emoji are enabled and ready to use.

How to Use Emoji on iPhone

With emoji added to your iPhone, you can now type emojis in practically any app. It won't work in all apps because some use a custom keyboard, but others like Messages, Notes, and Mail will work.

With the keyboard open, select the face or globe icon beneath the keyboard (on iPhone X) or to the left of the space bar to access the emoji menu.

To view all the emoji, scroll to the right or select an icon at the bottom to jump to that category of emoji (categories were introduced in iOS 8.3). Inserting an emoji in a message is as simple as selecting where you want it to go and then tapping the emoji from the tray.

iPhone emoji keyboard in Mail and Reminders

To hide the emoji keyboard and return to the normal layout, tap the globe or alphabet key.

How to Use Multicultural Emoji

For years, the standard set of emoji available on the iPhone featured only white traits, like white faces and white hands. Apple worked with the Unicode Consortium, the group that controls emoji, to change the standard set to reflect a more diverse selection.

However, you have to perform a keyboard trick to see the multicultural options. Here's how:

These steps are relevant for devices with iOS 8.3 or newer.

  1. Open the emoji keyboard from an app that supports it.

  2. Find an emoji that's a single human face or hand, and tap and hold it.

  3. With the new menu visible, slide your finger up into the panel to land on the emoji you want to use, and then lift your finger to insert the hidden emoji.

    Two iOS screens showing multicultural emoji options

How to Remove the Emoji Keyboard

If you decide you don't want to use emoji anymore and want to hide the keyboard, return to the keyboard settings to make the change.

These instructions show how to hide the emoji keyboard, not delete it, so you can always enable it again later.

  1. Open the Settings app and go to General > Keyboard > Keyboards.

  2. Tap Edit at the top and then select the red minus button next to Emoji.

  3. Select Delete.

    Three iOS screens showing Emoji button, red delete circle and red Delete button in Keyboard settings
  • How do I reset the keyboard on an iPhone?

    To clear your iPhone keyboard history, you need to reset the keyboard dictionary via Settings. Go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone. Tap Reset > Reset Keyboard Dictionary and enter your passcode if prompted. Tap Reset Dictionary.

  • How do I make the iPhone keyboard bigger?

    To make your iPhone keyboard bigger, go to Settings > Display & Brightness > View. Under Display Zoom, select Zoomed. This will make your entire user interface, including the keyboard, larger.

  • How do I get a GIF keyboard for iPhone?

    To send GIFs on an iPhone running iOS 10 or later, start a new message and tap the red magnifying glass. To find a specific GIF or topic, enter a term in the Find Images field. Tap a GIF to add it to your message.

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