How to add emoticons (emojis) to your old iPhone.

My niece has an iPhone 5. I do not. I have an iPhone 4. The iPhone 5 has built in emoticons you can use in your text messages. Mine does not.

So my niece takes great joy in adding emoticons to every text message she sends me. And we’re not talking your average smiley face. She adds goats and cities and bulging biceps.

I should probably clarify here about what an emoji is. An emoji is a small animation you can add into your text messages or emails. People usually call them emoticons, but they’re actually called emoji’s. Emoticons are using your keyboard to create a replica of facial expressions or emotions. Like this πŸ™‚ or this πŸ™ Or the more elaborate Japanese emoticons I showed you yesterday.

I was so upset about not having emoticons I took to making my own.

Face Emoji


THEN I discovered that the older iPhones DO have the ability to add hundreds of different emojis to your texts, emails and tweets! You just have to know how to enable them.

1.  Go to settings.



2. Hit General.



3. Hit  Keyboard.



4.  Hit Keyboards.




5.  Select Add New Keyboard.




6.  Select Emoji




7.  The page will automatically go back to your keyboard page showing you your new keyboard.




8.  Start a new email or text message.  When you want to insert an emoji hit the globe.




9.  Add your emojis.





I still think *my* personalized photo emojis are much more unique and interesting, but until I can figure out a way to twist myself into a  “goat” or “red touch tone phone with push buttons”,  I’m gonna stick to the ones that came with the iPhone.


  1. Marti says:

    Wow! I feel so… (o_o). I had gotten (o=o) of having mediocre emoji, but now I know.

    Actually, I’m impressed at the quality of the tutorial. Great job, Karen! When I wake up in the morning, I’m doing this first thing!

  2. Marti says:

    No, no, I won’t even wait that long! That was super-easy!

  3. Emily says:

    Now I have one more reason for my daughters to call me “dork” LOL I love it !

  4. Linda Baker says:

    Thanks so much Karen for the simple step by step..

  5. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    Good one Karen!…how fun! Thank you!

  6. Suanne Jefferies says:

    Hmmmmm….well, for SOME of us not privy to the “elite” (those who have iPhones)….does anyone know how to add these to a Droid smart phone?

  7. Dana says:

    How fitting is it that my niece showed me the same thing a couple of weeks ago too? And of course I’ve had the iphone for two years and she just recently got her hands on an ipad and discovered everything… (Yes, same thing applies on ipads)

  8. Elizabeth says:

    Haha, I LOVE your “homemade” emojis! I actually make little movie quizzes for my sister using emojis. Here’s a link if anyone wants to play the game:

  9. Lisa says:

    I have an iPhone 5 and I had no clue how others were using these. I had to enable it on my phone too! Thanks, Karen! I’m still learning how to get the most out of this thing.

  10. Kelly says:

    Thanks for the info…..I have an ifon3 and it worked also. I keep getting the handmi downs from my kids so I’m really behind the times πŸ™

  11. cred says:

    My daughter texts her friends on her ipod, so I thought I’d grab it while she was sleeping and add the emoji keyboard for her. I thought I could show her how cool her mom is but when I went to add a keyboard, she had already enabled emoji as a 2nd keyboard. Crap! not that cool, I guess. I was hoping be one up on my kid… not a chance (>_<)

  12. J9 says:

    Say whaaaaaaat! Off to change my settings!

  13. AnnW says:

    You are the best! Another way for me to confound my daughter! We need more tutorials like this! Ann

  14. Auntiepatch says:

    You are so funny! This is why I open your email FIRST every morning!

  15. Shannon Floyd says:

    I always wondered where people got those things!

  16. Linda says:

    THANK YOU Karen! I’ve added it to my iPod!!! Now to impress the daughter…heehee

  17. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I just have a regular cheap phone..I use my phone to make phone calls..but if I did have an iPhone I would want the Karen emoticons..

  18. DianneT says:

    Great tutorial-just did it!! And just texted my daughter and threw in an emoji! I wonder if she’ll notice…

  19. Maureen says:


  20. Norma Jo says:

    Cool. I did it. Even I could follow the instructions. Much thanks!!

  21. Nicki Woo says:

    Or. . .you can ask your best friends husband to do it, that works too:) And I, my friend, have an Iphone 3GS. My daughter says its ancient, but hey, it works just fine to me. I call it my shabby chic phone.

  22. Barbie says:

    If you had any idea how LONG I have wanted to have this app! I knew it was probably something really easy but never tried to hard or knew anyone to ask! You just made my day! I was kinda depressed and now I am not! I just sent my daughter about three txts using it and she is probably laughing her butt off at work!!

  23. karen says:

    I particularly like your smiley face! How do we add that to emoji???

  24. sera says:

    oooooooooh!!! my friend did this for me on my iphone, but I didn’t know how to set my mom’s up. (smacks forehead) Is there an emoji for smacking the forehead???

  25. sera says:

    and yes. I love your personalized photo emojis!!

  26. amy says:

    Loved the post. My teens will be proud. Thanks so much for the simple layout of your post. So EASY to follow.

  27. Linda S says:

    Wow Karen, aren’t you the clever one!!! Not the most helpful post for me personally, because, wait for it…..I DON’T have a cell phone!!! I am sure I am the only person on the planet, who does not have one. And why, yes, small contributions are appreciated, although not necessary.

  28. Jess says:

    Thanks! U R the B’s knees!

  29. Jeanne says:

    Done. I ahve the 4s and there are awesome emotes. I’m having fun with them already. THANK YOU it was a perfect tut to get it going!! (^._.^)~

  30. Charlene says:

    And it works with my iPad2! So cool. Thanks, Karen!!! Made my day!!!

  31. Playfull Genie Muse says:

    Wow! Thank you SO much!!!!! I’ve found cupcakes!!

  32. Angela says:

    Thanks for this tutorial! I’ve wondered how to get these ever since I got my iPhone 4. BTW, I really enjoy your website!

  33. Mrs. Honey says:

    Thanks! I’ve been trying to figure out how to add these forever! So much fun.

  34. Caron says:

    I had forgotten about this post until I realised I couldn’t find my emoticons. Thank you so much – love your tutorials, they are awesome!

    (p.s. this works for iPhone 5)

  35. amy watson says:

    I think my out of date iphone 3gs is why I don’t have the emoji keyboard option πŸ™ sad….I wanted to play too …..

  36. Elaine says:

    Thank you for the help!! Had to reset the phone & lost those icons

  37. Paola says:

    Androids can only do it with an app called can use when. You are using your registration keyboard you don’t have to download a whole other texting app!!

  38. Danee says:

    Thank you so much!

  39. Lynne Galli says:

    Wow Karen,
    Thanks for the great tutorial on adding emojis to the 4S. It was so easy.

  40. Dhinesh says:

    Actually I’m using 3GS and I don’t find the Emoji keyboard ..
    Pls help me out.. I too need to have some fun Karen .. ;-(

  41. kuni says:

    I don’t have the emoji keyboard option in my iphone 3gs………..

  42. stefano Gatto says:

    Does not work on 3sgs!

  43. Taracharan says:

    I am very much glad to get imoji on your direction. Now how I can get thumb imoji?

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