Bugs: AT&T iPhone can send emoji to Verizon iPhone, but not the other way around

A rather interesting bug has been discovered: emoji sent over SMS between Verizon iPhone and AT&T iPhones is not recognized both ways - Verizon can receive from AT&T, but not vice versa.

When a Verizon iPhone texts emoji to an AT&T iPhone, all that is received is a bunch of random characters. However, a Verizon iPhone will recognize emoji sent from an AT&T iPhone with no problem. This inability to interpret emoji is only an issue with the messages app, however. An AT&T iPhone can recognize emoji elsewhere, like email and twitter, just fine - even if the emoji was sent from a Verizon iPhone.

Anyone else run into this problem?

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Leanna Lofte

Former app and photography editor at iMore, Leanna has since moved on to other endeavors. Mother, wife, mathamagician, even though she no longer writes for iMore you can still follow her on Twitter @llofte.

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Bugs: AT&T iPhone can send emoji to Verizon iPhone, but not the other way around


It's not a bug, it's a network issue. AT&T is able to send and receive UTF8 characters (emojis) within their network and outside of their network. Verizon can send and receive UTF8 characters only within their own network, it can receive UTF8 characters from outside of its network but cannot send UTF8 characters outside of its network.
I've read that sending emojis through MMS works, but have not tried it yet.

My cousin and his wife just got VZW iPhone 4's and they both have successfully sent MMS to my AT&T iPhone 4.

I thought it was just my phone. I have the same problem. I have a Verizon iPhone and my friend has an AT&T iPhone and doesn't receive emoji symbols. But I can send emoji to another Verizon iPhone and they receive it just fine.

Yes. Ive read this is an issue with Verizon allows to be sent from their network. Through emails and twitter people are able to view it because they're not using the "phone" they're using the Internet. My friends just use WhatsApp so we can have our same conversations and they can use their emojis. It was annoying to not receive them through text, but now we don't text anymore lol.

Clever Anna
And Sam, anyone that spends money and enters into a contract for a phone that is 2/3rds of the way through its life cycle on a CDMA network that is a dead end because of LTE, needs their head examined. I can see doing it if you Blog for life. But for personal use you're an idiot. And if the phone came out a week before the next generation model, that POS carrier would still be locking people into contracts with last years phone right up to the release date of the new one. And you can't compare 1,500k down to 5,300k down.

You guys need to quit this phone wars crap. Honestly it all boils down to service. Where I currently live (Denver) I get great reception with Verizon, my neighbor has the same phone as me (iphone4) and is with AT&T and he literally has to stand next to his fridge in his house to get reception. So the reason why you should choose one over the other is DEAD SIMPLE-Who do you get better service with where you spend the majority of your time at(for me its at my house especially since I have no land line).So it dosen't matter that AT&T does in fact have a faster network if you can't even get service at your own home. Thats my 2 cents

How do you expect voice to work when Voice over LTE won't be enabled until 2012 in order to make an LTE only phone? You're better off grabbing the iPhone for the network that works better locally.

Hahaha they are crap. My son's mom tried to talk abt my service cuz she gets all her bars n her house on her V-i4 and i only gad 1. I told it doesnt matter i can still surf the web and talk at the same time. She thought she could do it to but she got her boots smoked haha

Ya but whats funny is you apparently don't have better time than posting comments on things you supposedly think are a waste of time!!!

You guys are just figuring this out now? Next you will point out that group messages don't work and maybe next to the fact that iOS 4.2.6 has Exchange Active sync issues?

Welcome to the conversation.
This has been an issue with sending emoji characters between AT&T and T-Mobile U.S. ever since emoji became popular here in the U.S. It apparently works a little better than what you're now experiencing, but it still doesn't work perfectly. (SMS messages get broken up into multiple messages if emoji characters are sent.)
Maybe you can broaden the conversation to include jailbroken iPhone users on T-Mobile. In other words, what happens when someone on T-Mobile U.S. sends emoji to a Verizon user?

It doesn't have to be turned on one device to be able to see it. If the AT&T iPhone didn't have the emoji download they can still see it on safari twitter email etc , leanna said. Rturo Aldo mentioned that verizon can't sent UTF8 ( emoji ) outside of their network.

verizon still # 1 at network come on guys stop comparing everybody knows verizon is the best since long long time ago

hi, maybe irrelevant but how to turn on emoji on my iphone 4 running 4.2.1 ?
thx do i need to install additional software or smth ?

There's an easy work around... Turn the subject line on in Settings>Messages> Change "Show Subject Line" to ON. Emoji should work if you just add a subject.

My hubby just got the Verizon iPhone and we are both happy now. Yeah, the phone is 7 months old but my husband hasn't upgraded his line in like 5 years. So he will probably keep that phone until it dies....literally. I take small victories where I can get them.

It is not related to the iPhone, it is related to how the networks pass extended character sets in SMS when the SMS messages enter and leave their network. Each company treats extended character sets differently when they come and go from their network.
Extended character sets work within a single provide network fine. But when the traffic enters and exits the providers systems, there is where the problem occurs.
Not related to the type of phone at all.

I cannot find the app in the app store do download and convert the emojis. Am i missing something or is it no longer available in the US?

I own a jailbroken iphone 4 and HAD THE SAME PROBLEM!!! I've been looking for the answer to the problem for 2 hours now and found this....thanks!!! I've been trying to send emoticons to friends with iphones and them receiving garble. But I receive them fine....just could not figure it out. Restarted and hard restated my device. I downloaded free ones, checked the cydia store, and even bought one for .99! I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I hope this helps others as well.

I have a verizon iphone and i have ran into this problem. Im trying to find an app that can solve this problem..

Wow, you would think some people who post here work for Att or Verizon, or even maybe own the company!
These are your carriers who you pay monthly to, defending them like they are your "team" is ridiculous.
On to more positive point...
Best response from Fraydog. I had the same problem as everyone, (my emoji on verizon would not get to my GF's on Att), as soon as I turned the subject line on it started working. Not much hassle and you don't have to enter any subject on that line (who puts subject on a text anyways,? but I digress), as long as it is turned on it works. Thanks Fraydog.

Verizon just fixed this issue. You can now send emoji between from a Verizon iPhone to one on AT&T

So I have iPhone 4, my bf also and my mom the 3G. I'm the one on AT&T, they are both on simple mobile. They can RECEIVE my emoji but I can not receive theirs. All I get is (*)

Same here man... I tried multiple ways and nothing. Word is that t mobiles network cant support emoji over sms unfortunately :(

i have the g2 for tmobile and i receive the emoji smileys but when i send them back all they get is squares or starts.. even question marks.. wtf .. sucks

ment to say when i recieve emoji smileys from iphone i get them but when i reply with emoji smileys they get jiberish

I have the same problem. However the carrier I use is Simple Mobile (branch of T-mobile I heard). I receive emoji from ATT people, but they do not get the emoji I send them. :(

It works now I have AT&T n my friend Verizon we can send them back n forth with no problems possibly ios 5 took care of it not sure but I can receive them from a Verizon iPhone

No one that I've sent my emoji to even if they have a verizon phone is able to recieve my emoji.. It just shows up as little black dots. I've even tried to to email from my phone to their computers and it still isn't working.

I have an iPhone for Verizon and when I put an emoji on twitter it shows up as a tweet but when I try to put it in my bio it never shows, its so annoying !

I just upgraded from a 3GS to a 4GS. My husband had a 4G. We both have AT&T and now I can only receive emoticons from him. When I send mine he gets little squares. Has anyone had this problem and how can we fix it?

Actually it's vice versa I have AT&T and I can recive emojis from a Verizon iPhone. Its when I send and Emoji to my boyfriends Verizon iPhone that he can't see them.

I have an iPhone 5s on the Sprint network. My mom recently got a new phone on AT&T. She can see my emoticons fine but when she tries to send them to me all I see are a bunch of question marks. Is this a similar issue?