Daily Tip: How to setup Emoji keyboard shortcuts in iOS 5

Curious about how to make it easier to insert Emoji icons into a text message, email or iMessage? It turns out there's a great workaround to switching between the normal keyboard and the Emoji keyboard, navigating to the emoticon you're looking for, then switching back to the normal keyboard to resume your message. In this tip, we'll show you how to use Emoji much more efficiently using keyboard shortcuts in iOS 5.

Before getting started, you'll have to enable the Emoji keyboard from within the Settings app.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your Home screen
  2. Tap General settings
  3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard
  4. Next, tap International Keyboards
  5. Tap Add New Keyboard
  6. Now, just scroll down a bit until you see the option for Emoji and tap it

At this point, your keyboard setup will allow you to switch over to the Emoji keyboard by tapping the small globe next to the 123 button.

Emoji Keyboard -- Tap Globe Next To 123 Button

All you have to do next is setup your own custom keyboard shortcuts for emoticons now that you have the Emoji keyboard enabled.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your Home screen
  2. Tap General settings
  3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard
  4. At the very bottom of the Keyboard settings pane, tap Shortcuts
  5. Tap the '+' button in the upper right-hand corner
  6. In the Phrase field, call up the Emoji keyboard (see above for instructions) and select your desired emoticon
  7. Input the specific shortcut you'd like to use for the corresponding emoticon

That's it! This tip saves boatloads of time when trying to input Emoji and it's a total no-brainer with the new keyboard shortcut feature in iOS 5.

Thanks @kcmon for the tip!

Daily Tips range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you’d like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com.

Daily Tip: How to setup emoji shortcuts in iOS 5

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Andrew Wray

Andrew Wray is a Salt Lake City, Utah based writer who focuses on news, how-tos, and jailbreak. Andrew also enjoys running, spending time with his daughter, and jamming out on his guitar. He works in a management position for Unisys Technical Services, a subsidiary of Unisys Corporation.

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Daily Tip: How to setup Emoji keyboard shortcuts in iOS 5


this is weird. i tried that and it says i cannot enter emoji in the phrase field. how did you do it? which phone and OS are you on? I am on 4S with 5.0.1

But when you send a message to non iOS users they won't see anything if you use the the original smileys as the shortcut. They won't be replaced by :)

Yup. This would be such a great idea if when the recipient was using a non-iOS device, they saw the shortcut you entered. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way and all they see is some weird symbol.

You can deactivate the emoji keyboard once you have setup the shortcuts and you get the space back on the keyboard. All still works

How completely pointless.
So your saying that for a crying smiley pressing '123', :, *, ( (4 key presses) saves 'boatloads' of time compared to pressing Globe, Crying Smily (2 key presses).
I would say it takes twice as long!

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Hi, I had done this a long time ago, but I only ever use 18=20 emoji so set them up as follows. It's easier to back out symbols I don't want, and my keyboard is not cluttered. A BIG advantage since my fingers are fAt.
emojii — all that i use
flagg — the 4-5 I use like French and Pirate
bodyy —the 4-5 I use like thumbs up, muscle, eyes, ears, nose
By the way this also works great if you occasionally use foreign phrases but don't want the extra key in your way all the time.
Another tip: I live in TimbuktuyobamaSan, WA and typing it's a pain so I have the following shortcuts:
adr — Full snail address
tii— TimbuktuyobamaSan, WA (haha you get it)
wa — WA
waa — Washington
eml — primary email address
gml — gmail email address
yml — yahoo email address
oml — office email address
Lots more like that. Real time savers. Admittedly a bit kludge but you get used to them fast.

I have a new question. I used www.emoticonize.com to create some custom .gif files. How do I get them into the "Phrase" field on my iPhone keyboard shortcuts? I mailed them to myself and tried copy/paste but didn't work.
Anyone figures that one out (without downloading another app and without jailbreak) I (and all my friends in TimbuktuyobamaSan) would be grateful!