iOS 12 Complete Guide: Tips, Tricks and How-Tos for Your iPhone

How to Use Emojis in iOS 12

iOS is jam-packed with emoji — even more so since iOS 12.1 added 70 more emoji that include everything from llama to Frisbees. But all those emoji won't do you any good if you don't know where to find them or how to browse through iOS 12's extensive collection.

The good news is that finding emoji is pretty easy once you know where to look. And in one built-in iOS 12 app, there's even a shortcut to finding just the write emoji to express what you want to say. Here's how to make the most of iOS 12's emojis.—Philip Michaels

How to access emoji

1. Go to any app that uses iOS 12's built-in keyboard. (In this example, we'll use Notes.) Most iPhones display a smiley face icon to the left of the space bar, wedged in between the button for switching the keyboard to a numeric layout and the dictation key. Tap that to bring up the emoji keyboard.

If you've installed another language's keyboard on your iPhone — I have a Spanish keyboard on my SE, you'll see a globe icon instead of a smiley face one. Tap it to cycle through to the emoji keyboard, or if you have a lot of different keyboards installed, just long-press and tap the shortcut to go to the emoji keyboard.

2. Once you select the emoji keyboard, your QWERTY keys will make way for a seemingly endless array of symbols. By default, you'll see the most frequently used emojis, but you can also swipe left to see more emojis in a given category. (From Frequently Used, swiping left will show you Smileys & People.

3. You can also change categories by tapping the row of icons at the very bottom of your phone screen. Categories include:

  • Smileys & People
  • Animals & Nature
  • Food & Drink
  • Activity
  • Travel & Places
  • Objects
  • Symbols
  • Flags

How to change the look of an emoji

By default, faces and hand gestures appear are yellow. If you want your emoji to have a skin tone that's closer to yours, just long-press on the emoji you want and different versions of that emoji in an array of skin tones will appear.

Male emojis will include options with facial hair when you long-press on them, too.

Replacing emoji in your texts

Let's be honest: no one has time to scroll through all the emojis Apple includes in iOS 12. Fortunately, if you're using Messages, there's a trick for replacing  your words with an appropriate emoji, and it just takes mere taps instead of endless swiping.

1. Type out your message.

2. Tap the smiley face icon (or the globe icon if that's what's on your iPhone).

3. Words that can be replaced by emoji will turn orange, using an eye-catching animation.

4. Tap the word and the correct emoji will appear in its place.