Express Yourself with the Colorful Emoji in Android KitKat

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 11 Nov 2013

Android users, your days of missing out on half the context of text messages from 14-year-old girls are over. They added real, honest-to-god support for the colorful little icons known as emoji. Making them a built-in part of the official keyboard app. In Android versions past, getting to the emoji was like navigating a rainforest in the dark. With Android 4.1, you typed words like smile picked a picture from the word suggestion list. You had to memorize all the command words. On Android 4.2 4.3, you had to long press the spacebar to select the input method. You have installed the pack did the faux emojis look like everyone else’s. Now in KitKat, they’re easier to get to and look like the colorful icons mobile users have come to expect.
A salute to the old emoji of Android past.

Hidden in the keyboard

The latest version of the Keyboard rolled out  with emoji support, but you actually need KitKat to use them in their entirety. Those not on Android 4.4 will see a severely limited list of characters, as exhibited in the screenshot below.

What emoji look like on the Moto X with the new Keyboard update.

To enable emojis, you’ll have to install a specific keyboard pack. Head into the language Input panel in Settings. Tap on the settings for the Keyboard and scroll to the bottom to select Add-on dictionaries. Tap on Emoji for English words, and Android will begin to install the language pack on your system. If you don’t see the option, go back into the language Input settings disable; use system language under Input languages.

Select Emoji for English words from the Add-on dictionaries in the Android Settings panel.

Hidden Emojis

Android’s emoji support is well hidden. It took a few rounds of tap-and-hold to figure out how to get to them. Hold down on the Return key in any text entry field and select the Smiley Face icon. The Keyboard will display the emoji in all their glory. You can tap through the varying categories to choose what you need. Or select the clock icon to see the one you most recently used.

Hold down the Return key to bring up the little smiley face icon that leads you to the emoji.

Not Like iOS’s

The emoji your friends see on iOS only slightly resemble the ones that Android uses. Here’s a quick comparison of emojis across both platforms.

Emojis on Android on top, bottom emoji as seen on iOS.
From left to right, emoji on Android and on iOS.
From left to right, emoji emoticons on Android and on iOS.

It’s a relief to know that Android users won’t be left out of dressing up their texts. And emails with cute character icons.