How to Find & Use the Emoji Keyboard on an iPhone & iPad

Here's how to find and use your iPad and iPhone emoji keyboard. Apple offers happy, cute, smiley, and holiday emojis, and thousands more free iOS emoji! Let's learn how to find and use the emoji keyboard on your iPhone for text messages, social media posts, and more. This way, you won't have to copy and paste emoji; just click to add them to your text. 

Related: Why Is My iPhone Emoji Keyboard Stuck? How To Get Back to the Text Keyboard

How to Get the Emoji Keyboard on Your iPhone & iPad

We've already gone over how to use emoji shortcuts, how to make a Memoji, and how to make Animoji. Now, let's answer the question, "where is the emoji keyboard?" For more tutorials about how to use emoji, check out our free Tip of the Day. 

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How to Enable the Emoji Keyboard & Predictive Text

The first thing to do in order to get emojis working on your phone is to make sure the emoji keyboard on your iPhone is enabled. 

  1. Open the Settings app.

    iphone settings
  2. Tap General, then Keyboard.

    keyboard faces
  3. Now, tap Keyboards.

    emoji download
  4. If you don't see Emoji in your keyboard list, tap Add New Keyboard.

    add a new iphone keyboard
  5. Tap Emoji.

    get emoji keyboard on iphone
  6. Go back to Keyboards and make sure Predictive is toggled on.

    emoji copy paste

How to Use the iPhone Emoji Keyboard

Now that your emoji keyboard is enabled, you can start using it in any app that uses the standard iPhone keyboard. This includes native apps like Mail and Messages, as well as lots of third-party apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and many more. To begin, open the app you've chosen:

  1. Tap the text field, then tap the smiley face icon. 

    tap the smiley emoji to open the emoji keyboard
  2. Scroll left to see all your options, including Frequently Used, Smileys & People, Animals & Nature, and more. 

    emoji app
  3. Tap an icon under the emoji menu to move to another category.

    emoji category menu
  4. Once you've found the emoji you want, tap it to add it to the text field.

    apple emoji

If you change your mind, you can delete the emoji as you would any other text.

How to Replace Text with iPad & iPhone Emoji

There's an even easier way to use emojis in the Messages app; your iPhone offers suggestions of words that can be replaced with emojis.

  1. Type your message in the text field, then tap the smiley face icon to open the emoji keyboard.

    emoji images
  2. Some of the words in your message will turn orange; tap one or more of them, and an emoji will appear in place of the text. 

    emoji copy and paste

How to Use Predictive Emojis 

Your iPhone will also offer emoji options as you type, sometimes more than one option! Remember when you toggled on Predictive a few minutes ago? Here's where that setting comes in handy.

  1. Start typing in the text field, keeping an eye on the predictive text suggestions under the text box.
  2. When you type a word that can be replaced by an emoji, you'll see one or more suggestions to the right of the predictive text suggestions.
  3. Tap one of your options to replace a word with an emoji.

    free emojis
  4. If you would rather have the emoji follow the word, tap the space bar and then tap the emoji suggestion.


You can replace multiple words in each message with emojis, the only limit being how annoyed the recipient may become from all this cuteness. 

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for iPhone Life, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps iPhone Life Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.