Tip: Quickly Insert Emoji Using iPhone Text Shortcuts

Everyone loves emoji, the cute little icons most commonly used in text messages. But inserting them can be a lumbering, multistep process. Here’s a much quicker way to insert emoji using the new text shortcuts feature on the iPhone. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below for a one-time setup. Then you’ll be able to instantly insert emoji by typing just a few characters.

1. Make sure you have emoji activated. They are not turned on by default (you only have to activate them once). Follow our instructions on activating them.

2. Once emoji are activated, open the iPhone’s Settings and tap General:

General in iPhone Settings

3. Scroll down and tap Keyboard:

4. Scroll down and tap: Add New Shortcut…:

5. In the field labeled Phrase, insert the emoji. (You can access the emoji keyboard by tapping the globe icon on the keyboard):

6. Now, in the shortcut field, type in a combination of characters that will turn into the emoji. Pick an uncommon combination of characters to help prevent accidental auto-correction from occuring, but also pick something that will help you remember the shortcut. For example, for a shortcut for the heart emoji, you may want to use the letters hht, as it’s not a common combination of letters and the two H’s will allow you to quickly type the characters.

7. To finish, tap Save:

And that’s it. To test your new emoji shortcut, type in your shortcut anywhere you can enter text on the iPhone, tap spacebar, and your cute little emoji will appear!


  • Emoji first gained popularity in Japan, but thanks to the iPhone, they are growing in use in the US. Even Gmail now supports them.
  • Did you know that you can use emoji in the names of your app folders? For example, you could use the hamburger emoji to label a folder of restaurant apps.

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