Get Your Emoji Working While You Can

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If you want to enable emoji or emoticons system wide on your iPhone or iPod touch, you need to act fast. Apple has informed developers that as of today, the company will remove from the App Store all apps capable of enabling the emoji everywhere preference feature hidden in devices updated to 2.2 firmware.

Emoji is disabled by default in Apple's handhelds marketed outside Japan. Although Apple hasn't said why it will clear its shelves of the banned apps, speculation is that the company wants to stop developers from writing apps that access files residing outside their third-party apps.

According to Gary Fung, developer of Typing Genius-Get Emoji, which we reviewed recently, what happens now is Apple will reject during review any apps that enable emoji. Apple is currently removing apps that do not provide any functionality beyond unlocking emoji preference. Developers whose apps provide emoji as a secondary feature, such as Typing Genius-Get Emoji, must provide an update immediately.

It will take a few days before the updated apps make it through review and back into the store. In the meantime, you should get your emoji while the getting is good.

If you've already enabled emoji on your iPhone or iPod touch, Apple's policy change will not affect you, Fung says. In addition, emoji will still be enabled even after his app is updated. It most likely will remain enabled after firmware updates as well.

Prior to the 2.2 firmware update, enabling emoji on your device required your either jailbreaking it or embedding the emoji into a vcard.vcf and importing it. Under 2.2, third-party app devs could enable the hidden KeyboardEmojiEverywhere preference. Apple is making it clear that it wants devs to play nice.

AppCraver described how to enable emoji on your device in our review of Fung's Typing Genius-Get Emoji. Here's a quick recap about how to get your emoji working:

Launch Typing Genius-Get Emoji, or another third-party app with emoji as a secondary feature and close the app. Then go to Settings > General > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Japanese and slide the switch next to Emoji. The next time you pop up any keyboard, you’ll see a Globe icon next to the space bar. Tap that and you’re good to go.

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This app is not currently available in the App Store.

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