How to write with Emoji on your iPhone and Mac

In episode 2 of the Access Ninja Podcast, Rachel and I discussed the how blind users experience Emoji. Emoji are little symbols you can write with that range from faces like 😄 to objects like 🎉. They are very popular in Japan and are becoming increasingly popular everywhere else. In fact some people may be taking the craze a little bit far.

If you haven't tried writing with emoji before then follow these steps for writing with emoji on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.


1. Open the Settings app and navigate to General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards.

iPhone Keyboard Menu in Settings App with Keyboards circled in red.

2. Tap on Add New Keyboard...

3. Scroll down and tap on Emoji.

iPhone Add New Keyboard Menu in the Settings App with Emoji circled in red.

Now you can access the Emoji keyboard by tapping on the globe icon to the left of the spacebar. To switch back to your regular keyboard just tap on the globe icon again.

iPhone with the Next Keyboard button circled in red.


1. Hold Command + Control and press the spacebar.

This keyboard shortcut will bring up the Character Palette. In this window you can access arrow icons, math symbols, latin characters, and Emoji.
Screen shot of the Apple Character Palette. The emoji font is selected from a list.

2. Select emoji from the list.

3. Double click on the emoji you wish to use.

4. (Optional) Click the small window button for a more compact view.

You find this button in the top right corner of the Character Palette. If you end up using symbols or Emoji a lot it can save you some screen space and it defaults to a list of recently used symbols and Emoji
Screen shot of the small window version of the Character Palette.