Hack Enables Japanese Emoji Icons on iPhone Firmware 2.2; No longer Restricted to Japan’s SoftBank Network

iPhone Firmware 2.2 - Emoji icons

iPhone users can create and view messages with Emoji icons with iPhone Firmware 2.2, it was one of the undocumented features of iPhone firmware 2.2. But it is available only to iPhone users on Japan’s SoftBank network.

If you are not in Japan and were disappointed to find out that you will not be able to use the Emoji icons then there is some good news for you.

An Irish iPhone developer, Steven Troughton-Smith has figured out a way to enable it on the iPhone using a simple hack.

To be honest, I first heard about Emoji icons when we had reported that
Emoji icons could be one of the features in iPhone firmware 2.2 as the beta
version of iPhone firmware 2.2 had revealed emoticons in a single artwork file in the UIKit.framework.

Emoji icons, the Japanese name for the picture characters or emoticons used in messages are apparently very popular in the Japanese mobile market. The lack of features like Emoji icons and ability to watch live TV were cited as one of the reasons for the slow sales in Japan.

Apple has addressed that shortcoming in iPhone firmware 2.2 but the feature is available only to iPhone users on the Japan’s SoftBank network.

However, if you can follow these steps to enable it on your jailbroken iPhone:

"You need to edit the file /User/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Preferences.plist on the device -> whether you use a jailbreak to achieve this or merely some iTunes backup editor is up to you.

Add the following boolean key as ‘true’: KeyboardEmojiEverywhere

Then merely go to the Keyboards section of the Settings app, hit Japanese, and turn on Emoji."

Troughton-Smith points out:

Will work for any text field/view in the OS, including on websites, AND including the titles of items on SpringBoard (e.g. if you save a bookmark to the home screen).

Once you get this to work remember that the recipients phone should also support Emoji icons.

I haven’t tried this hack so please proceed with caution and remember to take the necessary backups before proceeding.

Do you plan to try this hack? If yes, tell us your favorite Emoji icon.

[Steven Troughton-Smith’s blog via Gizmodo]

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  • Love my iPhone

    If you are hesitated to modify/edit plist file, there is app in Cydia called "Emoji". Just install it and enable the japanese keyboard from settings.

  • @Love my iPhone,

    Thanks for the tip!

  • jerry

    Who cares?? Really…

  • Love my iPhone

    @ jerry

    It is fun… you can actually do a lot of things with it… such as:

    1) If you have Make it Mine installed, then you can use any of those icons to replace your carrier name

    2) You can also add these icons to your contacts

    3) Basically you can add these icons to anywhere you can type…..


  • Jerry

    Love my Iphone – Get a life!

    Here's something interesting for ya…I just threw 2-pair of fucking old rubber boots into the firepit outside my house (they've been in the basement for years..too many fucking holes in them). Jesus you should have seen the smoke! It was as black as Toby's arse!


  • Jean

    i thinks is one of the best hacks out there l love it theres so many icons to choose from when you are texting,sending email and writing in my note pad i love it and it works perfectly

  • PuppyPR

    Thanks "Love my iPhone", installed the Cydia app, everything works perfect and is easier.

  • Ulises

    When you send a SMS to someone with an iPhone, can they also see the emojicons? And vice versa

  • @Ulises,

    Yes but the recipient should also have enabled it using the hack or have "Emoji" app installed as Love my iPhone suggested.

  • Flame Red


    My wife has 2.2 installed, but her phone is not Jailbroken and these Emoji's showed up in SMS I sent her.

  • steve

    if you text any other make of phone other than a iphone they justed receive squares in text pointless really

  • ulises

    @flame red

    that's really odd, i have tried to send to non-jailbroken iphones and they dont receive them. im just wondering what u did differently to make it work for you. do you have a 2g or 3g. did you install using cydia or the other method?

  • Love my iPhone

    Recipient doesn't have to be jailbroken nor have Emoji enabled. But I believe they need to be on v2.2 (I can confirm iPhone 2G can receive these emoji).

  • exodus

    i have my 2.2 installed on my iphone2g…i can't find the emoji application in cydia??

  • Jillian

    What happened to Toby's arse?

  • Egypt (mike)

    could i get emoji on 2.1? If so how? btw iphonehacks did u get me second email?

  • freakin pissed

    isnt apple so great to japan! giving them emoji icons because they wanted it.and how about us in the u.s.a did he give us anything worth while.NO steve jobs suck a nut u ass im not buyin your next freakin phone come june 2009 for 2 yrs u cant give the people what we need and want that even a free phone has!!!! u suck dick! 2 yrs!!! cant even forward a god damn txt or get a pic or video from anyone

  • Arthur

    I found out this software that enables emoji in one click … Nice.

  • You can use a FREE app from iTunes to unlock these iemoji also! I posted the instructions on my blog page below if anyone wants to try. It works on my iPhone 3G and you can delete the app after you unlock it.