By Tracey Dowdy
If you’ve ever scrolled through your emoji and wished for a little more variety, you’re in luck. There’s no need to be stuck in a rut – there are scores of emoji keyboards users can download for both operating systems with everything from animated emoji to gifs to stickers to themes.
Here are a few emoji keyboards for iPhone and Android users to check out and change up their text messaging. Enjoy!
Bitmoji will be familiar to Snapchat users but is compatible with other apps as well. Users can create a cartoon avatar that looks just like you and adds another personalization level as your Bitmoji is incorporated into most stickers. For Android, you have the option to install it manually or through the Bitmoji app. Once you sign up within the app, tap the Globe icon to open the Keyboard tab and follow the prompts to enable the keyboard. To manually set it up, install the app and go to Settings. From there, tap Languages and input > Virtual (or On-screen keyboard) > Manage Keyboards > toggle on Bitmoji Keyboard. Free for iOS and Android.
Kika’s keyboard offers a jillion – okay, maybe just thousands – of emoji, fonts, gifs, stickers, and custom keyboard themes. It even has Kika predictive emoji and an emoji dictionary. The gifs work on social media platforms, and users can upload photos as the background to your keyboard. For Android, go to Settings > Languages and input > Virtual (or On-screen keyboard) > Manage Keyboards. For iOS, download the app, then choose Settings > General > Keyboard > Turn on Kika. You’ll also need to allow full access to use all the keyboard’s features. Free for iOS and Android.
Gboard (free for Android and iOS) lets you search for specific emoji, track your most-used emoji, add stickers to your texts, and use gifs and old-fashioned emoticons. To use Gboard, download it from the App Store or Google Play. Go into your Settings and tap Enable (Android) or Get Started (iOS). Note, Apple is notoriously proprietary about third-party apps, so you’ll need to manually enable permissions to use most of the features.
The most intuitive keyboard on this list, Microsoft’s SwiftKey learns your writing style, including slang, nicknames, and favorite emoji. It’s also the most customizable. Users can add themes, features emoji prediction (that can be turned on and off in Settings), and “type with swipe” capability and seamlessly type in up to five languages without switching settings. Choose from 400+ supported languages. On Android, go to Settings > Language & input > SwiftKey. For iOS, tap General > Keyboard > Add New Keyboard. You’ll see all the keyboards you have installed on your device; choose SwiftKey to enable. If you want it to be your default keyboard, click Edit, then drag it to the top of the list.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.