How to Unlock the Hidden Emoticon Keyboard on Your iPhone

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Emoji are all the rage nowadays, thanks to their diverse meanings and ability to add emotion to otherwise plain text conversations. Before emoji, there were emoticons — faces made up of plain text symbols. Emoticons were more popular before phones could handle custom images like emoji, but they haven’t totally fallen out of favor.

Case in point: there’s a hidden emoticon keyboard hidden in your iPhone right now. To access it, head to Settings > General and choose Keyboard. In this new tab, choose Keyboards, then Add New Keyboard. You’ll want to select the Japanese keyboard, followed by the Kana option.

After all this, open up anywhere you can type some text (Messages will do) and bring up the keyboard. Tap the globe icon to switch to the new Japanese keyboard, and look for the emoticon in the bottom-left corner. Tap that, then tap the corner in the top-right of your keyboard (under the Send button) and you’ll be able to view the full list of emoticons.

If you grew up using these faces, you’ll have a blast re-discovering your favorites. If you didn’t know what emoticons were before reading this article, you’ve now got a whole new world of funny faces to discover!

Find out how to access iOS 9 emoji in Android if you’re got emoji envy.

What’s your favorite emoticon face? Share your memories of these text faces in the comments!

Image Credit: Francisco Turnes via Shutterstock.com

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