If you’ve been enjoying “spicing up” your text messages with emoji’s—those small, digital icons used to express an idea or emotion—here’s a fun way too take it a little further. Move beyond your phone’s built-in emoji keyboard and shake things up by exploring the many options you can download and use for free for both Android smartphones and iPhone.
There are dozens of clever emoji keyboards to choose from, offering everything from animated emoji to gifs to stickers to themes. Here are three that we recommend. You can get these from the Google Play store (for Android) or App Store (for iPhone), and just follow the instructions below to activate and use them.
Gboard: On top of handy features like swipe-to-text, Gboard lets you search for emoji, keep track of your most-used emoji, add stickers—even animated ones—to your texts, and use gifs and old-fashioned emoticons.
To use Gboard, install it from the App Store or Google Play. Afterwards, users should go into Settings and tap Enable (Android) or Get Started (iPhone).
Microsoft SwiftKey: SwiftKey learns your writing style, even your slang, nicknames and favorite emoji — which, along with its customization features, sets it apart from other keyboards. You can add free themes to your keyboards, as well as individual themes and theme packs
To enable SwiftKey and make it your default keyboard on Android, tap Settings, then Language & input, then SwiftKey. For iPhone, tap General, then Keyboard, then Add New Keyboard. You’ll see all the keyboards you have installed on your device. Choose SwiftKey to enable it. To make it your default, tap Edit and drag it to the top of the list.
Bitmoji: If you’ve used Snapchat, you’ve likely seen Bitmoji’s—the little cartoon avatars styled after the user. You can set it up manually or through the Bitmoji app. After you sign up in the app, tap the Globe icon to open the Keyboard tab and follow the prompts to enable the keyboard. To manually set up the keyboard, install the app and tap Settings. From there, tap Languages and Input, then Virtual (or On-screen keyboard)and Manage Keyboards. Finally, toggle on Bitmoji Keyboard. Explore these free emoji keyboards or any of the other entertaining options out there to keep your text messages fresh and fun!