A month ago I wrote a post, Enabling Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking, about enabling the hidden Emoji icon feature within the iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later) without jailbreaking the iPhone. Back then the method involved purchasing an iPhone application that cost USD0.99.
If your iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later) has been jailbroken, you can then use the 3rd party application called "Emoji" available on Cydia to enable the Emoji icon feature.
Now there is a free application called "Spell Number" available in the iTunes App Store that will enable the hidden Emoji icon feature in the iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later). All you have to do is:
- Download the application
- Launch the application in your iPhone
- Type 9876543.21 91929394.59
- Quit the application
- follow steps 3 - 7 in my post Enabling Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking
None of these hacks are relevant if you own an iPhone 3G from SoftBank in Japan, because Apple has enabled the Emoji feature for your iPhones.
You only need to use one of the above methods if you want to enter Emoji icons in text messages you compose, but if you only want to see Emoji icons in message that others send you on your iPhone, there is no need to do any of the above. You just have to upgrade your iPhone to firmware 2.2 or later.
If you do want to enter Emoji icons in text messages you compose on the iPhone, I suggest you use one of these methods as soon as possible, because Apple recently sent notices to developers, with applications in the iTunes App Store, that have this hidden Emoji enabling capability. Asking these developers to remove the feature or their applications will risk being removed from the App Store.
I hope Apple's latest action is to comply with their policy of not allowing developers to hack the iPhone and that they will enable the Emoji icon input method in an upcoming iPhone firmware upgrade.
I personally see only one reason why Apple may not want to enable this function for all iPhone users. That is because when messages containing Emoji icons are received on devices or applications that do not support the Emoji icon character encoding, these icons will be displayed as little squares. Plus there are approximately 80% or more of the world's mobile phones do not support the Emoji icon character encoding.
So true to Apple's believes in a perfect user experience they will not want to enable the feature unless 90% or more of the world's mobile phones can support it. That's just the way Apple does things. They rarely pushes feature when the technology is not mature, except in the case when they want to drive a new approved standard.
[Updated: May 1, 2009] The developer had updated his application to comply with Apple's requirements to remove the emoji enabling code. Although, what the developer had actually done was changed the code. The new code is now 91929394.59
[Updated: September 5, 2010] Since iOS 4.x Apple has been cracking down on emoji enabling apps. If you cannot get Spell Number working you can give "Emoji Free!" a try.