Got a tip for us? Share it...

New in OS X: Get MacRumors Push Notifications on your Mac

Resubscribe Now Close

Emoji Apps No Longer Welcome in App Store Following Native iOS 6 Support

Apple's iOS devices have long carried at least partial support for emoji, picture characters popular for text messaging in Japan but also gaining interest in countries around the world. Initially the feature was unlocked only for Japanese customers, but over time the company has broadened access to emoji and now supports several hundred emoji characters for all users once they enable the special emoji keyboard.


With iOS 6 bringing expanded emoji support, it appears that Apple is beginning to address the significant number of emoji apps in the App Store, sending out notices to developers informing them that their apps have been removed from the store because they are no longer useful given the built-in emoji support now available. MacRumors has heard from several developers who received such notices, and a number of other developers have mentioned them on Twitter, so it does appear to be a concerted effort by Apple.
Hello XXXX,

We are writing to let you know your app, XXXX, has been removed from the App Store because it is no longer needed to unlock Emoji.

Since iOS 6 now provides Emoji support to all users, your app is no longer in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines <https://developer.apple.com/appstore/resources/approval/guidelines.html>

2.12 Apps that are not very useful, are simply web sites bundled as apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected

If you have questions about the removal of your application, please contact App Review at appreview@apple.com. Please include the App ID and the name of your application in your email.

Thank you and best regards,

App Review
While Apple's notices state that the apps have been removed from the App Store, they do in fact seem to still be available, so it is unclear exactly what Apple's timeline for taking the apps down may be.

A number of the developers have noted that Apple seems to be targeting any app listing emoji among its features, not just those that are designed solely to enable emoji characters. Consequently, these developers argue that their apps are indeed useful and provide functionality beyond that offered in iOS 6 itself.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

23 months ago


2.12 Apps that are not very useful, are simply web sites bundled as apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected

That's 2/3rds of the apps in the App Store then.
Rating: 44 Votes
23 months ago
What about people with older devices that don't want to or can't upgrade to iOS 6?
Rating: 20 Votes
23 months ago
Some of them were even charging money for something that is built in.
Rating: 14 Votes
23 months ago
I thought native emoji support came in iOS 5
Rating: 13 Votes
23 months ago
Good. Those apps just cluttered the App Store.
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago
1) Emoji was enabled for all as of iOS 5.0. Not 6.0.

2) Not all iOS devices can run iOS 6. Some are limited to 3.1.3, 4.2.1, and 5.1.1.

2a) I hope Apple allows new apps to be submitted if they are for iOS 3.x and 4.x devices *AND* specify in the description that you do not need to use a program if you are running iOS 5.x or newer.

3) OMG THANK YOU! I *hated* seeing that top apps #6, #10, #15, #20, etc, etc, etc were all PAY Emoji apps. Some review were from people buying them for their new iPhone 5, not knowing Emoji were already unlocked.
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago
i felt like all those apps were scams anyways. good, out with the garbage in the store.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago
I always cringed when I saw the reviews of those emoji apps:

"This iS tEh besT eVAr!! SO fuN! DowNloaD ThiS aPp NOw!"

Meanwhile, these idiots paid $.99 - $1.99 for nothing more than an app with a set of instructions on how to enable what was already present on their phone. It's about time Apple pulled the plug on these shady apps.

It is like charging for an app that "unlocks" bluetooth, that's nothing more than instructions on how to turn BT on. Preying on the uninformed. Sad.

Oh, and I fell victim to this as well a few years back. Didn't know any better and when I found out, I felt real dumb. It's unfortunate that anyone makes money off of this.
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago
I've never wanted or downloaded one of these apps, but it is nice to know that if you spend the time to make something people want Apple will just pull the plug on your app once they decide to implement it themselves.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago

So here's a silly question:

How do you use Emoji's without the apps?


settings - general - keyboard - international keyboards - add new keyboard - emoji

Then, use the new globe button on your standard keyboard to access the emoji keyboard

don't feel bad, I just found out too..
Rating: 7 Votes

[ Read All Comments ]