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

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Avatar
100 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.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
100 months ago
What about people with older devices that don't want to or can't upgrade to iOS 6?
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
100 months ago
About time

Some of them were even charging money for something that is built in.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
100 months ago
I thought native emoji support came in iOS 5
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
100 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.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
100 months ago
Good. Those apps just cluttered the App Store.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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