Emoticons are like the salt and pepper of an online conversation along with GIFs of course. Truth be told, there are plenty of third-party keyboard apps in the App Store to choose from but if you like to keep things neat and simple, you won’t go that far just for a bunch of new smiley faces.
If you’d like a bunch of extra emoticons in your iPhone or iPad’s default keyboard you can easily get them by using the correct keyboard language. These emoticons are not exactly hidden, but not in plain view either. Nevertheless, they are absolutely free and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give them a try.
How to activate your iPhone or iPad’s hidden emoticon keyboard
Open the Settings app and select General.
Scroll down a bit until you see the Keyboard option and tap on it. Then, tap on Keyboards and select Add New Keyboard.
From the list of languages, select Japanese. You will then be presented with two choices: Kana and Romaji. Select Romaji.
From now on you can switch to your newly added emoji language by tapping on the globe icon on the keyboard.
With the language selected, tap the ‘123’ button and then the one showing the “^_^” unicode characters and the list of unicode emoticons will show up. To see the complete list just tap on the arrow button on the right side.
These may not be your typical icon emojis, but even as the plain black & white unicode smileys you can still have plenty of fun with them, and they’ve been waiting for ages to be used, right there in your default iOS keyboard.