When Apple announced the introduction of eMoji there was much rejoicing in Japan, as avid users would cease to be confronted by sceptics with the horrendous truth,
“…But it doesn’t have eMoji!”
But, in typical Apple style, the iPhone 2.2 software didn’t quite give us what we wanted – whilst the eMoji were in there, they were only accessible when sending SMS to other Softbank handsets, or when sending emails using an i.softbank email account.
For users such as myself this was pretty useless, as the majority of my friends and family are yet to see the iLight and remain on other networks. Also, I personally don’t use my i.softbank mail address for anything other than alerting me when emails are sent to my dedicated Gmail iPhone account (I have a Gmail filter that forwards a copy to i.softbank).
There was a brief flurry of excitement when, last November, a hack was released showing how eMoji could be enabled for all iPhones – but this required jailbreaking your phone or using an iTunes Backup Editor (which no-one seems to know anything about).
However, a hack first published by ipodtouchlab requires nothing but the addition of a special eMojical group of contacts to your Address Book:
1) Download the eMoji Vcard here. It contains 28 contacts, each contact contains approximately 18 emoji in the family name field. They only take on their emoji appearance once on your iPhone.
2) Add the file it to your iPhone address book (either send it by email or on a Mac add it to your Address Book and sync)
3) Enable the Japanese QWERTY keyboard (Settings > Keyboard > Japanese Keyboard. You’re done.
Whilst the hack is incredibly simple and can be done in seconds (and I can confirm it works), the steps required for using the emoji are a bit long-winded:
In any app, choose the Japanese QWERTY Keyboard, then type “emojia”, “emojii” or “emojiu”. The suggestions pallet then pops up, included in which will be your new emoji.
The thing is of course, you can’t actually select individual emoji – you’re selecting 18 at a time (i.e. the number contained with the single ‘contact’ that you’re choosing). It’s then a case of deleting all but those that you want.
How to make the hack useable
Of course, as such it’s pretty impractical. However, you can customise the hack to suit your purposes.
For example, I have a thing for elephants, so I’ve simply duplicated the vCard that contains the elephant, and then edited it, replacing えもじうは with ぞう (zou) so that when I type ‘zou’ (elephant) it comes up as a choice.
I’ve included my elephant in the eMoji Vcards set. above so you can see what I’ve done.
I can’t see myself doing this for all of the emoji, but there’s a few that I can see myself frequently using, so each of these will soon be getting their own entry in my phone book. Of course somebody has probrably already re-done the whole lot giving each character it’s own vCard – if anyone comes across such a set do let us know.
N.b. Although it’s now possible to insert emoji in emails being sent from non-i.softbank. email addresses, there’s a possibility that they won’t display properly on the recipient’s screen.