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The 10 Best Emoji Apps for Android

Posted by Jamie on June 22, 2017

If you communicate using any modern messaging platform these days—be it Facebook Messenger, Android Messages, Google Hangouts or Allo, or any other alternatives—you’ve probably become familiar with using emoji to communicate feelings and expressions between your family and friends without having to rely on words. They’re useful little tools, with hidden meanings the ability to inspire in-jokes and references within groups of friends. One of the things that make emoji so reliable for communication is the cross-platform support for your messages. You can send a iPhone-owning friend a message from your Android phone, and both of you will see the same variety of emoji, even if the art and design of the emoji itself has a slightly-different visual appearance.

Since one of the greatest things about Android is its flexibility and adaptability when it comes to using third-party apps to customize and change the look and feel of your phone, it’s only natural that an identical sense of customization extends itself to emoji on Android. Sure, your smartphone texting and keyboard apps both support emoji, but where’s the fun in using stock messaging apps? That’s why we’ve gathered the best emoji apps for Android, from custom keyboards to apps that change the look of your phone’s emoji directly. Let’s take a look.

Everyone else

You’re probably familiar with Bitmoji by now, thanks to Snapchat’s purchase and integration of the personalized-emoji app from Bitstrips. Even if you haven’t installed Bitmoji on your phone, the concept has become incredibly popular because of Snapchat. You design your own cartoon avatar lookalike, similar to what we’ve seen from Miis and Xbox Live, but in a 2D style that’s customized to your liking. Once you’ve designed your Bitmoji, your avatar can integrate directly into Snapchat, with dozens of new filters and stickers for you to decorate your snaps with. The Bitmoji can automatically change how they look for a specific theme, so you’re always guaranteed to have an icon for whatever the occasion calls for. The app won’t do much for you if you aren’t a Snapchat user, but if you are, it offers the only thing better than generic emoji for broadcasting your emotions—a depiction of your own self. The app is free, but there are a number of optional theme packs that can be bost for $.99 each. Overall, we’d recommend just sticking with the basic packs—they’re good enough for most users, and available for free. Your Bitmoji can appear in any messaging app, but to get the most out of it, you’ll want to pair it with Snapchat—they work best together.

Swiftmoji is a keyboard app from the creators of SwiftKey, with a unique emphasis on using emoji. It’s a basic keyboard, similar to Gboard or SwiftKey itself, but instead of recommending words and phrases to use above your keyboard, it recommends emoji based on your typing. Just like with Gboard, you can search through emoji using keywords to find what you’re looking for quickly. If you don’t like the quick-access emoji layout featured by Swiftmoji, you can still access the basic categories and organization, though we recommend giving the quick-access feature some time before you give up—it can actually be really useful. Outside of emoji, Swiftmoji is a pretty decent keyboard app. It features a flat design, along with multiple themes and colors for your keyboard. We’re dismayed to see a lack of GIF integration, but if that doesn’t matter to you, Swiftmoji is an excellent basic keyboard.  Our only major complaint with Swiftmoji comes from the radio silence and lack of updates since last October, but we haven’t given up hope in the app yet. Our favorite keyboard still goes to Gboard, but Swiftmoji—free of both ads and in-app purchases—deserves a look as well.

Everyone loves Disney and Pixar characters, so it’s no surprise one of our favorite emoji applications for Android happens to be Disney Emoji Blitz, an all-in-one game and emoji application not like much else on the Play Store. In Emoji Blitz, you collect emoji characters with designs based on some of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters, including Ariel the Mermaid, Lightning McQueen, Cinderella, and Bambi. The game plays quite similarly to games like Bejeweled or Candy Crush Saga, wherein you match emojis of your favorite characters to score points and win new emojis in your collection. You can play online, challenge your friends, use power-ups to boost your score, and collect over 700 of Disney’s most famous and beloved characters. There are some in-app purchases and ads in the game, but most of them are avoidable as long as you have the patience to wait before continuing your playthroughs. Once you’ve won emoji, you can use them in any messaging app of your choice by switching your keyboard. This app won’t be for everyone, but if you’re a huge fan of Disney, you’ll love what they’ve cooked up here.

Emoji Switcher is a complicated addition to this list. The app itself is only useful if you’re rooted, a fairly time-consuming app that is getting more and more difficult with each passing year. Phone manufacturers have been boosting their security, filling in holes and exploits that were once used for rooting, and locking down bootloaders more than ever. For most people, rooting is an entirely unnecessary process, often reducing battery life and bogging down their phone with poor software. That said, if you are rooted, you have access to tons of apps and utilities that can’t be used by non-rooted phones, including Emoji Switcher. If you’ve ever wanted to switch the appearance of your emoji at a system level, this is the app for you. It can automatically switch your phone between Samsung, Google, LG, and iOS emoji at will, with just a quick reboot standing in the way. It isn’t a perfect app, and you’ll need root access to take advantage of its functionality, but if you’re missing a specific emoji library and you’re already rooted, there’s no reason not to grab Emoji Switcher.

If you don’t know your history of emoji, you might not know the alternate emoticons actually have been around for a long time, dating back to the late 90s and early 00s in Japan before they made their way to America in 2011 on iOS. If you want to get back to that feeling of Japanese characters in your texts and messages, you’ll want to grab Kaomoji, which uses Japanese characters to create brand new, very-expressive text-based emoji on your phone. You’ve probably seen these emoticons before, in YouTube comment threads, on Twitter, or plenty of other places around the web. The faces are incredibly unique, with their own brand of flavor, and grabbing them from the app is as easy as copy and pasting from the Kaomoji application into your own message thread. The app is helpfully sorted into categories and subcategories, so it’s easy to find exactly what emotion you’re looking for. Whether you’re feeling positive, negative, or somewhere in the middle, you can add a bit of unique flavor to your messages with Kaomoji.

Emojily is a simple little utility that helps you predict how an emoji you post on social media or in a text will look on your friends’ iPhones. Because each software company uses their own various designs for emoji, it can be difficult to know exactly what the recipient of your message will see when they look at your comment or message. Luckily, Emojily, a small utility available for free on Android, can help directly translate your phone’s system emoji to what will be seen on iOS devices, always making sure your message makes sense to the other person. So whether you want to see how your message will look before you send it, or you’ve caused confusion with a strange emoji and you want to know what the other person saw that caused a disruption, Emojily is a great app to keep on your device just in case you ever do need it. Our only problem with Emojily is its lack of updates, as the app hasn’t been touched in over a full calendar year, leading us to believe the app has been discontinued by its developer (and leaving newer emoji to be left forever untranslated). Still, there isn’t another app quite like this on the Play Store, so as long as you understand what this utility is meant to do, we think you’ll be satisfied.

Fleksy is our third and final keyboard recommendation on this list, and though we don’t think it meets the high standards of Gboard or Swiftmoji, it’s still a great alternative if you’re unsatisfied with those first two suggestions. Fleksy is all about customization from the get-go, with a focus on colorful designs and a brand new way of typing. The keyboard includes GIF support, along with stickers and over 800 emoji characters that make it a blast to communicate between yourself and your friends. Unfortunately, there isn’t any functionality for searching through those emoji, so despite the cool appearance of the emoji designs and additions, it’s a difficult app to recommend for everyone. That said, if you’re looking for something with a good recommendation engine for text, and you aren’t interested in Gboard or Swiftkey (and Swiftmoji), it’s a great app to grab.

Emoji Maker functions on a similar thought-process as something like Bitmoji, but without the unique personalization of creating your own avatar. Instead, you work in the app to make and customize emoji icons that still look and act like typical emoji characters, using face layouts, hats, eyes, mouths, and accessories to create an all-new design and look. You can even use your actual, non-animated face, as the standard backdrop, placing glasses, hats, and funny facial hair on top of yourself to send to friends. Once you’ve created your own emoji, they save into an internal gallery where you can automatically add the photos from the app into your texting or messaging applications as a photo. If you’re uninterested in that, you can also use iKeyboard or Kika Keyboard to add your photo emoji from there, but we recommend sticking with an app like Fleksy, Gboard, or Swiftmoji for you keyboard for safety and stability. Still, Emoji Maker is a fun time waster, and even if it isn’t quite as good as Bitmoji, it’s still a very interesting app to keep on your phone.

One thought on “The 10 Best Emoji Apps for Android”

Sandy Chapa says:
Thanks for the info! I immediately downloaded both Textra as well as the Gboard keyboard. I have not enabled the latter, as I am a bit nervous about their statement that when I do, it will have access to my credit card numbers. Is this true?!! Ir, is this simply a blanket statement on their part for pausible deniability on future problems?

Thanks in advance!
Sandy Chapa

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