This is kind of interesting. With iOS 6 bringing expanded emoji support, it looks like Apple has decided to do something about the large number of emoji apps in the App Store.

According to a new report, several developers have received letters from the company, stating that their emoji apps are being removed now that the feature is built-in to iOS…

MacRumors is reporting this morning that it has heard from a large number of app developers that say they’ve recently received the following email from the App Review team:

“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 <>

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 Please include the App ID and the name of your application in your email.

Thank you and best regards,

App Review”

Ouch. The site points out, though, that while the letter says that the apps have already been removed, they do appear to still be accessible. So it’s unknown when the take-downs will take place.

This is what some people would call “sherlocked,” where a developer builds an app with features that aren’t included in iOS, only to have Apple come along and add those features in an update.

In addition to the 2.12 section, Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines also state that an app cannot duplicate the function of a built-in app, so it has grounds here. But it still comes across as a jerk move.

What’s your take on this? Should Apple be removing emoji apps?

  • jorith

    What did the apps do? because i never used one of them to get my emoticons. They add more?

    • No.. Before Apple let you use the built in emos you had to install a app to turn on the keyboard ..

    • Guest

      They were just modifying the /var/mobile/Library/Preferences/ file to enable emoji keyboard, but since iOS 5 this file is blocked from App Store apps and they can’t modify it (and they don’t need to since Apple enabled it by default).

      In fact, the Emoji keyboard was included in iPhone OS 2.0.

      • jorith

        ah ok, thanks. was wondering why those excisted actually, never used them to get emoticons.

  • I am very glad Apple is doing this. When I bought my iPhone 4S, I had no clue Emojis became a built in function that could be enabled with settings. As a result, I did spend a dollar on the app. When I found out that the feature was now built in, I was frustrated at how easily you can be duped into getting apps when you don’t need to.

    Now, I am not really sad that I lost a dollar. It is only a dollar. But I was not happy that Apple would not remove apps that have the same functionality as the OS.

    Given that, I am glad some action is finally beginning to be done.

    • pegger1

      Why would you pay a dollar when there are emoji apps that are free? Duped is an understatment

      • If you read what he writes you will understand why he spent a dollar. Hint: he didn’t know.

      • pegger1

        You don’t get it. He says he paid the buck because he didn’t know it was built in. I’m saying, even if it wasn’t built in he didn’t have to pay the buck because it’s a free app.

      • ExRoot

        Did you read what he typed?

  • I’ll risk sounding like a jerk, but it’s about time they got rid of them. I’m still seeing people who have Emoji apps on their home screen even though the feature is built in.

  • Apple you

  • jorith

    Well, it seems i cant see the messages, but i got a response to my last one. I’m still on ios 5 and never installed an emoji app, but im using them anyway, just had to turn them on in settings.

  • Dan

    It was already possible to unlock emojii through international keyboard setting, not sure what these apps did in the first place.

    • When the App Store was formed these came out to turn on this fuction because it wasn’t in iOS to start with

    • iOS 3 and earlier required 3rd party apps to unlock emoji outside of Japan. iOS 4 made it possible to use them by using international keyboards. iOS 5 makes emoji available for everyone out of the box, so emoji apps no longer serve any purpose.

      • Dan

        ah ok, I got an iPhone when 4.2 something came out so I had emojii keyboard from the start

  • iUser2012

    What a dictatorial move! Apple acts as if its own build-in apps are satisfactory. This statement is not about Emoji icons, I hardly use, but a general case for almost any functionality. They know what customers want or need better than the customer itself. Instead of paving the way for better quality apps contributed and valued by the community, it limits the possibility of development to its own perception. Since Apple is best known to ignore (with its softest definition) customer demands and dictate its own ideals it might soon be left behind by Android based products as it offers freedom and choice, which new generations would value more on their tech devices. You cannot have simplest but most usable functionality without jailbreaking the iDevice. That’s a discouraging factor for developers. Also Google Play already reached the same number of apps and we will see who will perform better in future. Development might focus on Andorid ore than iOS as it might have more opportunities and less dictatorial restrictions for developers to make profit.

  • Wouldnt that be copy Infringement if they had it first and then apple takes and uses it? I agree it’s a jerk move.

    • iUser2012

      Apple does that to Cydia developers more often. Think about iOS 6 privacy settings. When their so called compatibility review process failed to catch and prevent some apps to intrude and upload personal data to their own servers, a Cydia tweak called Protect My Privacy (PMP) was designed and does everything Apple introduced as privacy settings in iOS 6. Stock firmware users left out of this benefit because of so called design guidelines (apparently helps Apple more than the users!!!) until Apple imitates this feature in iOS 6 almost 9 months later. Leave Emoji, they are obsession of some but limited use to many. The general approach is more important to think about for what would expect from Apple devices while Android devices surpassed iOS with several handy functions and greater customization. As Jailbreaking becomes harder due to fixed exploits and limited number of people involved in it, real use of nice iDevice hardware would become more and more limited in near future compared to its rivals.

    • Emoji has always been in iOS, it just wasn’t enabled outside of japan by default. These apps just changed settings on the phone, they did not provide emoji icons or functionality. those setting no longer need to be changed by anyone, so there is literally no purpose for these apps to exist or clutter the app store.

  • Too right. Why should they let greedy developers charge for something that’s free anyway.

    • iUser2012

      Then why do you buy those at first place? Why do users need Apple act like a protective daddy for them regarding their spending?

      • 4p0c4lyps3


  • I just wanna say “I believe in free apps”.