WhatsApp now lets you use any emoji as a custom message reaction

WhatsApp custom reactions are here—users of the messaging app can now select any emoji when reacting to a message rather than be limited to six built-in ones.

Apple's iPhone displaying the home screen shortcuts menu for WhatsApp is being held in a male's hand in this featured image from Unsplash
Image credit: Dimitri Karastelev / Unsplash

WhatsApp gains custom emoji reaction

Following months of testing, WhatsApp in May 2022 introduced emoji reactions with six built-in ones initially available. Today, the CEO of WhatsApp’s parent company Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, announced in a post on Facebook that you can now choose any emoji you prefer to react to a message—just like on Instagram. This works in both single and group chats. Read: How to configure and use Apple Messages

So now instead of the six built-in emoji reactions (Like, Love, Laugh, Surprised, Sad and Thanks—you can pick any emoji character you like. For example, a rolling-eye emoji sounds like a perfect reaction to an annoying message. Similarly, you may choose a birthday cake emoji to react to a birthday message.

How to use custom emoji reactions on WhatsApp

You can choose a custom reaction by long-touching a WhatsApp message and selecting the “+” icon in the menu to choose any emoji you like.

  1. Open a chat in WhatsApp.
  2. Tap and hold a message you’d like to react to.
  3. If your favorite message isn’t listed, touch the “+” icon.
  4. Select your preferred emoji.
  5. To remove your emoji reaction, simply choose the same emoji.

As outlined in a WhatsApp support document, the same caveats apply as before. For starters, you can only assign a single reaction per message. And f you’re reacting to a disappearing message, your reaction shall disappear when the message itself vanishes. Also, even though changing your reaction to a different one is possible, you aren’t allowed to hide reactions or reaction counts. Read: How to message a phone number via WhatsApp if it’s not saved to your iPhone

When will WhatsApp Reactions 2.0 arrive?

This feature debuted on Monday, July 11, 2022. “We’re rolling out the ability to use any emoji as a reaction on WhatsApp,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote. There’s no telling when everyone will get the new option. Meta and other companies often roll out new features in stages to simplify development and squish critical bugs as soon as possible. It will probably take a few weeks or months until all WhatsApp users get custom emoji reactions. Read: How to check if a phone number is on WhatsApp