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8 Best Emoji Keyboards for iPhone (2021)

by Kaushal
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Emojis have come a long way, from being crude ASCII characters to being more versatile and advanced with HD animation and AR. Not to mention you can create your own and can get extra emojis with third-party emoji keyboard apps on your iPhone. I tested a lot of offerings on the App Store and here are my picks for the best emoji keyboards for iPhone. Let’s begin.

1. Apple’s Inbuilt Emoji Keyboard

Apple arguably does emojis really well and with the addition of Memojis, it takes things to the next level. While Emojis are available across the board, Memojis are exclusive to iMessage. However, you do get access to a sticker pack of your Memoji avatar which is a nice addition. The sticker pack is available on some third-party apps such as Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc.

Apple Keyboard memoji sticker pack under frequently used

To access the Memoji stickers, tap the Globe key on the keyboard or the Emoji button right below the keyboard.

2. Gboard

Gboard, by Google, is one of the most popular keyboards for smartphones and it holds that position because of the intuitive features such as inbuilt google search, instant translation, etc. Gboard also has a dedicated section for emojis, stickers, and reaction GIFs. Emojis are standard much like the Apple Keyboard but the addition of stickers and GIFs is the biggest advantage of using this keyboard.

gboard gif section where you can search for any GIF from the internet

The stickers are customizable and you can even create your own set of personalized stickers for your friend’s circle. GIFs are equally impressive as you can practically find any pop culture GIF from the huge online catalog. Gboard is a free app on the App Store.

Get Gboard (free)

3. Bitmoji

Bitmoji is the official Snapchat Sticker partner that offers a huge catalog of custom stickers based on your conversation context. Bitmoji also creates a digital avatar that you can customize to the T. Even though it works with Snapchat, you can get the Bitmoji app and get those stickers for every messaging app. Simply install the app, add the keyboard, and find the perfect sticker for your conversation. It’s that easy.

Get Bitmoji (free)

bitmoji keyboard with stickers instead of keys

4. Symbol

Symbol is a different kind of emoji keyboard for iPhone as it doesn’t have traditional emojis. Instead, it has a collection of different characters, unicodes, and symbols. Whether you need a symbol from a native language or want to use a mathematical operator, this app has a symbol for everything. Symbol has more than 50,000 different characters that you can choose to send to your friends.

symbol app keyboard

You can either use the app to find the characters and copy them to the clipboard or install the keyboard and instantly share those symbols. Symbol is free on the App Store.

Get Symbol (free)

5. Emoji for Message- ASCII Emoji Keyboard

I am a fan of ASCII emojis that are popular on most online message boards. As there is plenty of animated emojis on our phones, using an ASCII emoji keyboard is quirky enough to grab additional attention. The app has a series of emojis that are created just from the ASCII characters and still are plenty expressive. You can sort through the list and find your favorite ones easily.

ascii based emojis in the kayboard

Similar to the previous app, you can either use it to find and copy the emoji to the clipboard or manually add the keyboard and get one-tap access to the entire emoji collection.

Get Emoji for Message (free)

6. Kika Keyboard

Kika Keyboard is a full-fledged emoji keyboard app for iPhone that has a lot of interesting emojis. Apart from standard emojis, you also get black and white emojis, 4-Chan style emoji walls, and quotes. There are ASCII emojis, stickers, and custom fonts to add a zing to your conversations as well.

kika keyboard with wall art made with emoji

Kika Keyboard is free but comes with in-app purchases that unlock more features but if you’re just going to use it for the emojis then you probably won’t need it.

Get Kika Keyboard (free, in-app purchases)

7. Emoji Keyboard

This next keyboard app is a bit of an odd one as it serves a very small niche. Let’s say you only use a handful of emojis frequently but the Apple Keyboard’s recent emoji section keeps changing depending upon your usage. This keyboard lets you place an emoji in place of the keys and create a true emoji keyboard for your iPhone. You would have to set which emojis you wish to keep on the keyboard.

emoji keyboard with keys replaced with emojis

One other reason I like this keyboard is that it increases the surface area of an emoji which means there would be less chance of tapping an incorrect emoji.

Get Emoji Keyboard (free)

8. New Emojis GIF Keyboard

Lastly, we have an emoji app that isn’t even a keyboard but deserves a mention on this list. The app has a variety of both picture-based and text-based emojis that you can copy from the app and use them in any messaging app. It also has emoji art which is basically a collage of emojis creating a bigger picture.

ascii emoji in green chat bubbles

Apart from accessing the existing templates, you also get an option to create your own emoji art and share it with your friends. The app is free on the App Store.

Get New Emojis Gif Keyboard (free)

What’s your Favorite Emoji Keyboard for iPhone?

These were a few of the best emoji keyboards I recommend you try out for yourself. Gboard is more of a full-fledged keyboard replacement while others such as Symbol, Emoji Keyboard, Emoji for Message serve one purpose. Let me know if you have a better emoji keyboard app for iPhone on Twitter.

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