Emoticons (emotion icons)- that is, smiley faces, winks, frowns, hearts, etc.- have been part of chat speak since the early days of the Internet. Nerds were “QQ-ing” at each other years before text messages made it popular.
Once smartphones became all the rage, Japanese text fanatics turned the Emoticon into the Emoji. Until a few years ago, Emoji were only available in Japanese devices. The Apple App Store saw a flood of Emoji apps that would allow others to experience the joy of sticking their digital tongue out at someone. Apps like Emoji, Emoji++, and Emoji> flooded the app store with their own way to unlock an international keyboard that would allow users to access a smorgasbord of yellow faces that cried, whistled, winked, shuddered, and represented practically every other emotion you could think of.
Apple saw how popular the Emoji was and started implementing it into iPhones, and later iPads. By the time iOS 6 came out, Apple had amassed a collection of emoji characters that outshined many of the paid apps available in the App Store.
Which is probably why Apple is now telling developers to pack their bags. According to MacRumors, Apple is categorically removing emoji apps because they are “no longer useful given the built-in emoji support now available.”
A notice has been sent to developers informing them that their app has been removed from the App Store.
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 <https://developer.apple.com/appstore/resources/approval/guidelines.html>
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the App ID and the name of your application in your email.
Thank you and best regards,
Currently, there are still a plethora of emoji apps in the App Store. However, many of them are just “crap apps” that offer instructions on how to unlock emoji characters on your device. Some offer additional characters that are not included in Apple’s list, but even paid emoji apps will often times only include instructions for how to unlock the feature that comes free with your iPhone and iPad.
It appears that Apple is trying to weed out the bad seeds. Hopefully, the sweep won’t be too broad though. Some apps do offer fun additional emoji characters, making them different than the built-in ones and it would be unfair of Apple to remove them simply because they compete with the native features.
Just in case you don’t know how to enable emoji characters on your keyboard, go to your Settings app and tap “General” from the list. Tap the “Keyboard” tab. Then, again, tap the “Keyboard” tab (it used to be listed as “International Keyboard”). Tap the “Add New Keyboard” tab and scroll down the alphabetic list until you see the word “Emoji” and tap it. Once you’ve unlocked emoji characters on your keyboard, you can tap the icon that looks like a globe on your virtual keyboard. This will bring up Apple’s collection of emoji characters.