This morning, I finally had enough: Conducting a Google Search on my iPad, I needed to type a number. But what came up, instead, was a keyboards-worth of stupid emoji.
The reason? For years, the Numbers and Symbols key sat at the lower-left corner of the default iOS keyboard. So if you needed to type a number or symbol, you could tap that key to toggle the display. But in more recent iOS versions, Apple has placed the emoji key there instead. And I still mis-hit it constantly when what I want is a number or symbol.
I never want to type an emoji. Like, ever.
So, as I wrote, I had had enough. And I resolved to remove this key from the keyboard, if possible, and switch to an alternative keyboard if not. And then do the same on all my devices.
Here’s how you do so, across Android and iOS. In each case, I’m basing this description on the very latest versions of the platforms—Android 9 Pie and iOS 12—so it’s possible that things will be a bit off for if you’re using an earlier version. I assume the instructions will at least be similar.
Navigate to Settings > System > Keyboards & input > Virtual keyboard. Select the virtual keyboard you’re using (like Gboard, and not “Google voice typing”) and then Preferences.
(There’s a shortcut to this location, too: With virtual keyboard displayed, tap and hold on the comma [,] key until you see a small Settings gear appear.)
Now, disable the option “Show emoji switch key.”
With this change, the emoji (and GIF) nonsense will be moved so that it is an alternate for the comma key. So you can still access those things by pressing and holding the comma key and then swiping up to the emoji icon that appears next to the Settings gear.
Apple simply lets you remove the emoji key, which is the approach I like the best: Navigate to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards. Then, tap Edit and then select the red Remove (“-“) icon next to Emoji, and then Delete.
What about Windows 10?
As with Android, the Emoji key on the Windows 10 touch keyboard isn’t positioned for easy mistakes. Instead, it’s the third key in from the bottom left after Numbers and Symbols and Ctrl.
That’s convenient, mostly because I can’t figure out a way to remove it.
If you Google search this topic, you will find a Registry Editor-based approach for removing the Emoji key from the touch keyboard. But these instructions no longer work with Windows 10 version 1809. So it’s not clear how or if you can make this change. Please contact me if you figure it out.