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How to create a custom emoji on an Android device

Although traditional emojis are great in a pinch, custom emojis are a fun way to get your message across perfectly.
July 26, 2021
World Emoji Day 2021 Hero Image

Texting and other forms of instant messaging have been revolutionary in opening up new ways to communicate with one another. But sometimes your message might get skewed by your reader because tone doesn’t come across very well over text. This is where emojis, specifically custom emojis, come into play.

Although the emojis that come with your phone’s traditional keyboard are great, sometimes they don’t quite fit what you’re trying to say. Expanding your emoji library or creating custom emojis is a great way to communicate your feelings about something without having to spell it out explicitly. Let’s check out exactly how to create a custom emoji on an Android device.

How to update emojis on Android

First things first, you’ll want to make sure that your phone has been updated to the latest Android software. Go to your phone’s settings and tap About phone > Software information and see if there’s an available update. If you have a Samsung phone, your software update would be in settings under Software update.

Check out: The best emoji apps for Android to express yourself

If you’re not able to update your phone to the latest Android update because your device doesn’t support it, you can still access the latest emojis via an app. You just won’t be able to get them natively on your device.

Now that you’ve made sure you have all the current emojis on your Android device, let’s check out how to make custom emojis on Android.

How to make custom emojis on Android

The best way to access more emoji options and create custom emojis on an Android device is through the Google Keyboard, or Gboard. Google recently introduced Emoji Kitchen, a component in their Gboard app, that gives you a greatly expanded version of the current emojis.

For example, if you tap a smiley face emoji and hold it, you’ll see a bunch of different options to choose from like a smiling ghost or smiling heart that you could use instead of the traditional smiley face. 

fitbit messaging emoji replies
Andy Walker / Android Authority

In order to take advantage of the Emoji Kitchen feature of Gboard, you have to set Gboard as your default keyboard. To do this, go to your phone’s settings and tap System > Language & input > On-screen keyboard > Manage on-screen keyboards. Toggle on Gboard and you’re good to go. 

If you have a Samsung phone, the process is slightly different. Similar to the above instructions, you’ll start in your phone’s settings. Then, tap General management > Keyboard list and default > Default keyboard and choose Gboard as your default. 

Gboard also has a feature that allows you to use your camera to take a selfie and create almost 100 custom emojis with your face. 

More emoji apps for Android

fitbit versa smartwatch with the snapchat bitmoji watch face

If you don’t want to use Gboard for any reason, don’t worry — there are still plenty of emoji app options out there that can expand your quirky emoji library. The two most popular are Bitmoji and Elite Emoji, though you’ll see a ton of other options if you search the Google Play Store.


If you have a Snapchat account, you’re probably familiar with Bitmoji. The Bitmoji app lets you build a custom avatar from the ground up that looks like you; the avatar itself is called your Bitmoji.

You can customize pretty much everything in the app to make it look just like you, from hair color to nose shape to the way it’s dressed. 

See also: The best Android keyboards for all kinds of typists

Then, once your avatar is created, it gets placed into a ton of different stickers available in the app. There are so many options to choose from, all featuring your avatar. You can send people specific stickers for their birthdays or holidays or just fun stickers like your Bitmoji holding pizza or standing over block letters that say “What’s up?” 

Bitmoji is easiest to use within Snapchat, but you can change your device’s keyboard to the Bitmoji keyboard to easily use them in your texting app of choice. 

Elite Emoji

The Elite Emoji app comes packed with 2,000 exclusive emojis and stickers to send out. The app also has 5,000 sentences or phrases to go with the emoji or sticker that you choose, helping you pick the right thing to say without having to think about it too much. 

With this app, there’s also the option to install the Elite Emoji keyboard as an additional keyboard. Keep in mind though that this is an emoji only keyboard so in order to type text, you’ll need to switch back to your normal keyboard. You can usually do this easily from within your texting app. 

And now you know how to expand your emoji library and start using more personalized emojis in your everyday messages! If you have a Samsung phone, you should also check out their AR emoji option.

Read next: The best texting apps and SMS apps for Android