How to Turn Off Emoji in iMessage and Instead Use Text Smiley Faces

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Don’t you just hate it when you type a text smiley face such as :-) and your chat program insists on turning your text emoticon into a graphic emoji? Here’s how to turn off emoji in the Mac instant messenger program Messages (formerly known as iChat and iMessage), so that it will instead send and display text-based smiley and other faces.

Here is the reason that you may have had trouble figuring out how to do it – because it’s not where you would expect the setting to be, such as in, you know, your Preferences pane.

It’s not here!
imessage messages preferences

Instead, you need to go to your Messages menu, to the “Edit” option, and select “Substitutions”.

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turn off emoji ichat imessage messages substitutions mac

See that entry that says “Text Replacement”?

how to turn off emoji ichat imessage text replacement messages mac

You want to select “Text Replacement”, which will toggle it to be checked:

how to turn emoji off in mac messages ichat imessage

Now when you type :-) it will be sent as “:-)” instead of an emoji emoticon.

use plain text instead of emoji

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