Hallelujah: Google fixes emoji reactions between iPhone and Android with new Messages beta

A blessing to us all.

Since Apple introduced iMessage reactions, many Android users have liked interacting with iPhone owners a little bit less. That’s because if an iPhone user reactions to an SMS text sent from an Android phone, the Android user gets a separate text detailing the reaction [e.g. “Laughed at: ‘(insert message here)'”]. Fortunately, Google is solving this irritating issue with a neat little hack in an update for its Messages app, as reported by 9to5Google and Droid-Life.

Now in beta form (in build 20220121_02_RC00, to be exact), the update will introduce a new toggle in settings called “Show iPhone reactions as emoji.” Once enabled, it’ll do exactly that: show any reactions sent from an iPhone as an emoji on the corresponding message in your chat thread. It’s definitely a little hacky, as Google had to sniff out identifiers in the reaction texts users received in order to understand how to translate them into emojis.

Notably, emoji translations across the platforms aren’t necessarily one-to-one, with reactions such as hearts on iPhone showing up as “smiling face with heart-eyes” on Android. Nevertheless, this is a much cleaner way of implementing the feature and stops pesky messages appearing in your texts letting you know someone used an iMessage feature.

Oh, and if you use emoji reactions on Android, they should appear as proper reactions on iPhones as well instead of separate texts.

The new feature is expected to reach all users through the Messages app soon. In the meantime, it’s available for those registered in its beta program on Android. I don’t have the feature yet on my Pixel 6 Pro.