Instagram’s new emoji shortcut bar aims to cut down commenting time

Instagram's newest update to its mobile apps finally recognizes what we've all long suspected: that the vast majority of the 'gram's user base communicates exclusively in the language of emoji. The photo-sharing platform's latest interface tweak for Android and iOS adds a new shortcut bar, which puts your most regularly used emoji right above your keyboard.

The feature has been in testing since May, but was unlocked for a wider rollout on Thursday last week, and should now be available to all users on both iOS and Android.

The new shortcut bar is available only via the comments icon under a post. It won’t pop up when you use the “add a comment” space or other area where the keyboard is used. That means you won’t be able to access it when captioning your own posts or sending a message.

So what if you're an Instagram fan that doesn't like emoji? Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any way to disable the new feature within the app's settings – so, for now at least, you'll have to just grin and bear it.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, Sharmishta's main priority is being TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor, looking after the day-to-day functioning of the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore editions of the site, steering everything from news and reviews to ecommerce content like deals and coupon codes. While she loves reviewing cameras and lenses when she can, she's also an avid reader and has become quite the expert on ereaders and E Ink writing tablets, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about these underrated devices. Other than her duties at TechRadar, she's also the Managing Editor of the Australian edition of Digital Camera World, and writes for Tom's Guide and T3.