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)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.