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Android’s emoji replacement for iPhone message reactions finally rolling out

Google is finally rolling out a messaging feature that solves a major pain point for Android users involved in group chats with iPhone owners.

The iMessage reactions called Tapbacks, which work perfectly well for iOS-to-iOS chats but go all to pot when an Android users are involved, will soon be less annoying.

Android’s messaging app will now translate these reactions (like liked, loved, disliked, laughed at, questioned, and emphasised), into emoji that appear beneath the message instead of showing them as an awkward text string.

A hint was discovered within a beta of the Google Messages app last year, but now Google is ready to bring the feature to all users, according to a report from 9to5Google.

The site says the emojis aren’t quite a direct translation of the reactions Apple users see, but they’re not far off. For example, the heart for ‘loved’ will be shown as the “Smiling Face with Heart-Eyes” emoji on Android. The ‘laughed at’ reaction, shown as “haha” on iPhone is “Face with Tears of Joy”, while the ’emphasised’ reaction won’t be a pair of exclamation points, but will be presented as the “Face with Open Mouth” emoji.

Android reactions iPhone messages
Image credit: 9to5Google

The ‘liked’ and ‘disliked’ are directly translated as thumbs up or thumbs down, while Google has replaced the ‘questioned’ question mark on Android as a “Thinking Face.” While the iPhone to iPhone reactions appear in the top left corner of the message bubble, Google’s replacements will sit in the bottom right.

9to5Google says that the conversions, which use the RCS messaging standard, will be made available by default when the change rolls out, but can also be enabled manually by heading to the Messages overflow menu > Settings > Advanced and selecting “Show iPhone reactions as emoji”

The change might not be a direct translation and may lack some of the straightforwardness of the iPhone reactions, but it sure beats receiving the text alternatives.

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