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How to Disable Emojis in WordPress 4.2

Last week, WordPress 4.2 was released, and it came with the new Emoji feature that allowed you to use the new Emojis in WordPress. This may be a neat feature for some, but a lot of business owners simply don’t need Emojis. Specially considering that Emoji support loads an additional JavaScript on every page which slightly slows down your site. That’s why in this article, we will show you how to disable Emojis in WordPress 4.2.

What Are Emoji?

Emojis supported in WordPress since version 4.2

Emojis are the tiny icons or smileys used on the internet. Originating from Japan, Emoji have made their way into the unicode character set, iOS, Android, and even on desktop computers.

Since version 4.2, WordPress now supports 4-bit unicode characters. The primary reason for this is to add native support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language character sets.

Using Emoji’s natively is simply a neat feature that came as a byproduct of a necessity for a large group of users.

Having that said, there is also a large group of business users like ourselves who don’t want to slow down our WordPress site for prettier smileys.

Let’s take a look at how to disable Emoji support in WordPress.

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Disabling Emojis in WordPress 4.2

When we say disabling Emoji in WordPress, we mean disabling the extra checks and scripts used by WordPress to handle Emojis. You can still use Emoji on your site, and the browsers that support them will still be able to display them.

You just won’t have the advanced Emoji characters.

First thing you need to do is install and activate the Classic Smilies plugin. Simply activating this plugin will disable the emoji support on WordPress 4.2 and later versions.

It works out of the box, and there are no settings for you to configure.

Several users reported that the WordPress 4.2 Emoji support broke their old smilies. The advantage of Classic Smilies plugin is that it brings back the old smilies while disabling the new scripts and styles that most people don’t even need.

Now if you want to disable Emoji support altogether, then you can use the plugin Disable Emojis. This disables ALL emoji support in WordPress.

We hope this article helped you disable Emoji on your WordPress site. You may also want to check out our list of 21 plugins to efficiently manage WordPress multi-author blogs.

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25 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Removing emojis served by WordPress is a sound decision performance wise. However, if you want to get rid of all emojis due to design inconsistencies, using the plugin discussed or extending your functions-file is just part of the equation. People will still be able to use Emoji characters. Whether these are displayed properly depends on native support. The only solution is to use a regular expression matching the Unicode emoji list and then replace them with your own for a unified look (isn’t WordPress trying to do that?) or remove them from the string altogether. Emojis have changed the way we communicate, love them ❤️ or hate them

  2. I would say find some codes to remove the emoji, rather than installing another plugin which is another load.

  3. Not sure if Mark missed few parts in that code. This code worked for me (there are two additional lines). You should add it to your “theme” functions.php

    remove_action(‘wp_head’, ‘print_emoji_detection_script’, 7);
    remove_action(‘wp_print_styles’, ‘print_emoji_styles’);

    remove_action( ‘admin_print_scripts’, ‘print_emoji_detection_script’ );
    remove_action( ‘admin_print_styles’, ‘print_emoji_styles’ );


  4. I Have customers complaining about emoji icons showing instead of navigation buttons. It happens when they view pictures using a light-box.

  5. I was experiencing slow admin panel loading times with 4.2 update. Installed this and it went away! Yay! How frustrating!

  6. Thank you

    I have not even thought that it could slow down websites in WordPress.

    A question to the above discussion. Does the plugin just contain the code suggested from Mark, and nothing else.

  7. Thanks for that info…I have to tell you though, the biggest issue with latest wp is the anchor text link editor. What did the developers do? And, why?

    The Franchise King®

    • We agree that it was a surprising change that has had many publishers worried. There are plugins in work to resolve this issue. However, core is not going to go back to link title.


  8. Isn’t it best to disable it by adding the following to functions.php rather than having yet another plugin:

    remove_action( ‘wp_head’, ‘print_emoji_detection_script’, 7 );
    remove_action( ‘wp_print_styles’, ‘print_emoji_styles’ );

    • The plugin does just that. Not all plugins slow down your site, and it’s easier for beginners to add the plugins vs code.

      There is no difference between using the plugin or pasting the code (performance wise). Functions.php file is one giant plugin :)


    • Exactly what I was thinking while reading the article: “What? Install another plugin? ”
      Great suggestion Mark!

    • Thanks Mark! Just what I was looking for. This should really be added to the article! Not really feeling like cluttering up my install with another plugin just to remove something so small.

  9. So to disable emojis you suggest installing a plugin that adds back an additional file to do so? I’m sure there’s a better way to do this via functions.php.

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