How to react to messages in WhatsApp with emoji

We’re not sure exactly why it has taken so long, but WhatsApp has finally added the ability to react to messages with a selection of emoji.

Other messaging apps have let you do this for years but for reasons unknown, WhatsApp hasn’t prioritised the feature.

We knew reactions were being developed back in September 2021, but only in May 2022 did the feature roll out to users in an update to the app.

As long as you have the latest version on your phone, you should be able to use message reactions.

To pick an emoji to react with, simply long-press the message and then tap on one of the icons.

You can choose between:

  • Thumbs-up
  • Heart
  • Crying with laughter
  • Surprised face
  • Sad, crying face
  • Thanks

In chats between two individuals, you can pick only one reaction: it isn’t possible to go back and select a second. If you do this, your original reaction will be updated with the emoji you picked the second time. That’s useful if you accidentally tap the wrong one or change your mind.

In group chats, multiple emoji can be shown below messages, as different people choose different reactions.

How to use WhatsApp reactions on WhatsApp web & desktop

The process is only slightly different from the mobile apps. Instead of long-pressing – or long-clicking –  just hover over the message with your cursor and click on the grey smiley face.

How to use the new emoji reactions in WhatsApp

The same list of emoji will appear for you to click on.

If you don’t see the face in WhatsApp desktop for Windows or Mac, it’s likely your version is out of date. To update it, head to to get the latest version.

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