Disabling emoji and avoiding updates

(Michael Whyte) #1

Is it still possible to write to Tidbits? I have no idea what Discourse is all about, but th name suggests that it might be the platform I want.

  1. Specific question about IOS 12.1: I use an iPhone SE and an iPad that is from 2016, both updated to 12.01. (My MacBook Air is also three years old.) I never use emoji and would love to disable the feature. I rarely use FaceTime, do not Tweet and am not active on FaceBook. Is there any compelling reason to upgrade IOS? (Or for that matter Mojave?)
  2. More general comment on the last years with Tidbits: please consider adding a running column on ‘minimalizing change’ where your experts address how to maintain the usability of Apple products with as little change as possible. Updates to systems and apps in the past decade increasingly impose features that I do not need or want and that I do not want to take the time to understand. Many seem relevant to those living in the USA (I live in Denmark and work in parts of the world where internet bandwidth is severly restricted and blackouts are not uncommon) or who use social media a great deal. I need to keep things simple, communicate to specific friends and colleagues and especially to be able to use my devices off-line. I realise I sound like a Luddite but also am quite sure that many users have similar views and similar needs.
  • Michael Whyte

Welcome to Discourse
(Al Varnell) #2

I have had no problem mostly ignoring emoji’s so see no need for the ability to disable. I’m sure I would miss quite a few messages or meanings of messages if emoji’s were to be completely rejected.

Mainly reasons of security. Older iOS’s don’t get any updates, security or otherwise and older macOS’s only receive security updates but don’t get them all. Malware developers (especially nation states) target older OS’s using well known, documented vulnerabilities.


(Adam Engst) #3

Yes, TidBITS Talk runs inside the Discourse forum software now, @michaelwhyte. Just create new topics in the TidBITS Talk category.

@alvarnell’s comment about emoji is pretty much on target. No, you can’t disable them because they’re just characters in Unicode—it would be a bit like saying “I don’t want to see any words with the letter Q in them.” Just ignore them. If you don’t use them, and the people you communicate with don’t use them, you’ll have no idea that they’re even present. (And if people you communicate with use them, you can tell them that you prefer not to receive them, just like you might inform people of your other preferences, such as not writing in all caps.)

And @alvarnell is also right about upgrades. Security is a real issue, and stuff will stop working at some point. I wrote about this a while back:

As far as a column about minimizing change, I’m not really sure how we’d do that. If you don’t want to change things, don’t change them—I can’t see how we could help you not change anything.

(Dennis Swaney) #4

While this is true, it is probably not as true for iOS as it is for Android. Since most likely the vast majority of iOS users are usually on the current main version (if not the latest sub-version), malware developers will concentrate on the older Android versions first/primarily. Ditto Mac OS vs Windows as there are probably vastly more current users of Win7 than there are of its timeline equivalent Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. Shoot, there are possibly more WinXP users still than of most recent Mac OS versions.

(Simon) #5

Sounds plausible. I’m also not convinced about the whole security threat scenario that’s being used to coerce people into constantly upgrading, buying new licenses, and purchasing new hardware. I’m pretty sure my chances of getting my Mac or my iPhone hacked and my life destroyed are substantially lower than my chances of getting killed in a car accident. Especially here in California. So the latter is where I’ll place my focus. The former I worry about when said security update does not come stitched together with features I don’t want or performance/reliability penalties. Of course, YMMV.

(Curtis Wilcox) #6

It’s not only about you, the point of many attacks is to add your device to a botnet to attack others.

(Phil Seymour) #7

Some of my older Apple products are a delight to use, like the iPod Touch 4th gen that is still using 6, or the 1999 iMac that has both OS X and OS 9. There are some magical and fun features in those older operating systems that have been deleted in the rush to make new Apple products for greater profit margins. One thing that may keep the hackers away is the small number of users and the “antiquated” software. Also, most of the things I use those devices for don’t require being online.

This is why I am not upgrading my iMac 4k, MacBook Pro or iPhone SE to the latest greatest removal of features I feel are important. Like the goofy things that have been done to programs like iPhoto, iTunes, Pages, iMovie and GarageBand that were designed by someone who clearly never used a Mac before. (Does the change from a click on the right corner of a screen to make it full or not, seem easier than pressing control/command/F?) Thoughtless redesign has been the new Apple directive for the last decade. The best way to get Apple to retuen to previous real people pleasing standards may require rejection of shiny new crap.

(David Shepherdson) #8

I never use emoji and would love to disable the feature.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is possible on iOS (though if somebody knows of a way, I’d be very keen to learn it!).

On the Mac, you can mostly achieve this by deleting the font ‘Apple Color Emoji’ from /System/Library/Fonts. Depending on the application and context, you’ll either see a ‘boxed question-mark’ missing character symbol, or just an empty space. The only real unfortunate consequence is that some developers have started using ‘emoji’ characters in place of icons in some circumstances, so you may find there are a small number of places where things like warning symbols or status badges don’t display properly. I thoroughly despise ‘emoji’, and having recently used this font-deletion technique myself I find things are so much more ‘comfortable’ now – I wish I’d thought to try this ages ago!

(The usual caveats apply about proceeding at your own risk and ensuring you have a backup when deleting files installed in the system by Apple.)

(Doug Miller) #9

You may not be able to disable showing emoji on iOS, but you can turn off the keyboard (which I do on iPad.). Settings / General / Keyboards/ Keyboards, tap Edit, and you can remove the emoji keyboard so you never accidentally tap it, etc.