WhatsApp one of the most used App for instant messaging. And yes it is for this app only that most of the smartphone brands started making good sales.

This is the only reason that old way of text messaging is finished. To use this app you just need internet data/WiFi and you can make an instant chat with any person around any corner of the world. It allows you to chat, share images, videos, locations and even voice call too.

No doubt about it, that it will keep on updating with new features time to time. While chatting we all use emoticons for different moods, puns or jokes it is an amusing thing to use while chatting.

WhatsApp already offers a large number of default emoticons in its chat window but still, you can add/edit custom Emoticons for your chat window.

Uses of Adding Custom Emoticons:

– You can use your brand/company logo with your promotion message.
– You can have fun by adding old Disney characters to it.
– Amaze others with this trick and be a Pro.

Screenshot_2015-07-28-02-18-17[1]Step-by-Step Guide to Add/Edit Custom Emoticons into your WhatsApp:

What will you need:

  • An android phone
  • A system running mac or windows.

Software for Mac/Windows:

All freeware software required (links in the description). Download 7zip freeware to extract your WhatsApp backup. To compile extracted and later, edit WhatsApp we will use apk tool freeware. Also, download imagemagick (explained below).

Also Read: How To Run Two WhatsApp Accounts In One Android

Make a backup of WhatsApp on your android phone. To do so, download an application which lets you make backups, I use ES File Explorer.

– After Installing, Open menu:- APP

Open menu and select APP

– Search for WhatsApp backup, wait for it to create the backup.

Search for WhatsApp backup

– After creating backup your backup will be located in /backups/apps/ and it should be named as Whatsapp.apk


– Now Connect your android phone to your computer and copy the backup file. Or you move it to your SD card also.


– Extract WhatsApp.apk using WinRAR or 7zip extractor. The extracted folder should look like this:

Extract whatsapp.apk using winRAR or 7zip extractorThese emoticons in WhatsApp are nothing but .png images of resolution 48X48 located inside res\drawable-hdpi

Open drawable-hdpi folder, you will see a number of WhatsApp emoticons. I don’t use the emoticon which is named “e31a.png” so I’m going to replace this emoticon with my customized one.

Using Photoshop I created this emoji:

funny right?

Then I replace this created emoji with the one located inside drawable-hdpi folder i.e “e31a.png” with the same resolution (48X48) then if I compile the folder with apktool I get an error saying resources are interchanged.

It just means that the new file (Photoshopped one) is bigger in size than the older “e31a.png” to overcome this, I used ImageMagick software which compresses the image by scraping unnecessary database off the image.

– All we have now is our customized new emoji. To reduce the size of new edited .png, open imagemagick.

Go to open-> select image -> save..that’s it!!



Your file is reduced to a few kilobytes. Rename the file to “e31a.png” copy and paste it in folder drawable-hdpi and replace it with the old file.


paste in drawable-hdpi folderNow your folder should contain:

1. Your backed up whatsapp.apk
2. apktool
3. Extracted and edited WhatsApp folder.

– Extract apktool, you will get this inside you apktool extracted folder.

Extract apktool

– Go to the explorer and delete the location and type “cmd“.



– Command window will pop-up, Type java -jar apktool.jar b AppFolder, where app folder is the name of your extracted folder, mine would be “WhatsApp_2.12.158”. So I will type “java -jar apktool.jar b WhatsApp_2.12.158“, then press Enter.

If it shows any error check your java installation.

Now you have successfully compiled the edited version of WhatsApp. The WhatsApp_2.12.158 which was previously backed up application is now the compiled version of our edited WhatsApp.

– Now copy WhatsApp_2.12.158.apk on your phone.

– Don’t install it, it’s unsigned right now. it will show parsing error. To sign it, install zip signer from Google Play Store.

– Once installed. Open it, select input file as your edited WhatsApp.apk, select output file as whatsappedited.zip

– Select auto-testkey and then press sign the file. Its almost done.

– Open ES File Explorer. Go to the newly signed file, rename it to “whatsappedited.apk” instead of whatsappedited.zip

Install it. and enjoy.Custom Emoticon Custom Emoticon Custom Emoticon

Got any questions? drop it in the comment section.

The downside of this method: The customized WhatsApp application file you will create after following these steps must be installed on the receiver’s end too otherwise the receiver will see gibberish emoji.

About the Author Bharat Khatri

Alok Rana founder of LoudTechie. Like to share his blogging experience and resources with readers. Offering best money making blogging opportunities to new bloggers. He loves to talk about how to blog, SEO, Traffic Strategies and Marketing.

  • The error is appear after firing “java -jar apktool.jar b WhatsApp_2.12.158” this command.
    even, I’ve given the same name as apkname of my whatsapp folder name in command which is “java -jar apktool.jar b whatsapp”. there is no issue with command.

    let me know how can I rid out of below error!

    I: Using Apktool 2.0.0-RC4
    Exception in thread “main” brut.androlib.AndrolibException: brut.directory.PathNotExist: apktool.yml
    at brut.androlib.Androlib.readMetaFile(Androlib.java:250)
    at brut.androlib.Androlib.build(Androlib.java:262)
    at brut.androlib.Androlib.build(Androlib.java:255)
    at brut.apktool.Main.cmdBuild(Main.java:225)
    at brut.apktool.Main.main(Main.java:84)
    Caused by: brut.directory.PathNotExist: apktool.yml
    at brut.directory.AbstractDirectory.getFileInput(AbstractDirectory.java:103)
    at brut.androlib.Androlib.readMetaFile(Androlib.java:245)
    … 4 more

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      Apktool can’t find the yml file.
      That means you had some errors while decompiling.
      yml file is created at decompile and placed inside your decompiled apk folder.
      If it’s not there something went south at decompiling process.
      did you download all of the required software from this post?

      • hello i too see same error as quoted by Rashesh in above post….
        i have downloaded all the setups mentioned in this post…
        what we else need to fix this problem …plz tel me ..

        • Bharat Khatri says:

          while working with the names of folder and apk, make sure to type with right case. As these are case sensitive.
          apktool for ics and jb.
          try this, if you don’t have lollipop.

  • hellooo,i completed dat task up to d last end,problem is dat i can find dat replaced emoji only in my phn ,wen i was tryng to send dat for me am sendng d replaced one but for d receiver its not so…i need a soln for dis ,and as mentioned it shud be installed on d recievers side too but dat installation is not happeng…try to solvedissssssss..

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      what is the error when you try to install the edited Whatsapp on your friends phone?

      • Its not getting installed IT IS SHOWING AS APP NOT INSTALLED

        • Bharat Khatri says:

          you are doing something wrong while signing the app

  • hellooo,i completed dat task up to d last end,problem is dat i can find dat replaced emoji only in my phn ,wen i was tryng to send dat for me am sendng d replaced one but for d receiver its not so…i need a soln for dis ,and as mentioned it shud be installed on d recievers side too but dat installation is not happeng…try to solvedissssssss..and while entering into cmd it is notifying as UNABLE TO ACCESS JAR FILE solve dis..!!

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      unable to access jar file implies that java is not installed on your system. install java development kit and then try again.

  • Dhruv Goyal says:

    The same error is coming during the cmd process – unable to find “apktool.yml”
    tried starting the whole process from the begining twice…..PLEASE HELP

  • Plz send me these whatsapp apk file .

  • Dhruv Goyal says:

    i installed apkyool.yml from another site and it recompiled well!
    in the last step when i install it shows “app not installed”????

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      you have to use the exact apktool provided in the links. there are many edited versions of it over the web. they might not work well.
      and don’t forget to sign the apk using “apksigner” or the app won’t install.

  • and when i sign the apk file it say access denied so plz help me

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      use zipsigner from the link given in the post.
      you won’t get any errors using that application.

  • There is no need to use apktool for this. You can simply drag and drop your edited emoticon in “res/drawable-hdpi-v4” directly from WinRAR/7Zip without extracting it. Then you have to sign it as the guide told you.
    The error experienced by Rashes is because he has not decompiled the apk file but just extracted as the guide told him to do.
    In this way apktool.yml is not generated and it’s impossible to recompile the folder later.
    Anyway thank you very much for your help because it did the trick! Bye

  • Thanks for this tutorial.

    I have a question. Are we the only one who can see the custom emojis or everybody who chat with us can see them ?

    Also, do we lost our custom emojis when we update WhatsApp from the Play Store ?

    • Bharat Khatri says:

      only you can see the edited emojis. that is why there is a step where you need to install this apk to the reciever’s end too.

  • When I install the apk whatsapp it close. I dont open the modified apk file.

  • Charlotte W says:

    Hi, thanks a lot for your sharing!!

    I got stuck at the java part…

    I put the extracted apktool, extracted WhatsApp folder and WhatsApp apk under a folder named New Folder on desktop, no matter I input
    java -jar apktool.jar b New Folder or java -jar apktool.jar b WhatsApp_2.12.367

    I got the same error msg, Error: Unable to access jarfile apktool.jar

    Is it my Java problem??

    I dont’ have problems to replace the emoji with my new 48×48 png, so I didn’t use the imagemagick, this should not cause any problems right??

    Thank you!!

    • Charlotte W says:

      Okay now please forget my above comments, I just saw the comment above by Luke, I drag and drop the modified emoji into the WhatsApp apk without extracted it. I hope it’ll do the trick.

      Now I got another problem, I followed the last few steps, signed and renamed it, but failed to install it, any solution of this? Thanks!!

      • Charlotte W says:

        I’ve tried to uninstalled the original WhatsApp, it worked, I can install the modified WhatsApp, but another problem pops up… I’m not able to verify my phone number, neither by SMS nor by voice, I got the error notice: Something is wrong with your version of WhatsApp. Please download the latest version from the Google Play Store. T_T

        • annonymous says:

          Any Solution fro the same error??

  • Will the recipient of this message be able to see this NEW emoticon in his chat if I send him ?

  • Hi

    Would you please send me the developed APK file to me

    • Sorry but I can’t reach the writer of this article from so long. And I’m not so well aware of this trick. Kindly ask the subscribers here on this article.

  • Will the person I send the edited emoji receive the normal or the edited if this person doesn’t have the modified set?

    • The other person has to follow the same procedure to get that edited emoji.

  • Im not doing it now, but im interested with this post. but before im doing it, may i ask is it client side? i mean if i change some emoticon in that apk, is it change as well on person that we send edited emoticon from our whatsapp?

    • Nope! this has to be done on both side actually. Or you can just update your WhatsApp version as it is a default emoticon in WhatsApp these days.

  • Hi everyone. I could not be successful on this way. I want to share my solution.
    Do exactly what author says about creating the emoticon.
    After that follow me :D.
    download an application from google play which allows you to edit apk s.
    ( I used an app named ‘apk editor’ )
    open the app,
    find the whatsapp
    choose simple changes
    everything will be seen clearly as you will see
    find the res\drawable-hdpi
    tap on a replace button of your unwanted emoticon, a window will pop-up.
    you will choose your design.
    by the way you will have an apk. you must uninstall the original one, later you will install your edited one. before doing it you should backup.
    sorry for my bad english, and my bad explanation. I thought that it is easy and you do not need my guide after downloading an apk editor. 🙂

    • Thanks Hakanu for sharing your procedure to do this task. Hope other users will get it properly. Try restart your device.

  • hey! i’ve completed all the steps.
    But when I run the application (new version) the verification doesn’t work.
    I get this notification “Something is wrong with your version of WhatsApp, please download the latest version from the google playstore”.
    all the other steps worked well, i can succesfully install it, i can open it. but phone verification isn’t possible. but that’s needed to continue whatsapp

    • This issue is new, I suppose your WhatsApp version is not yet updated to the date. Try restart your device.

      • wow, you reply fast

        any way, thats what i also found on internet
        (” i have the same problem. so 1st u have to uninstall wts ap + then install wts app from play store. just log in. chat with some one and take a back up. then uninstall in and install + but do not log in. then reboot your phone. after that log in … it will be k now…..”)

        i’m now trying to do that, i’ll leave a comment in a few minutes if it worked!

        already thanks 😉

  • indeed, i’ve the latest version of whatsapp installed when i completed the first steps of the tutorail

    • I don’t know much about this issue at this time. Maybe it caused by some latest update in app.

  • indeed, i don’t think i’m getting it worked on my phone.
    but at least i could give it a try 😉

    but thank you for your help!

    • Anytime and sorry for not so helpful for you on this issue.

      • you don’t have to say sorry for that 😉 you’re also human, you can’t know everything 😛

  • I would like to tell a simpler method to do this. Using the app “APK Editor” you can easily replace these images. No need to use a PC.

  • where i can download imagemagick for 32 bit windows Os. Someone please help me:-

  • hello,
    i am trying to type command in cmd but the error comes as such
    “Unable to access jarfile apktool.jar” i hav written correct name of folder. help me plz.

    • It could be due to one of these issue:
      1- You missed something while typing command in cmd, I think there could be some mistake with your path “b AppFolder”. Where appfolder is the name of your extracted folder.
      2- Some issue with your java installation.

  • hi friends the procedure which have shown is not working properly in my Z1 Compaq can you please advice me how to do it.

    • It happens when it comes to a viral post. It do get shared everywhere. It was originally written by one of our blog’s writer named Bharat on JUL 28, 2015. And its almost all sub heading were personally edited by me. So as you can see all sub heading are same as it here on my blog. I would clap for this copy-paste person. 😛

      You can also make google search with title and you will know about the exact dates when both were published. That guys published it on Sep 24, 2015. So it must be clear to you already 🙂

  • I tried to change whatsapp emoticon from line emoticons. When I verify my phone number, there is notification that “something is wrong with your version of WhatsApp. Please download the lastest version from the google play store”.

    Any Suggest Sir ?

    Thanx in advance

      • It must be some issue with latest version of WhatsApp. Try reinstalling it.

  • Hello

    After extracting i have folders drawable-hdpi-v4 and drawable-hdpi-v11. Folder res\drawable-hdpi is miising. Where to find emoji png files?

    • Karl Marker says:

      This trick is no longer useful for new versions of WhatsApp. Btw the images are located in \res\drawable-nodpi-v4

  • Hi
    I succes to change emuji but when i send it to my friend it shown orginal emuji not my edited emuji.please what im need do to solve it?

    I think that i need to create new emuji maybe by edit androidmenifest.xml?

    Pls help me

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