OBJ emoji (): What does it mean and how to fix it?

A dotted rectangle with the letters OBJ inside is not any emoji, but rather a replacement character found in text messages, web pages, and even documents. The person creating these messages and files inserts an actual emoji but you may not receive it due to several reasons. What is this symbol and how to get rid of it? Read on to find out!

What Does OBJ Mean In Text

What Does OBJ Stand For In Texting?

When your device or its Unicode version fails to interpret or display an object received, it replaces it with the OBJ symbol which is an acronym of Object replacement character in texting. This object can be a special character or an emoji recently added to the Unicode system.

Why do I see OBJ instead of emojis?

OBJ symbol is a placeholder for emojis in the Unicode system that cannot be shown on your device for a number of reasons.

Unicode Support Not Updated or Matched

Our devices run on the Unicode language that manages to encode and represent texts expressed in most writing systems. This includes mapping letters, symbols, and even emojis to codes which allow them to be represented from one device to another. But it also has a few gaps, especially the emojis that are constantly being updated. If Unicode fails to interpret that emoji, it will display the OBJ symbol.

Although most devices and applications use the most updated version of Unicode, some may be behind and not support the latest emojis added to the system. Furthermore, some software may work outside of Unicode which will fail to display their characters and symbols on incompatible devices.

Example of similar issue happening in older versions of Windows, Read more (here

Software Bug

If it was working fine previously and you start seeing the OBJ emoji out of nowhere, it’s probably because a random bug has found its way into the operating system, affecting applications, features, and even the functionality of your device.

A Glitch in Voice-to-Text Feature

The voice-to-text feature turns your speech into characters and then converts them to text. At times, this tool may cause conflicts within some software that may fail to recognize the speech symbols and associate them with a letter.

voice-to-text feature

Corrupted Data

This issue is more common among computers than in smartphones. It usually happens when you transfer data from one place to another, especially when the internet connection is not stable enough. In that case, your system replaces the missing data with the Object Replacement symbol instead of the actual object.

How can I fix the OBJ emoji problem?

Refresh Everything

Refreshing your device and its software is the fastest way to get rid of the OBJ error if it is caused by a glitch or bug. To do so, you should force-quit the app, power off your device and reboot it after a couple of minutes. 

Below are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Launch the multitasking screen on your phone. Swipe up or right, depending on your device to force-close the app. 
  2. Then, press and hold down the Power/Side button.
  3. Choose Shut Down from the pop-up options on Android and drag the power-off slider to the right if you own an iPhone.
restart iPhone
  1. Wait for a few minutes.
  2. Long-press the Power/Side button again until your device screen lights up, indicating that it is booting up.

Update Your Device OS

For the latest Unicode version, you need to keep your device updated at all times. These update alerts are typically enabled by default, but sometimes it’s better to manually check for newer versions in case you missed it. 

Here’s what you must do if you own an Android:

  1. First, launch your Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and go to Software Update.
  3. Next, tap on Download and Install.
What Does OBJ Mean In Text
  1. Your device will start fetching an update, if available.
update Android OS

For Apple users, follow these steps:

  1. To begin, go to the Settings app.
  2. Then, tap on General.
  3. From the very top, tap on Software Update.
update iOS
  1. This will initiate the fetching process. If a newer version is available, tap on Download and Install to begin downloading.

Update Your Apps 

If only a few applications are showing the OBJ symbol when texting or messaging with friends, it’s possible that that particular application is outdated or incompatible with the latest Unicode version. For this reason, you are to keep your applications updated at all times. 

Here’s how to do it on an iPhone:

  1. Launch the App Store and tap on your profile icon at the upper-right corner of the screen.
  2. Next, scroll down to the Upcoming Automatic Updates section.
  3. Finally, tap on the Update button next to any app to install its latest version.
update app

Here’s what Android users need to do:

  1. Start by going to the Play Store app.
  2. Tap on the profile icon at the top-right corner of the screen.
  3. From there, tap on Manage apps & device.
Manage apps & device
  1. Then, select Updates available.
What Does OBJ Mean In Text
  1. Lastly, tap on the Update button next to the app you’d like to install the latest version of.

How to Avoid Getting the OBJ Emoji Error

Download an Emoji Keyboard or Library

Some devices don’t feature the compatible keyboard, hence why the OBJ error keeps popping up no matter what you do. In that scenario, your best bet is to install a third-party keyboard or an emoji library. These keyboards have the latest variety of characters and often automatically sync with the default emoji library. This will let you view and send the latest emojis to your friends via text.

Speak Slowly and Clearly When Using the Voice-to-Text Feature

When using the Voice-to-Text feature on your device, it’s better to speak slowly and clearly so that the device understands your speech and converts it into correct letters.

Applications and Devices Affected by OBJ Emoji Error

The OBJ Emoji error is mostly experienced by iPhone and Android users, but computers are no exception to this. The placement holder is typically utilized by most social media and texting platforms where the emoji and voice-to-text features are used to communicate with other people. This includes apps like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Browser sites and data files also show the OBJ symbol due to weak internet connection.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.