I want to use Google/Android emoji (noto font) instead of the standard apple emoji set. Can I do that on mac?

sudo cp Downloads/NotoColorEmoji-unhinted/NotoColorEmoji.ttf /library/fonts/Apple\ Color\ Emoji.ttf doesn't change anything and SIP prevents changes to /System/Library/Fonts/Apple Color Emoji.ttf

I'm running 10.11.6 on a 5k iMac if it makes a difference


3 Answers 3


Yes and no. You can change the default emoji font used by Mac OS X, but I don't think you can change it to Google's Noto fonts, although that may depend on your version of OS X.

Basically if you have a font file in .ttf format that contains emoji, you can replace Apple's emoji font with that font using the following steps:

  1. Ignore the default location for Apple's emoji located in system/library/fonts. In other words, leave this alone.
  2. Obtain another emoji font file. HINT: The emojione font is similar to Google's.
  3. Rename your other emoji ttf font file to Apple Color Emoji.ttf
  4. Move the newly renamed font file to the /library/fonts folder.

I know the above process works for El Capitan, but your situation may be different.

  • I tried this out with emojione, which is cool. That works, but there's an issue with character rendering on macs using emojione's font. go figure! Aug 5, 2016 at 9:43
  • Thanks, I just wanted to confirm whether my answer worked for you, so others with the same question know how to do this also. I'm glad it did work. As for the issue people have with the emojione font, that's an interesting read. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully that's not an for other emoji fonts users may decide to use on their Macs.
    – Monomeeth
    Aug 5, 2016 at 10:29
  • Apple still only supports its custom sbix table for color/emoji fonts. It's PNG-based like Google's CBDT+CBLC Opentype variant. Transtype claims to be able to convert such fonts in a user-friendly way. Also see apple.stackexchange.com/questions/228144/…
    – Crissov
    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:41

Yes, you can!

--EDIT-- The below still works, BUT, turns out, JoyPixels (close Google emoji / Noto Font) has an emoji set including a .ttc file directly for download on their website for free that you can simply download and install as a font: https://joypixels.com/download

Fonts are in a .ttf file format, but Apple compiles those files using a SBIX format and others use other methods, typically CBDT/CBLC is used. Because of this, even though you have a .ttf file, it has to be compiled in the SBIX format. There is a user (vXBaKeRXv) on Github who has compiled multiple emoji fonts using the SBIX format. There's a Github thread and a Medium article on what to do. Quoting from the Medium article:

The Step-by-Step

  1. Head over to this Github repo and download the .deb archive that contains your emoji set of choice.
  2. Extract/open the .deb archive. Once inside, extract the archive named data.tar.gz. You’ll now see a folder called var. Inside that is a folder called mobile. Keep on going deeper and you’ll eventually reach your destination: a font file named [email protected].
  3. Rename [email protected] by putting spaces between each word and removing the ending, so that the new file name is Apple Color Emoji.ttf.
  4. Keeping that Finder window open, start up Font Book (the built-in app where you can manage all the fonts installed on your device). In the left side panel at the top, select the ‘Computer’ option to show all the fonts you’ve installed as well as the default system fonts. If you scroll down the list of fonts, you should see an entry called Apple Color Emoji close to the bottom. This is the font file you’ll be overwriting, but don’t worry, this process is easily reversible!
  5. Drag the Apple Color Emoji.ttf from the Finder window into Font Book. You’ll be prompted to install the font. It may warn you about it being a duplicate, but we already know that, so keep on going. Once you finish installing the new emoji font, you’re good to go! Try out your new emoji set by opening up your browser of choice, selecting a text field, and press CTRL+CMD+SPACEBAR to quickly bring up the emoji picker.

For step 2, this works on a Mac to unpack a .deb file without installing it: ar -x path/to/deb/file.deb

  • Have you verified this is possible in Big Sur? It protects system fonts in a new way. Dec 18, 2020 at 20:14
  • I'm on Catalina, 10.15.7. But the "Font Book.app" allows you to install fonts, and JoyPixels provides their emojis as a .ttc font file. So it should still work. This method never messes with the system emoji's, they're still there, you're just doing the equivalent of choosing a new Font for the system to use. As of right now I can only confirm for sure though that it's working on 10.15.7 (Catalina), as I have not updated just yet to Big Sur Dec 18, 2020 at 20:39
  • JoyPixels is NOT open-source. It has a "free" license for personal use and that license is proprietary. Also, the link to JoyPixels is invalid.
    – Tin Man
    Aug 2, 2022 at 16:26
  • Yes, thank you. Fixed link and removed open source piece. Aug 2, 2022 at 19:35

No, you can't.

Apple uses different type of ColorEmoji font, SBIX if I'm not mistaken, Google uses another different CBDT/CBLC format, so they are incompatible for each other.

If you want to use Google's NotoColorEmoji, you need to decompile ttf file, and recompile it as Apple compatible version.

  • 1
    You could also build it directly from the source, without the need for decompiling, which you can do with Emoji Tools.
    – Crissov
    Apr 21, 2017 at 8:33

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .