The 5 Best GIF Keyboards for Texting and Emojis on Android
Your phone’s keyboard needs to do more than just input text. GIFs, emojis, Bitmojis, and other media are integral parts of messaging today. Integrating them into your keyboard makes it easy to send GIFs, as you don’t have to open your browser and copy them.
Here are the best GIF keyboards for texting on Android. While each keyboard has its own charms, you can install multiple and switch between them quickly, too.
1. Gboard: Default but Excellent
Gboard is the default keyboard for Android, but not everyone is aware of everything it can do. Even if you use the Samsung keyboard for GIFs and texting on your Samsung phone, try out Gboard (or another alternative keyboard app, like SwiftKey, which also supports GIFs).
You might be surprised to know Gboard has a strong GIF game, and lets you easily add any type of media.
Tap the smiley icon next to the space bar to see a menu for emojis, Bitmojis, stickers, GIFs, and regular emoticons. The first magnifying glass icon is a universal search across all categories. While it supports everything, Gboard shines as the best GIF keyboard for Android texting.
Tap GIF to find a search bar, popular tags, and your recently used GIFs. This is a Google search on popular GIF-sharing apps like Giphy, Gfycat, Tenor, and more. When you find a GIF you like, tap to add its link to the text box. You can only share a link of the GIF—hopefully, the app can automatically expand it. Most chat apps will do that, but not all can.
Emojis send as regular text through unicode. Bitmojis and stickers will be uploaded as images to any app you add them in. Since it uses Google search, Gboard is pretty quick at searching for the right GIF you’re looking for. But it’s not the fastest…
Download: Gboard for Android (Free)
2. Fleksy and Tenor: Fastest Keyboards for Giphy Search
Two GIF keyboard Android apps, Fleksy and Tenor, are faster than Gboard at searching for and rendering animated GIFs. Both search Giphy, one of the biggest GIF hosts on the internet. But both Fleksy and Tenor have a peculiar issue that you should know.
Like Gboard, when you tap on an image you like, Fleksy will insert the link to the GIF in the text box. But that’s only for apps that will expand the GIF. In certain chat apps like WhatsApp, Fleksy won’t insert the GIF or its link.
This makes it a little difficult to figure out how to send GIFs on Android when the app doesn’t support it, but you can always switch to a different keyboard.
On the other hand, Tenor never inserts the link, and only inserts the GIF. But again, this works with select apps. For example, it won’t insert a link on Slack, but it captured and sent the GIF on WhatsApp in our testing.
Both of these apps are excellent for finding a GIF quickly because they render the full animation faster than Gboard does. Try them both to see if Tenor or Fleksy is better for the apps that you use GIFs in, and use that one.
3. Kika Keyboard: Automatic GIF Suggestions
Like the other aforementioned GIF keyboards for texting on Android, Kika Keyboard has a large library of GIFs and emojis available within a few taps. You’ll also find tags to quickly swipe through trending and popular GIFs. But its unique selling point is the automatic GIF suggestions it offers.
When you type a single word like “awesome” or “cool” or “K”, Kika will often issue a popup GIF right above the keyboard. Tap to send it instead of the word you typed, or to send both. It’s pretty cool—you’ll probably find yourself using GIFs more this way.
Apart from this feature, Kika Keyboard is a decent GIF keyboard overall, but I found it a bit gaudy. It does all the basics well though, so try it out. You might just like it more than Gboard and others.
Download: Kika Keyboard for Android (Free, in-app purchases available)
4. Bobble: GIFs With Your Face
How cool would it be if you could make a GIF that has your own face in it? Bobble does just that by taking your selfie and turning it into cool GIFs and stickers. It’s like the next level of the Bitmoji craze .
Your avatar is oh-so-cleverly called a Bobble “head.” Take some time to get these heads right. You have to take a selfie and then work on it with basic paintbrush tools. It’ll take about 10 minutes to get it right, but it’s worth the time investment. You can save multiple heads to convey different expressions.
You can then put this head on any GIF or sticker; the GIFs are actually animated stickers. When you’re using the keyboard, it’s easy to browse through various GIFs or stickers, change the head on the fly, and then share it. Bobble is one of the coolest GIF keyboards for Android, and well worth a look.
Download: Bobble for Android (Free)
5. Copypasta: Complex Text-Based Emoticons
Before GIFs and emojis, the internet made do with simple and complex text-based emoticons like this:
Another popular internet phenomenon is a “copypasta”, which is kind of like a text version of an internet meme.
The Copypasta Keyboard combines these two phenomena into one app, so you can quickly add a “shruggie” or any emoticon . From the above cool sunglasses to flipping tables, everything is a couple of taps away.
While there are a bunch of popular internet copypastas here too, you’ll need to really be deep into web culture to understand or use those.
Download: Copypasta Keyboard for Android (Free)
How to Quickly Switch Between Keyboards
If you have installed multiple keyboards, Android makes it easy to switch between them quickly. When you’re typing in a text field, pull down the notification shade.
Tap Choose input method to bring up a menu of all keyboards installed on your device. Then select the one you want to use to switch instantly.
If this option doesn’t appear for you, look for a Keyboard icon at the bottom-right on the navigation bar while typing. This is how Android 10 allows you to switch keyboards.
Protect Your Privacy on Android Keyboards
Now you have several apps to use if you’re a GIF addict. Sending the right piece of media at the right time in any conversation becomes even much easier with them.
With software keyboards, you may be concerned that these apps monitor and store the sensitive information that you type. If you don’t trust the big companies, there are safer alternatives.
You might not get the same features and quick GIF searches, but the best free and open-source Android keyboards will keep your data safe and private.