Unlocking your iPhone isn’t the only function of the True Depth camera found on the iPhone X (and newer devices). In 2017, Apple announced animated emoji, or Animoji, would launch alongside iOS 11. This technology used the camera to bring some familiar emoji to life with expressions and movements.
Now as a part of the iOS 12 update, Memoji takes this to a whole new level by allowing you to create your own animated emoji. Not only is it a chance to create a cartoony likeness of yourself, but you can bring it to life just like regular animoji.
So let’s take a look at how it works!
Which iPhones Support Memoji?
If you can use Animoji, you can also use Memoji. Any iPhone equipped with a True Depth camera, starting with the iPhone X, can use the technology. Newer iPhones that also support Memoji include the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr announced at Apple’s 2018 event.
These devices must have iOS 12 installed. Users who don’t have an iPhone with a True Depth camera can still view your Memoji, just like Animoji in iOS 11. And even though the animated messages are part of iMessage, even “green bubble friends” with Android devices can receive your recordings as a video.
How to Create Your Memoji
You create Memoji in the same place you can record Animoji messages: via the iMessage apps menu. Open up the Messages app, then tap the Apps icon next to the text box. Scroll through the list of icons that shows up till you find Animoji (it looks like a monkey, of course).
To add a new Memoji, you’ll want to tap the Plus button. If it’s your first time doing this, you’ll get a pop-up pointing it out. Otherwise, simply scroll all the way to the left and tap the button. Here, you’ll be able to create your likeness.
As you make changes, you’ll see your adjustments appear in real-time. Try your new face on for size by pulling a few faces. There are 10 separate categories, some of which contain several options within them.
- Skin: Including skin color, with a slider for fine-tuning, and freckles. You can even choose gray skin, a nice Shrek green, or red for when you’re feeling particularly angry.
- Hairstyle: These aren’t separated by gender, which goes for every option in the Memoji creator. You can pick from natural color shades, and add highlights too if you want.
- Head Shape: With options for aging and chin size.
- Eyes: Basic eye color and eyelash adjustment.
- Brows: You can adjust this separately from your hair color, with many shapes and different thicknesses to choose from.
- Nose and Lips: Three sizes of nose, with different lip colors and shapes (though not a huge variety to choose from).
- Ears: Three sizes of ears, with options for adding one set of earrings (only in both ears), and adjusting the color of your jewelry.
- Facial Hair: Including sideburns, lots of beards, stubble, and mustaches, plus the option of natural or not-so-natural coloring.
- Eyewear: You have plenty of glasses styles to choose from. You can adjust the frame color and lens color too (and adjust opacity, so you can still see your eyes underneath if you want).
- Headwear: All manner of hats, beanies, and religious garments in the usual shades.
You can flick back and forth to tweak your creation until you’re happy, then tap Done in the top-right corner of the screen. Your Memoji will be saved to the list, under the same Animoji button you tapped prior to creating it.
Edit, Duplicate, and Create More Memojis
You can create as many Memojis as you like. Simply revisit the menu and tap the Plus button once more for another. Find an old Memoji and tap the ellipsis button in the bottom-left corner to bring up three options: Edit, Duplicate, and Delete.
Tap Duplicate to quickly clone your Memoji, then Edit it to make small adjustments. Try adding a version of yourself wearing sunglasses, or different eyewear, and other changes. Remember: there’s no need to be completely true to life here. Apple added this feature for fun, so experiment and see what you can come up with.
How to Send Animated Memoji Messages
With an arsenal of likenesses at your disposal, you can send Memoji messages in the same way you send regular Animoji. Launch Messages then tap the App button. Find the Animoji “monkey” button then choose your likeness.
You can tap the Record button once to record a message of up to 30 seconds long, then tap it again to finish your recording. You can also hold down the Record button for the length of your recording if you’d rather.
Once you’ve recorded a message, you can scroll left and right and use it on other Memoji or Animoji. Keep in mind that sound is included on the recording. You can also send a single, still image of you making a particular expression.
Make a face, then simply tap on your likeness. The image adds to the text box, where you can type a comment below and hit Send. This will work with both iMessage and Android users, since the likeness sends as an image.
Another way to use your new Memoji is via the use of iMessage stickers. These will only work via iMessage, with other iPhone users. Strike a pose you’re happy with, then tap and hold your likeness. Drag your face up into the message body and release over a message or image you’d like to apply the sticker to.
You can pinch with a free finger to enlarge or shrink the sticker if you want.
Memojis Are Like Animojis, But Better
Unfortunately, there’s no way to add your likeness to the regular emoji keyboard, which probably has more to do with standardization than anything. It would be nice to have a few predetermined expressions applied to your likeness for use in everyday conversation, though.
Of course, you’ll probably get a lot more use out of your Truth Depth camera if you use it to unlock your iPhone with Face ID instead.