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GIFs and emojis are the lifeblood of every group chat thread. Thanks to your iPhone’s built-in emoji keyboard, emojis are easy to use. But that’s not the case with GIFs.
Every messaging app has its own GIF tool, but they work independently and function differently. If you’re looking for a more cohesive approach to GIFs, you’ll need to use a third-party app.
Thankfully, these seven iPhone apps let you keep a unified collection of your favorite GIFs handy (even those you’ve made).
1. Quickly Share GIFs With Gboard
If all you want to do is share a quick GIF of Owen Wilson saying “wow” or a cat shaking its head, you don’t need more than the Gboard app. It’s arguably the best keyboard app for iPhone.
Really, Gboard is one of the essential utilities everyone should install. It comes with built-in Google search, gesture typing, emoji suggestions, stickers, and GIF search.
After enabling the Gboard app from Settings > General > Keyboards, tap and hold on the Globe icon and switch to Gboard.
Select the GIF search tool, then search for a GIF or choose one based on category. Tap on the GIF to copy it.
Next, tap and hold on the message box, select Paste, and the GIF preview will show up in the relevant app. You can then press the send button to post the GIF in the thread.
Download: Gboard (Free)
2. Caption GIFs With GIF Keyboard
The beauty of GIF Keyboard lies in just how much you can do from the keyboard view.
Once you’ve logged into the app and enabled the new keyboard, you can browse the categories or search for any GIF. Use the Heart button to add a GIF to your favorites. You can even create packs and add new GIFs to them from the keyboard view.
Tap on the keyboard’s profile button to access all your favorites and packs.
The best part of GIF Keyboard is its caption tool. Select a GIF, tap on the Caption button, and type out a message. It will show up at the bottom of the GIF. This is a great way to troll your friends and add an extra punch to an already hilarious GIF.
Download: GIF Keyboard (Free)
3. Build Your Own GIF Library With Giphy
Giphy, as you might know, is the backbone of the GIF community. The GIF searches in apps like Instagram or WhatsApp all come from the same source: Giphy.
This is what makes the Giphy app a must have for every GIF-head. You can use the app to view trending GIFs, explore categories, and quickly share GIFs to a chat app.
Unlike the above, Giphy’s app doesn’t offer a keyboard. Open the Giphy app and start by creating an account. This way, your favorites will show up across all your devices (and the website).
Tap on the Explore icon to see the latest categories. Use the Search icon if you want to search for a specific GIF, which is where Giphy truly shines.
Say you want to share the GIF of Terry Crews from Brooklyn Nine-Nine bouncing his pecs. Just searching for Brooklyn Terry pecs does the trick.
Once you’ve selected the GIF, simply tap on it to copy it. Switch over to your chat app, paste it, and you’re done. You can also save the GIF to your Camera Roll (as a GIF or even as a Live Photo). Use the Share button to copy the link to the GIF, making it simple to to share directly on Facebook or Twitter.
When you find a GIF that you like, tap on the heart button to save it to your Favorites section.
Download: Giphy (Free)
4. Create Awesome GIFs With Giphy Cam
Sometimes, a reaction GIF just isn’t enough. This is where Giphy Cam comes in. You can use the app to quickly create a reaction GIF (stitched together and looped from a couple of photos) or you can shoot a longer video and convert it into a GIF.
You can end it there if you like. Save the video, share it on WhatsApp, and be done with it.
Alternatively, you can enter the amazing world of GIF filters. After you’ve created the GIF, take a look at the editing options below. Choose one of the filters, then add a sticker, an effect, and some text to make your GIF groovy or terrifying (depending on your mood).
Explore the options as much as you like. There’s a lot of fun to be had just trying out the filters and stickers.
Download: Giphy Cam (Free)
5. Own Your GIF Collection With GIFWrapped
Apps like Giphy and GIF Keyboard sync your favorites and collections from their servers. This means that you need to create an account with each service.
GIFWrapped is the app for people who want full control over their GIF library. The free app lets you search for GIFs (from the Giphy database). You can save GIFs to your library and sync it using your Dropbox account so it’s backed up and available across your devices.
GIFWrapped’s interface is structured like a professional iPhone app, It doesn’t really communicate the silly and fun nature of GIFs. But don’t let that get in your way; it’s worth using.
Go to Search to tab to search for a GIF. Tap on a GIF to select it, then choose the Share button to add it to your library. Choose the Copy Image option to copy the GIF and paste it anywhere.
Download: GIFWrapped (Free, premium version available)
6. Convert Live Photos to GIFs With Motion Stills
Live Photos are pure delight. If you have the space on your iPhone, I suggest you keep the feature turned on.
If you’re not familiar, with Live Photos your iPhone captures one and a half seconds of video before and after you tap the shutter button. When viewing a Live Photo, you can 3D Touch it to watch the picture animate.
Often, you can get some funny or beautiful gems from this feature. But sharing Live Photos isn’t straightforward.
The best way to share a Live Photo with your friends or family is by converting it into a GIF. Google’s Motion Stills app makes it quite easy.
Open the app and you’ll see a list of all the Live Photos and GIFs stored on your iPhone. First, swipe to the top and go to Settings to disable the watermark. Then tap on a Live Photo preview.
From the editing screen, you can disable the smart stabilization, add text, disable the loop, and turn off the audio. When you’re done, tap the Share button to export it as a GIF or video.
Download: Motion Stills (Free)
You can also create GIFs with burst photos on your iPhone. Check out our guide on exactly how to do it.
7. Make a GIF Library in the Photos App
If you’re running iOS 11 or later, you can use the Photos app to save and share GIFs. When you come across a GIF in an app or in a chat, just save it to Photos app.
Then open the Photos app and go to the Albums tab. From the Media Types section, tap Animated. All your saved GIFs appear there. You can choose a GIF, tap on Share, then share it with an app like WhatsApp or Messages as a GIF.
Learn the New Language of the Web
GIFs are the new way we communicate. And with these apps, you’ll have a ton of them at your fingertips for any occasion.
But do you know about the history, culture, and future of GIFs? Our complete guide to the culture of GIFs will help you understand. And for more apps you can use to create animated GIFs, check out our additional list.