The World Wide Web may have changed into tech wizards over the past 30 years, but the popularity of relatively low-tech animated GIFs on social media has held up better than many observers might have expected. While in the past you needed a computer-based graphics program to breathe life into a series of static images, today the process is automated and for most non-professional applications – all you need is your smartphone. There are several ways to create a GIF on your iPhone, from using Apple’s Live Photos to third-party apps. We show how it is done.
Use a live photo
You can easily create GIF animations with Live Photos on iPhone. Apple debuted Live Photos on the iPhone 6S in 2015, and among the many charms of the feature is that they can easily be turned into GIF. A Live Photo is technically a three-second video – the phone records video 1.5 seconds before you press the shutter button to 1.5 seconds after you press – resulting in a three-second video complete with audio. How to make it a GIF.
- Take a live photo by launching the camera application and tapping the bull-eye icon at the top of the screen to turn it yellow.
- To turn your photo into a GIF, open Live Photo and swipe up from the bottom.
- You will see the choice of Loop, Bounceand Long exposure – use either Loop or Bounce for your animation.
- Loop plays the three-second Live Photo silently in a loop and turns Live Photo into a GIF.
- Bounce, another type of animation, plays Live Photo back and forth in an eternal loop.
Select a GIF in messages
If you are not obsessed with creating your own original GIF from the beginning, try the GIF finder in Apple Messages. Add a GIF from the # images feature in Messaging in the iPhone app to find and share GIF files.
- Open Messaging and enter a contact or tap an existing conversation.
- Tap Find pictures to search for a specific GIF or enter a keyword.
- Press GIF to add it to your message.
- Press send.
Use the shortcut app
You’ve probably done this by mistake – hold down the iPhone shutter button for too long while the Camera application shoots multiple stills at full resolution. When seen in sequence, they resemble a flip book animation. These burst images are designed to capture action or create special effects when you do not want to record video. They are especially useful for creating animated GIFs on your iPhone.
- Launch the shortcuts app. It comes pre-installed on your phone with iOS 12 and later.
- Search for and download Convert Burst to GIF shortcut. When you are on it, you can also download Convert video to GIF shortcut. If someone does not come up in a search, you can find them via Gallery> Photography> Convert Burst to GIF or Gallery> All GIFs.
- You may be asked to allow the app to access your photos or videos, so allow it.
- Drive the shortcut by pressing the arrow at the bottom right. It shows a list of all your burst images.
- Select one and it will be quickly converted to a GIF.
- Tap Done and you will be asked to either share GIF or Save in photos.
Use only Giphy
The free Giphy app, easily the most popular GIF generator out there, is a study in municipal madness. Giphy was recently purchased by Facebook, but the app is still available from the App Store, as it has been in the past. With Giphy, you can choose from a myriad of free GIFs for every conceivable purpose. Or you can use your own images from your camera roll or take a new image or video and decorate it with animated stickers, text, filters and AR effects. Giphy guides you every step of the way, so you can experiment as much as possible before saving your GIF.
- Download Giphy from the App Store.
- Follow the prompt to create a new GIF.
- Give Giphy access to your camera.
- Add all possible animated elements to your own image.
- Or use Giphy’s ready-made GIF in any category you want.
- Save, upload to Giphy or share with your friends.