What Are Animoji?

How to use Apple's moving emoji

Fox animoji
Apple

Animoji are animated emoji that have been created by Apple for use in messaging.

Everyone loves emoji. What fun would text messages be without being able to flirt with a winky face, invite people to dinner with tacos, or explain just how bad your day was with the pile of poop? But emoji aren't very personal. We use the same emoji every time. But that's about to change, thanks to Apple's new Animoji.

What Are Animoji?

Animoji are a new feature introduced by Apple that transforms some of the classic emoji icons into short, customized animations.

What's particularly cool about them is that they're not just animations. They actually scan your facial expressions and map them onto the icon, so that an Animoji acts out your behavior. Frown and your Animoji frowns. Shake your head, laugh, and close your eyes and the Animoji does the same.

Even better, you can record short voice messages with Animoji and, thanks to the facial scan and expression mimicking, the Animoji will appear to be realistically and naturally speaking your words. The voices used by the Animoji match the character chosen. So, choose the alien character and your message will sound like it's being spoken by an alien.

Can You Use Any Emoji With Animoji?

No. It would be awesome if every emoji could be animated, but for now at least, there are 12 emojis that can be used as Animoji.

Those 12 are:

  • Alien
  • Cat face
  • Chicken
  • Dog face
  • Fox face
  • Monkey face
  • Panda face
  • Pig face
  • Pile of Poo
  • Rabbit face
  • Robot face
  • Unicorn face

What Do You Need to Create Animoji?

The requirements for creating animoji are pretty simple. You need:

  • iPhone X—Apple's flagship iPhone X model has the Face ID facial recognition system built into the front-facing camera. This system is used to unlock the phone and authorize Apple Pay transactions. The same sensors map your face and capture your expressions to animate the Animoji.
  • iOS 11 with the Animoji iMessage app installed—Animoji only work on iOS 11 and up. They're not built into the OS or iMessage. Rather, they're an iMessage app that's pre-installed with iOS 11 on the iPhone X.
  • iMessage account—Animoji can only be sent via iMessage, not other text-messaging apps.

Can Anyone Receive Animoji?

No. Animoji only work on devices running iOS 11 and higher. Any device capable of running iOS 11 or higher can display Animoji, not just the iPhone X.

Do Animoji Replace Regular Emoji?

No. All of the traditional emoji that we know and love are still available on the iPhone and all other devices running iOS 11 and iMessage. Animojis are strictly a bonus.

How Do You Make Animoji?

If you've got an iPhone X, making Animojis is pretty simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Open the Animoji iMessage app.
  3. Select a character for your message.
  4. Tap the record button and speak your message. Both your voice and your facial expressions while you speak will be captured and mapped onto the Animoji.
  5. Send the message like any other message.

When Can You Use Animoji?

Since Animoji require the iPhone X, the feature won't be available until that phone is released. The Animoji iMessage app is pre-installed on that model.

The iPhone X debuts in the U.S. and a number of other countries worldwide on late 2017.