How to Text a GIF on an iPhone or Android

Brighten up any conversation

GIFs are image files, either static or animated, that you can text to people to communicate something. Sometimes GIFs help express your thoughts or reactions with hilarious visuals, and sometimes they're just silly or fun ways to communicate. Whether you have an iOS device or an Android, it's easy to text GIFs.

Send GIFs on iOS

Texting GIFs with an iPhone (or another iOS device) couldn't be easier. Apple built a GIF feature right into its Messages app, so selecting and sending the perfect GIF is a breeze. The following steps work for iOS 10 and newer.

  1. Open the Messages app.

  2. Tap on the Write button (square with a pencil) in the top right corner.

  3. Enter the name of the person you want to message.

    Three iOS Screens showing Messages icon, New message icon, and To: field
  4. Tap the App drawer button (triangle) on the left side.

  5. Tap the #images button (magnifying glass) on the bottom.

  6. Enter your search term for a GIF.

    Three iOS screens showing App drawer, GIF button, and Find Images field
  7. Tap the GIF you want to send.

  8. Tap the Send (arrow pointing up) button.

    Two iOS screens showing choosing a GIF in Messages and the Send button
  9. Your GIF is on its way!

Missing the Images Button?

If you are missing the #images button in your app drawer, do the following to install:

  1. Tap the App drawer icon (triangle).

  2. Then swipe left on the app drawer and tap the More button (…).

  3. Tap Edit, then tap the plus sign (+) to add the #images app.

    Three iOS screens showing App drawer, More button, and green plus button to add #images to Favorites

You can also download and send GIFs from third-party apps from the App Store for a wider selection of content.

Send GIFs on Android

With Android devices, you have a few options for texting GIFs. Using the built-in Messages app is very similar to iPhone's Messages. The following steps work for Android Oreo and newer (unless otherwise stated).

First Method

The first method works directly from your messaging app.

  1. Open the Apps drawer (if it’s not on your home screen).

  2. Open Messages.

  3. Tap the text bubble icon on the bottom of the screen.

  4. Enter in the name of the person you want to text.

  5. Select the Start button.

    Three Android screens showing Apps, Speech Bubble, and Start buttons to text a GIF
  6. Select the built-in GIF button (smiley) which is located within the text entry field by tapping it.

    For Android Nougat: Tap the Smiley button, then tap the GIF button.

    You’ll get an option for stickers or GIFs to browse.

    Or, to find a specific GIF, tap the search button.

    Three Android screens showing the GIF button, the Search field and the
  7. Enter in the text you desire, then swipe to find a GIF.

  8. Tap the desired GIF.

  9. Tap the Send button (looks like a paper airplane or triangle).

  10. Your GIF is on its way!

Method Two

This second method requires that you use the Google Search option in your messages.

  1. Tap the G (Google search) button.

  2. Type in your desired text.

  3. Swipe to find the GIF you want.

  4. Tap the desired GIF to select it.

  5. Tap the Send button.

  6. Your GIF is on its way!

Method 3: If Gboard Is Installed

The third messages uses Gboard, which is a virtual keyboard developed by Google.

Gboard is the best way to use GIFs in Android Marshmallow.

  1. Tap the smiley on the keyboard.

    Three Android Screens showing Send button, Gboard icon, and emoticon icon on keyboard
  2. Swipe to browse stickers or GIFs (or enter search text for your desired GIF).

  3. Tap to select the GIF you want.

  4. Tap the Send button.

  5. Your GIF is on its way!