How to Post a GIF to Instagram (As a Mini Video)

Impress Your Instagram Followers with GIF-Like Videos

Boomerang for Instagram
Photo © Instagram

GIFs are everywhere. They're on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit–but what about Instagram? Is it even possible to post a GIF to Instagram?

The answer to that quest is... yes and no. Let me explain:

No, because Instagram doesn't currently support the .gif image format needed to upload and play a GIF image that's animated. But also yes, because Instagram has a separate app that you can download that can be used to create short videos that look and feel just like GIFs.

Recommended: 7 Free Online GIF Maker Tools for Video

So if you've got a collection of .gif images in a folder on your device, you'll have to stick to sharing them on Twitter, Tumblr and all the other social networks with full GIF support. However, if you'd like to film your own GIF-like video using your device's camera, then you'll want to know about Instagram's app called Boomerang (free for iOS and Android).

How Boomerang Helps You Create GIF-Like Videos for Instagram

Boomerang is a super simple app that doesn't currently have very many options at the moment, but its straightforwardness makes it easy to get hooked on using regularly. Once you've downloaded the app, you'll be asked for your permission to access the camera before you can get started with shooting your first mini GIF-like video.

Just select the front or rear-facing camera, point your camera at what you want to shoot and tap the white button.

Boomerang works by taking 10 photos super quickly and then stitches them together, speeds the sequence up and smooths it all out. The end result is a mini video (with no sound of course) that looks exactly like a GIF, and loops back to the start when it finishes.

How to Post Your Mini GIF-Like Video to Instagram

You'll be shown a preview of your mini video and then you'll be given the option to share it to Instagram, Facebook or any of your other apps.

When you choose to share it to Instagram, it will trigger the official Instagram app to open up with the mini video you just created already loaded up and ready to edit.

From there, you can edit your mini video exactly the same way you'd edit any other Instagram video–by applying filters, trimming the clip and setting a thumbnail image before adding a caption. When you post your mini video, it will play and loop automatically in your followers' feeds, and you'll probably notice a little label below the video that says "made with Boomerang." If anyone taps on this label, a box will pop up to introduce them to the app and give them a direct link to download it.

What's interesting about your Boomerang posts is that even though they're posted as videos, they don't have that little camcorder icon in the top right corner of thumbnails or on loading like all regularly posted videos do. This is just one little extra thing that truly makes it feel like a true GIF image–not just another short video that you have to unmute to watch in full!

Recommended: How to Use Imgur to Make a GIF from a Video

Don't Forget to Check Out Instagram's Other Apps Too

Boomerang is just one of Instagram's other standalone apps that make photo and video more fun and creative.

You'll also want to check out Layout (free for iOS and Android), which is an app that helps you easily create stunning collage photos that can include up to nine different images.

There's also Hyperlapse (free only for iOS with no Android version available at the moment), which you can use to film videos that can be sped up as a time lapse video. Hyperlapse uses advanced stabilization technology to smooth out the bumps in your time lapse videos so they look like they were created by a professional.

So now you have a whole bunch of new tools to try out and experiment with taking your Instagram posts to the next level.

And although the video posts you create with Boomerang may not be true GIFs, they still look and feel exactly like them. And that's all that really matters!

Next recommended article: 9 Free GIF Maker Apps for iPhone and Android