How to Post a GIF-Like Video to Instagram With Boomerang

Get the look and feel of a GIF for your Instagram feed

GIFs are everywhere, posted to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. Instagram, however, doesn't support the GIF format. Workarounds exist in the form of apps that convert GIFs into video files, such as Giphy and GifLab, but one of the best ways to share GIF-like videos on Instagram is Boomerang.

Boomerang for Instagram is available for iOS devices on the App Store and Android devices on the Google Play Store.

What Is Boomerang?

Boomerang is a video app from Instagram that takes bursts of photos and stitches them together in a mini video that plays forward and backward. Share these short, action-packed videos to Instagram, Facebook, or elsewhere online.

Boomerang videos must be shot within the app, but you don't need an Instagram account to use it.

Boomerang for Instagram isn't to be confused with the Boomerang productivity tools for Gmail, Outlook, and mobile devices.

Group of people taking video at music concert
Carlos Gonzalez / EyeEm / Getty Images

How to Use Boomerang

Boomerang is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. Best of all, it's free!

  1. Download Boomerang for Instagram from the App Store or Google Play Store.

  2. Boomerang will ask for permission to access your camera. Tap Allow.

  3. Boomerang will ask for permission to access your Photos. Tap Allow.

  4. Select the front or rear-facing camera by tapping the circle icon on the bottom right of the screen.

  5. Point the camera at what you'd like to shoot and tap the white button. This takes a burst of 10 photos and stitches them together, speeding up the sequence, and creating a mini video.

The end result is a mini video (with no sound, of course) that looks exactly like a GIF. The video loops back to the start when it finishes.

Posting Your Boomerang

After you create a video, you'll see a preview and then Boomerang gives you the option of sharing it to Instagram or Facebook. Tapping More allows you to email or text the video, save it, or share it via other apps.

If you share your Boomerang video to Instagram, the Instagram app will open up with your Boomerang loaded and ready to edit. Edit your mini video exactly as you'd edit any other Instagram videos, applying filters, trimming the clip, and setting a thumbnail image before adding a caption.

When you post your Boomerang it will play and loop automatically in your followers' feeds. You'll see a small 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 with a direct link to download it.

Your Boomerang post won't display the little camcorder icon like regularly posted videos do. This is another aspect of Boomerang that truly makes these videos seem like GIFs.

Although the video posts you create with Boomerang may not be true GIFs, they still look and feel exactly like them.

Instagram has other stand-alone apps for photos and videos, such as Layout (free for iOS and Android), which creates stunning collage photos with up to nine different images, and Hyperlapse (only for iOS), which creates professional-looking time-lapse videos using advanced stabilization technology.