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

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

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

GIFs are seemingly everywhere online, with users posting GIFs on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. Instagram, however, doesn't support the GIF format. While there are workarounds in the form of apps that convert GIFs into video files, such as Giphy and GifLab, one of the best ways to share GIF-like videos on Instagram is Boomerang from Instagram.

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

Group of people taking video at music concert to create a Boomerang for Instagram
Carlos Gonzalez / EyeEm / Getty Images

What Is Boomerang from Instagram?

Boomerang from Instagram, usually referred to as Boomerang, is a video app from Instagram that takes bursts of photos and stitches the images 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 taken in the Boomerang app. However, you don't need an Instagram account to use the tool.

Don't confuse Boomerang from Instagram with the Boomerang productivity tools for Gmail, Outlook, and mobile devices.

How to Use Boomerang

Boomerang is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. Best of all, it's free. Here's how to make a Boomerang video and post it to Instagram.

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

    Boomerang From Instagram app
  2. When Boomerang asks for permission to access your camera, tap OK.

  3. When Boomerang asks for permission to access your Photos, tap OK.

    Camera and Photo permissions in Instagram
  4. Select the front or rear-facing camera by tapping the circle icon in the lower-right corner of the screen.

  5. Point the camera at what you'd like to shoot and tap the Record button (white button). This action takes a burst of 10 photos, then stitches the images together, speeding up the sequence to create a mini video.

    The camera and record buttons
  6. You'll see a preview of your GIF-like mini-video. The video loops back to the start when it finishes.

Post Your Boomerang

After you create a video, you have the option of instantly sharing it to Instagram or Facebook. Select More to text or email the Boomerang, or share it through other apps.

Here's how to share the Boomerang video on Instagram.

  1. On the completed video preview, select Instagram.

  2. Select Stories to add the Boomerang to your Instagram Story, or select Feed to add it as part of an Instagram post.

    Sharing options in Boomerang
  3. When Instagram opens, add additional photos or videos, if you like, then select Next.

  4. Add a filter if you like, and then select Next.

  5. Write a caption, tag people, add a location, and choose whether you want to share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. When you're finished, tap Share.

  6. Your Boomerang is now shared on your Instagram feed or story and any additional sites you designated.

    The Share button on Instagram

After You Post Your Boomerang

When you post your Boomerang, it plays and loops automatically in your followers' feeds. You'll see a small label below the video that says "made with Boomerang." If anyone taps this label, a box appears to introduce them to the app with a direct link to download Boomerang from Instagram.

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

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