The best apps and tools for GIF lovers
Animated GIFs are the happy the medium between photo and video – giving you an animated picture that takes up little space but can convey everything from instructions to emotions. This June marks the 30 year anniversary of the much-loved GIF, and what better way to celebrate than to share our favourite GIF-making and GIF-sharing apps!
Our Agents have picked their favourite tools for making unique custom GIFs on your smartphone – as well as sharing the best apps to find new gifs to use in your chats, emails and social posts.
Read on to see our selection, and leave your own recommendations in the comments section below!
The best gifs at your fingertips
If you love sharing GIFs, here are our favourite apps to find and share them with your friends and family. Whether it's sharing Disney GIFs or even having a dedicated gif keyboard to browse through, we've got you covered!
As probably the most popular GIF website on the internet, it's hard to imagine Giphy not having a smartphone app to browse through their collection. As it turns out, they do have an app and it is excellent for finding just the right GIF for the occasion!
You can upload your own GIFs for other people to share and browse GIFs, by various tags, which means you can type in a mood, feeling or theme and find suitable gifs almost immediately – making Giphy one of the most powerful GIF libraries you can access.
To use the app, you can choose a category from the tabs along the top of the app, or type a GIF idea into the search box. You can preview a GIF by pressing and holding your finger down on a thumbnail to see a bigger, better version – and if you create an account with Giphy you can even save your favourite gifs for later use!
Gif Keyboard by Tenor
Sometimes you're halfway through writing a message before you think to add a great GIF to illustrate your point. Instead of having to leave the app you're in to find the gif of your dreams, Tenor have come up with a clever solution – a keyboard dedicated to animated GIFs, so you can switch between text and moving pictures with the tap of a button.
While you're typing out a message, tap the GIF button to the left of the text box and you can instantly browse through a huge collection of animated gifs to send.
You can even find specific gifs by typing keywords into the search box and browsing through the available tags, which should save you precious time when you're trying to post the perfect GIF to your group chat.
This recommendation is rather niche – but what better way to respond to a message than with a clip from a Disney film?
There are hundreds of Disney GIFs to choose between, from Disney-owned franchises like Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars to classics like Mickey Mouse and other original Disney shows.
Because the app is an official Disney product, you won't find any low-quality, badly looped GIFs here!
You'll also find GIFs for shows that don't air any more, letting you send Rescue Rangers or DuckTales GIFs at anyone in your contacts list – whether they want you to or not.
Gif Live Wallpaper
Some GIFs are too good to share and forget, but technology hasn't yet reached the point where we can print out GIFs and mount them on the walls. Instead, apps like Awesome Robot's Gif Live Wallpaper can mount your favourite animated GIFs on your smartphone's home screen instead!
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to save a GIF to your home screen – whether you've found one that you can't stop laughing at, or one that fits in perfectly with your apps and widgets.
Adding a gif is an easy process, too! With just a couple of taps you can browse the gifs you've saved to your phone, then drag and stretch them into a suitable position for your phone's home screen. Tap the button to save your new wallpaper, then press your Home button to visit your home screen and check it out!
Sharing GIFs is all well and good – but what about creating some of your own? Here are some of the best and most popular apps to help you make your own GIFs straight from your camera, your photo gallery or your video library.
Gif Me! Camera
If you're after a way to quickly and efficiently turn your photos or videos into shareable GIFs, Gif Me! Camera is the perfect tool for you.
Not only can you use your phone's camera to record a GIF from a burst of photos, you can also stitch GIFs together from albums or slideshows of pictures you've already taken, and convert videos on your memory card into animated GIFs in a matter of seconds.
Gif Me! Camera is a great app for anyone interested in making GIFs, featuring a fairly powerful editor so you can remove unwanted frames and even crop your GIF into something shorter!
If you like the way the app works but don't like adverts taking up screen space, paying for the Pro version will give you a totally ad-free experience.
If you want to add some animated touches to an existing GIF, or even to photos in your gallery, Gif Studio features a variety of animated stickers you can apply to any image with the tap of a button. You can also add text in a variety of fonts, and even draw on your photos using a pencil tool for full customisation of your images!
One of the outstanding features of Gif Studio is its ability to convert video straight into an animated GIF, ready to share. This is especially handy if you've already recorded a video to your phone's memory, as you won't need to use a computer to do your editing on – freeing you up to create a GIF wherever you are.
Motion Stills is an app made by Google which, interestingly enough, will only work for iPhone and iPad!
This is because of Apple's Live Photos feature, which can record a combination of a still JPEG image and a moving MOV video file to make moving picture – which is almost like an animated, GIF but without being as universally accessible.
Google's Motion Stills app can convert these Live Photos into a much more friendly GIF file that can be shared with non-iPhone users – so if you find yourself taking lots of Live Photos but never sharing them with anyone, now's your chance to free up your image library.
You can even post your converted Live Photos to Facebook where anyone can enjoy them – not just fellow iPhone users!
Pixel Animator: GIF Maker
Not every GIF has to be taken from a video or composed from a slideshow of photographs – some are made frame-by-frame in the same way a cartoon is made.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of an animator, you might find this way of making GIFs to be the best! It definitely gives you a lot more freedom to animate your picture exactly how you want it to be seen.
Pixel art is often overlooked as an art style, but it's quick and easy to make something good that you will want to share with your friends. You could even try making pixelised versions of your friends and family, either by hand or by taking a photo and using Pixel Animator to convert it into pixel art automatically!
Try Pixel Animator or one of the many other pixel art apps available, and see what kind of gifs and animations you can make with it.
That's it for our GIF-tastic round-up – but if you've created any stunning (but family-friendly!) GIFs, why not share them with our readers in the comments below? And for more great articles from our Agent straight to your inbox each month, get your name down below for the Geek Squad newsletter!