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How to send GIFs on an iPhone

Just don't abuse the feature if you want to stay on someone's good side.

Published onFebruary 6, 2023

For some people, animated GIFs are almost a de facto part of online chat — they can be a great punchline, or a way of summing up feelings without tapping out a full sentence. Thankfully for iPhone owners, there’s built-in support for GIFs in the iOS Messages app.


To send a GIF in Messages, select the #images app from the app tray. It looks like a magnifying glass with a red background. Use keywords to find GIFs that match your emotions or the occasion.

How to send a GIF in your iPhone’s Messages app

Sending a GIF in iMessage
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

Apple offers an assortment of searchable GIFs through a Messages sub-app called #images. Here’s how to use it:

  • Open a conversation in Messages.
  • Swipe through the app tray at the bottom of the screen until you see the #images app, which looks like a magnifying glass with a red background. Tap on it.
  • Tap inside the Find images field, then search for a relevant keyword, such as “Halloween,” “birthday,” “happy,” or even “melancholy.”
  • Scroll through the resulting GIFs, and tap on one to pick it.
  • Tap Send (the arrow button).

If the #images app is missing for some reason, you can add it by swiping left on the app tray until you can select the More (triple-dot) icon. Tap Edit, then the plus icon next to #images.

Read more: How to change the clock font on an iPhone lockscreen