You’ve always been able to send static images to other people through iMessage, but you might not have known that you can also send animated GIFs as well.

RELATED: The Easiest Ways to Create Animated GIFs on Any Platform

There are a few ways you can do this. The easiest way is to use the built-in “#images” iMessage app, which lets you search through all sorts of GIFs and send them quickly and easily. You can also share GIFs from other apps and send them through iMessage that way. We’ll show you how to do both.

The Easy Way: #images

The built-in iMessage app called “#images” is perhaps the best way to send GIFs to your friends and family, since it’s easy to access and easy to search through to find the right GIF.

To get started, open up the Messages app on your iPhone and select the contact that you want to send the GIF to.

At the bottom, you’ll see your iMessage apps all lined up. Look for the red icon with a magnifying glass and tap on it when you see it. You may need to scroll through the apps before you find it.

After you select it, a small section will pop up from the bottom, displaying a handful of animated GIFs. From there, you can scroll through the endless list of random GIFs, or tap on the search box (where it says “Find images”) and type in a keyword relating to the type of GIF you want.

Type in a keyword and tap “Search”.

A list of animated GIFs will appear that relate to your keyword search. Tap on a GIF when you find one you like.

After you tap on the GIF, it will appear in the iMessage text box ready for you to send. You can send just the GIF, or you can also tack on a message to send along with the GIF.

Once you’re done sending GIFs, you can exit out of the #images iMessage app and go back to the keyboard by tapping in the iMessage text box.

Sharing GIFs From Other Apps

If the #images iMessage app doesn’t have the exact GIF you’re looking for, you can instead open up your own app of choice and search for a GIF there.

We won’t go into detail on all the cool places on the internet where you can find GIFs, but I’ll be using Giphy’s website to find a GIF and use it as an example for this tutorial.

Once you find the GIF you want, go ahead and tap on it to open it. From there, tap and hold on the GIF image and hit “Copy”.

Go into iMessage and select a conversation thread of the person you want to send the GIF to. Tap on the text box once to bring up the keyboard and then tap on it again to bring up the “Paste” prompt. Tap it when it appears.

The GIF image will paste itself inside the text box. Hit the Send button when you’re ready.

Keep in mind that some GIF websites and apps won’t let you paste the actual image into iMessage, Imgur being a big example—you’ll only be able to paste in a link that takes you to Imgur’s website (or app) to view the GIF.

However, if the link ends with “.gif”, iMessage will show the GIF image within iMessage (as shown below). Otherwise, it will just show a link that you’ll have to tap to open. If you’re sending the GIF link to an Android user, they’ll be out of luck either way, as it will just show a link to the GIF no matter what.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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