Emoji have opened new forms of communication—using little faces makes it easier to express sarcasm, sadness, and nearly any other emotion. Having an emoji that looks like you is even better.

That’s why people love Apple’s Animoji and Memoji, which are available exclusively on the iPhone X. Samsung also has a similar feature named AR Emoji that uses a selfie to create an uncanny (and sometimes eerie) animated emoji based on you.

My AR Emoji.

Google now has its own, kind of similar feature with “Minis”—a new type of sticker built directly into Gboard for both iOS and Android. Right now, it’s available for all users of Gboard for iOS. On the Android side it’s currently only available in the Gboard Beta for Android, and even then still isn’t available to everyone. So if you don’t have it yet, sit tight—it’ll get to your phone eventually.

To get started, download Gboard and run through the setup process. Once it’s up and running, open some sort of window with a chat box—like a text message.

Note: I’m using iOS for this tutorial, but the same actions apply across both platforms.

With Gboard open, tap the emoji button at the bottom of the keyboard, then the square face icon (these are stickers).


In this menu, you’ll see a handful of options, but you’ll need to tap the button on the far right (with the colorful winking face) and then tap “Create” to set up your Mini.


Put on your best face, because the next step is to snap a selfie. Once you capture the perfect you, Gboard analyzes your face and creates two Minis: Bold and Sweet. You can customize either one if they’re not perfect out of the gate.

Those…don’t really look like me.

You’ll be given the standard options here: face shape, skin color, hairstyle, and a bevy of other choices. I’ll be honest here: you probably won’t get something that looks just like you. AR Emoji and Memoji can be uncanny, but Minis are basically like South Park versions of you (the Bold version, anyway).

Once you have something you’re happy with, tap the “Save” button. Make sure to customize both versions!

That’s, um, better? 

Once you’ve perfected your Mini, you’ll get a bunch of options for different situations. Seriously, there are a ton of them.

So, are these are cool as Memoji, Animoji, or AR Emoji? No, they’re not. In fact, a lot of people don’t really like them. But that’s the nice part: you don’t have to use them. It’s just another way to express yourself—this time using an emoji that at least kind of looks like you.

Profile Photo for Cameron Summerson Cameron Summerson
Cameron Summerson is ex-Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek and served as an Editorial Advisor for How-To Geek and LifeSavvy. He covered technology for a decade and wrote over 4,000 articles and hundreds of product reviews in that time. He’s been published in print magazines and quoted as a smartphone expert in the New York Times.
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