How and Where to Use GIFs on Your Mobile Device

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

GIFs can be a great tool for communicating with your audience, but it’s important to know how and where to use them. A well-placed GIF can add a fun, relatable element that boosts your brand’s reputation as being hip and creative. They can also convey emotion, showcase a product or service, or simply draw the eye with movement and color.

A GIF is a file format for creating and displaying animated bitmap images in 256 indexed colors, allowing for lossless compression. It was developed by Steve Wilhite in 1987 at CompuServe and became popular on the Internet for its ability to compress image size while retaining quality. It is often used for sharing meme culture and to convey emotions or reference recognizable moments.

Getting started with GIFs on your mobile device is simple. On iOS devices, open Messages and tap the App drawer icon, then select “Images.” You can choose to search for a specific GIF or browse by topic. Once you’ve found the perfect GIF, tap on it to insert it into your text message. You can also use the GIF keyboard to quickly search and send your favorite images from within Messages.

There are two schools of thought on how to pronounce gif. Most people pronounce it as a hard “g,” which aligns with the original meaning of the name, Graphics Interchange Format. However, a small group of people pronounce it as a soft “g,” like the peanut butter jif—in line with what Wilhite originally intended.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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