Tuesday, July 16, 2024

What is an Animoji? How to get animated emoji on iPhone

Apple’s Animoji are custom, animated versions of popular emoji characters. The feature uses Apple’s Face ID facial-recognition system to create 3D emoji that mirror your own facial expressions.

You can make and share them with other Apple users through the Messages app and while there were only a few available in 2017 when they first launched, there are now multiple options, as well as Memoji which are Animoji’s that look like you.


Here’s what you need to know about Animoji, how they work and how to get the cheeky little animated emoji’s on your iPhone.

What is an Apple Animoji?

Apple’s Animoji are custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your facial expressions.

Ever use those cool lenses in Snapchat? Well, Apple’s Animoji feature works very similarly – only instead of being based on custom masks developed by Snapchat, they’re based on popular emoji.

There are over 25 emojis available, including poop, panda, pig, robot and ghost. They essentially mirror your facial expressions. So, as you move your face and talk, they will do the same, in real-time.

Apple Animoji explained Heres how to use those animated emoji image 5How do Animoji work?

Face ID

Face ID is a facial-recognition feature developed by Apple. It launched in 2017 on the iPhone X but it’s on all iPhones since that device, except the iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone SE (2022), and it will likely be on future iPhones too in some form.

To make Face ID possible, Apple crams a lot of hardware into a tiny area at the top of the displays of compatible iPhones. This area is dubbed the TrueDepth camera system, and it is made up of a flood illuminator, infrared camera, front camera, dot projector, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, a speaker, and microphone. When you glance at an iPhone with Face ID, the TrueDepth camera system kicks in.

Animoji leverages the TrueDepth camera system used for Face ID, as well as the chip inside a compatible iPhone, to capture and analyse more than 50 different muscle movements in your face. It then mirrors your expressions in different emoji to produce Animoji so we suppose they could be called a Face ID emoji, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

Apple Animoji explained Heres how to use those animated emoji image 2How to create and share Animoji

Animoji is available within the Messages app and FaceTime on a compatible iPhone running iOS 12 and above. You can create and edit Animoji in full screen through the Messages app, and they’ll be animated in real-time before you send them as a message.

When you send them, the recipient will receive them as looping videos with audio.

For FaceTime, you can choose an Animoji to take part in the video call instead of your real face. The Animoji you choose will appear on top of your shoulders.

Here’s how to create and share an Animoji on Messages:

  1. Open Apple’s Messages app.
  2. Open a message with a contact.
  3. Tap the App Store icon next to the text field in a conversation thread.
  4. Tap the Animoji (character in yellow square frame) icon from the selection of App Store apps in the tray below the input field.
  5. While looking at your compatible iPhone, scroll to the emoji you want to turn into an Animoji.
  6. Bring your face into view and press the red record button. You can record for 30 seconds.
  7. Tap the send (blue arrow) button to send the Animoji.

Here’s how to use an Animoji on FaceTime:

  1. Open the FaceTime app.
  2. Choose New FaceTime or select the contact you want to FaceTime video cal from your recents listl.
  3. Select the Effects icon (star) in the bottom left of your screen
  4. Choose the Animoji (character in yellow square frame) icon
  5. Select the Animoji you want to replace your face

Apple Animoji explained Heres how to use those animated emoji image 4Which emoji work with Animoji?

You can create an Animoji out of the following emoji on a compatible iPhone: Mouse, Octopus, Cow, Giraffe, Shark, Owl, Boar, Monkey, Robot, Cat, Dog, Alien, Fox, Poop, Pig, Panda, Rabbit, Chicken, Unicorn, Lion, Dragon, Skull, Bear, Tiger, Koala, Dinosaur, Ghost.

More continue to be added over time, though we haven’t seen any new ones since 2021.

Apple Animoji Explained Heres How To Use Those Animated Emoji image 6Which devices support Animoji?

Anyone with iOS 11 or later can receive and view Animoji, but to create and share these delightful emojis that move, you’ll need an Apple device with Face ID. The current list of compatible iPhones with Face ID are:

  • Apple iPhone X
  • Apple iPhone XS
  • Apple iPhone XS Max
  • Apple iPhone XR
  • Apple iPhone 11
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • Apple iPhone 12 mini
  • Apple iPhone 12
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Apple iPhone 13 mini
  • Apple iPhone 13
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • Apple iPhone 14
  • Apple iPhone 14 Plus
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

What about Memoji?

Memoji are personalised Animoji. These can look exactly like you (or a version of you with, say, yellow skin, blue hair, a mohawk, a ‘fro, man bun, or a cowboy hat).

As you adjust your Memoji to suit you, whether changing the head shape, brows, or eye colour, you will see the Memoji change in real-time via Message’s built-in Memoji builder tool. Just like Animoji’s, Memoji’s work in FaceTime too.

To learn more about how Memoji work, we have an entire Memoji guide you can indulge yourself in.


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