Mobile Apps

Easily create, share animated images with Phhhoto

By taking a series of consecutive photos this free app skips boring static shots and creates moving pictures.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Phhhoto is a fun iOS app I recently discovered. It's not your run-of-the-mill photo or video app that slaps a filter on content and calls itself an "innovative" approach to social media.

There is a filter and lo-fi grainy feel to the end product, but as Phhhoto's co-founder Champ Bennett told me via email, "that's just our thing." I can respect that, and thankfully the special effects end there.

Various screens from within the Phhhoto app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Where the real magic happens with PHHHOTO is during the process of taking a photo. Instead of taking one image, the app takes a series of images and stitches them together to create an animated image that loops. Kind of like a GIF, only using a new webP format "which contains more color information than GIFs" according to Bennett. However, the images are saved to your iPhone as a GIF after being posted.

Naturally, PHHHOTO has all the staples of a modern-day social network. You can find friends, share across platforms, search for hashtags and all that jazz. Browsing through the app's "WOW" tab makes for an entreating way to spend a few minutes where you can find mesmerizing photos such as this one.

When you take a photo for the app, it's also saved to your Camera Roll. It appears to be a normal image, but rest assured it's a GIF. Share it with a friend on iMessage and you'll see it begin to move.

An Android app is in the works, but no word on timing of its eventual release.

Download PHHHOTO from the App Store for free.