Animated images, also called GIFs, are typically full of cats or classic scenes from popular movies and TV shows. Often the images convey excitement, skepticism, or tell a joke. And frankly, they are a downright fun form of modern communication.
Previously I've covered a fun iMessage prank involving a GIF, a simple way to search for GIFs on iOS, and a method for storing GIFs found across the web on your mobile device. All of which will still serve you well, should none of the apps discussed below suit your use.
Recently, however, three apps have surfaced as must-haves while using iMessage on my iPhone. These three apps each offer a different approach to sprucing up a conversation, are completely free, and bound to make you laugh -- at least once.
The first app is called Nutmeg. The app serves up a brief collection of GIFs for you to browse and share with friends via the Messages app on your iPhone. Sorted into categories, finding a GIF relevant to your current interests is a breeze. Preview a GIF with a single tap; a double-tap will activate the compose message dialogue. GIFs are updated regularly to ensure you don't grow bored.
Next is a non-GIF app, but it's worth every second of the time you're about to invest into it. Imojiapp allows you to create your own emoji, or search through its ever expanding catalog of content created fellow users. Take a photo of yourself or an object, use the built-in editing tools to remove "cut out" the item you want to send, and then save it to your account. Or search and download items to your Imojiapp account. Sending an item is done by dragging it into the middle of the circle, picking a recipient, and away it goes.
Last but not least is Ultratext. This app combines text and photos from your camera roll to create GIFs. Each word is a single slide, set to a background color of your choice, with photos spliced in at a time of your choosing. At the end of the creation process, you have a looping GIF full of words, images, and potentially annoying background colors.
The combination of these three apps on an iPhone creates the perfect iMessage storm. Unfortunately only one of the above mentioned apps, Ultratext, is formatted properly for the iPad. But that doesn't mean the other two apps won't work on the larger-screened iPhone sibling. Go ahead, download all three and start holding entire conversations using a combination of GIFs an "Imojis." Your friends will thank you.