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Your texts need more animated GIFs. Giphy Keys is here to help (hands-on)

Giphy Keys, free to download for iOS, puts all of the GIFs in its huge database at your fingertips.

There are two type of people in the world -- those who don't like animated GIFs and those who do. If you don't like them, SpongeBob and I have one word for you:


If you (like me) love a good GIF, Giphy just released a keyboard app that'll help take your mobile GIF game to the next level.

Giphy Keys is free on iOS and easy to install by following the app's on-screen instructions. Though there are other GIF keyboards around, this one benefits from Giphy's vast and popular database. (If you've never used it before, it's like Google for animated GIFs.)

I was able to get my hands on the Giphy Keys before its official launch (it's available starting today), much to the delight and annoyance of my close friends. I usually use Giphy for Chrome to quickly pick a GIF when on my computer, but the keyboard made it just as easy to find and send one on my phone, and it really is as simple as copying and pasting the GIF into the text window (the app copies the GIF once you tap it).

There are six whimsical icons above the Giphy keyboard for quickly finding the perfect GIF. From left to right, the functions include search, a selection of common phrases and emotions (upside-down smiley face), categories, like animals and memes (spaceship), favorites (heart), recently used (hourglass) and random (eightball). When browsing, it uses a horizontal scroll, not a tiled one like on the website, so looking at your options takes a bit longer.

Screenshot/Xiomara Blanco

Like most new apps, it has some wrinkles to iron out. It didn't paste the GIFs I copied into emails -- they pasted in the drafts but did not send -- and has no autocorrect function, which is a shame for lazy texters (again, like me). But if you're communicating your message with a mesmerizing loop of Prince's twinkling eyes, who needs actual text?

Mark Pearson

If your text or tweet is missing a certain je ne sais quois, something that a flurry of emojis just cannot convey, a GIF can breathe life into them, or at the very least help you avoid awkward miscommunications, as exemplified in this brilliant Key and Peele sketch.

Maybe it's because I'm a millennial who vividly remembers cry-laughing the first time I saw the dancing Spiderman GIF, but I love using GIFs to express a feeling or vibe. I am #sorrynotsorry to anyone I communicate with on a regular basis, because I don't see myself quitting this app any time soon.