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How to use iOS 12's fun new Memoji feature

If you ever wanted to create a cartoon of yourself, here's your chance.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The outstanding new feature in iOS 12, Memoji were the star of Apple's WWDC show last week. Even Tim Cook had one.

Expect these exuberant, customizable animated faces to pop up in your iMessages and even FaceTime calls when iOS rolls out later this year. Let's see how they work.

As a reminder, iOS 12 is currently available in beta. It's likely that features will change and look different by the time it's released this fall. We will update this article as needed until then. 

What is a Memoji?

ios12-apple-memoji-06042018

They're a diverse bunch.

Apple.

Memoji are a new type of Animoji, the animated characters that rely on the iPhone X's (£1,149 at Apple) front-facing camera system to bring the cartoon-like characters to life with your expressions.

Memoji have the same basic look and feel of Animoji, but instead of a dragon or a tiger, you get to design and create a human character who looks like you, or looks however you want.

Get creative

ios-12-memoji

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

As shown during the WWDC keynote, creating a Memoji is done in the Messages app. Tap on the Animoji app icon, then tap the "+" icon.

From there, you can customize your Memoji. Options include skin color, hairstyle, head shape, eyes, brows, nose and lips, ears, facial hair, eyewear and headwear.

If you want to be mauve with a multicolored mohawk and a monocle, well, you do you. You can make as many Memoji as you want. As you adjust and edit your character, changes are reflected in real time.

What now?

memoji

Jason Cipriani/CNET

You can record 30-second video clips of your Memoji talking (or singing!) and send it in a conversation, just as you would any other Animoji.

But with the new Messages camera effects feature, you can also replace your head with a Memoji head for a photo or video. And starting with iOS 12, you can even use a Memoji during a FaceTime call.

iOS 12: Siri shortcuts, group FaceTime, Memoji and more.

WWDC 2018: Everything Apple just announced.