How to Save GIFs on iPhone

If you have seen some cool animated GIFs on the Internet and you want to save them for later viewing, this guide should tell you how to save GIFs on an iPhone so you can do it. It is pretty easy to do it on an iOS based device.

Joy Taylor Last Updated: Apr. 10, 2020

While browsing the Internet or chatting with someone witty, you have likely come across this image type called GIF. It is now used almost everywhere including personal emails, instant messaging, social media, and even in business communication tools like Slack.

Sometimes you might want to save interesting GIFs to your iPhone. Saving the image allows you to view it at a later time and maybe even show it to your friends for a group laugh.

If you have never saved an animated GIF image on an iPhone, you might find it a bit daunting to do it for the first time. It is natural for you to do it as these images are neither still images nor videos. They are a different kind of thing and so the methods you use to save regular files may or may not work to save these images to your phone.

Fortunately, there are ways to save GIFs on an iPhone and here we cover them for you.

Part 1. What is a GIF

Before you go any further and learn how to add GIFs to an iPhone, you might be interested in learning what exactly a GIF image is. We have already talked a lot about it but we have not actually told you what it is and how it works.

GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and it is one of the many formats available out there for image files. You have seen JPG, PNG, and so on, and GIF is also one of these formats in which your image files are stored. If you have your images in other formats, you can get them converted to GIF without losing anything.

The way GIF images differ from other types of images is that they are animated. Unlike a JPG or PNG image that is still and does not move, a GIF image could be an animated one that plays like a short video clip.

Saving them to your iPhone is a different matter and that is what you are going to do in the following sections of this guide.

Part 2. How to Save GIFs on iPhone

Depending on what version of the iOS operating system your iPhone uses, you will need to use an appropriate method to save GIFs to your device. If you are not sure what version of iOS your device runs, the following should help you find it out.

Step 1. On your iPhone, tap on Settings on the springboard to launch the settings menu.

Step 2. On the following screen, tap on the option that reads General to view general settings.

Access iPhone general settings

Access iPhone general settings

Step 3. The following screen has several options for you to choose from. Find and tap on the one that says About to view the details of your iPhone. That is where the version number is located.

View iPhone details

View iPhone details

Step 4. On the screen that follows, you will see all the information regarding your iPhone. Look at the field that says Software Version and your current iOS version should be listed next to it.

Check the iPhone operating system version

Check the iPhone operating system version

That is the version of iOS you are currently running on your iPhone.

Save GIFs on an iPhone Running iOS 11 or Later

If you have checked and verified that your iPhone runs either iOS 11 or a later version, then you can follow the steps in this section to save a GIF on your iPhone. This section basically eliminates the need to use a third-party app to view your GIFs. It is because, starting from iOS 11, you have a new album type in the Photos app to view animated GIFs on your phone.

Step 1. Open the Safari browser on your iPhone and head over to a website that offers you GIF downloads. This could be any website of your choice.

Step 2. Once you are on the website and the GIF image you want to download has loaded-up, tap and hold on the image and you will see a new menu on your screen. From the newly opened menu, select the option that says Save Image to save the GIF to your iPhone.

Save GIF to iPhone

Save GIF to iPhone

Step 3. There will be no prompts or any confirmation that your image is saved but it is indeed saved on your device.

Step 4. Launch the Photos app from the springboard on your iPhone.

Step 5. Tap on Albums at the bottom to view your albums in the app. Then, scroll down and find the option that says Animated. Tap on it to view the animated images album.

Access GIFs album on iPhone

Access GIFs album on iPhone

Step 6. Your GIF should now be available on your screen. Tap on it and it will start playing.

View downloaded GIFs on iPhone

View downloaded GIFs on iPhone

As you can see, you purely do not need anything to download and play GIF images on an iPhone running iOS 11 or later.

Save GIFs on an iPhone Running iOS 10 or Earlier

If you have not updated your iPhone to the latest version or if it does not support anything above iOS 10, that does not mean you cannot save and play GIFs on your device. There are indeed ways to save GIFs on an iPhone running iOS 10 or earlier and the following shows how to do it.

Step 1. Launch the Safari browser on your iPhone and open your favorite GIF website.

Step 2. Locate the GIF you wish to download to your iPhone and make sure it fully opens on your screen. Then, tap and hold on the image and select Save Image. It will let you save it to your device.

Save GIF image on iPhone

Save GIF image on iPhone

Step 3. The GIF should be saved in the Photos app on your device. However, you will not be able to play it as the app does not have support for it. You are actually going to need to install a new app on your device to play the saved GIFs.

Step 4. Launch the App Store on your iPhone and search for and install the Google Photos app on your device.

Step 5. Launch the Google Photos app and you should be able to view and play your downloaded GIF files.

Part 3. How to Turn Live Photos into GIF

One of the cool things about your iPhone is that, if you have any Live Photos saved on your device, you can turn them into animated GIFs as well. You can then share these GIFs with the people who cannot play Live Photos on their devices.

You do not need an app to convert Live Photos to GIF on an iPhone.

Step 1. Launch the Photos app on your device and locate the album that says Live Photos. It should have all of your Live Photos saved in it.

Open the Live Photos album

Open the Live Photos album

Step 2. Open the photo you want to turn into GIF. Then, swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone and you will see a few options on your screen. Choose any one of them.

Choose an animation effect

Choose an animation effect

Step 3. A new album called Animated will be added to the Photos app and a GIF version of your Live Photo will be saved in it.

View Live Photos in GIF format

View Live Photos in GIF format

The Bottom Line

With the multiple methods available out there, it is fairly easy to save GIFs on an iPhone. Sharing them is also easy as they are widely accepted and viewable on most devices out there. We hope the guide helps you to download and save GIF images on your iPhone.

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android related issues.