how to get animoji

Memoji introduction on an iPhone Xs Max.
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When you think of playful camera filters, Snapchat is probably the first app that comes to mind. But did you know that you can create your own interactive avatars using your iPhone or iPad?

You can use Memoji and Animoji to send fun stickers to friends or disguise yourself during a FaceTime call. Thanks to iOS 13, Memoji are now available on all iPhones and iPads running the latest software, even if they don’t have a Face ID camera. Here’s how it works.

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What are Memoji and Animoji?

The term Memoji is a portmanteau of the words “me” and “emoji” that takes the form of an avatar that you can use to personalize messages on Apple’s mobile hardware. Any device running iOS 13 or iPadOS can create and use a Memoji. If you have an iPhone X or newer, you can animate your Memoji using the Face ID sensors on the front of your device. This works with iPads, too, assuming you have an iPad Pro 11-inch or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (third-generation or newer model.)

Using Memoji in iMessage using Face ID

Similarly, Animoji is a fusion of the words “animated” and “emoji” that works on devices running iOS 11 or later with a Face ID sensor. There is a small selection of Animoji to choose from based on the static emoji included with iOS. Thanks to sensors on the front of your device, you can manipulate Animoji by changing your expression, winking, sticking out your tongue, or turning your head.

Animoji and Memoji can be used throughout iOS in Messages as stickers or videos, during FaceTime calls to jazz up a boring conversation, and even in third-party apps and messaging services.

How to Create a Custom Memoji

Custom Memoji avatars must be created via the Messages app, which is where you are likely to get the most use out of them:

  1. Open Messages and select a conversation, or tap the New Message button at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap on the “Stickers” button in the row of symbols above the keyboard (if you cannot see a row of symbols, tap on the “A” App Store button next to the camera icon).
  3. Tap on the ellipsis “…” icon on the left-hand side, then choose “New Memoji” from the list of options.

On devices with Face ID (including iPhone X or later), your Memoji will be animated and respond to your head and facial movements. On devices with Touch ID, your Memoji will be static for now, but you’ll be able to use expressive stickers later on.

Creating a Memoji in iOS 13

Now, create your Memoji from scratch using the included controls. First, customize skin tone and facial features, then swipe left to adjust hairstyle, eyebrows, eyes, head, nose, mouth, ears, facial hair, eyewear, and headwear. None of the styles or features are gender-specific—you won’t even be asked to select a gender.

When you’re finished, tap Done in the top-right corner of the screen, and your avatar will be added to the list of available Memoji (and, on compatible devices, Animoji).

How to Edit an Existing Memoji

To edit an avatar that you have already created:

  1. Open Messages and select a conversation, or tap the New Message button at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap on the “Stickers” button in the row of symbols above the keyboard (if you cannot see a row of symbols, tap on the “A” App Store button next to the camera icon).
  3. Find the Memoji you would like to edit by scrolling the list horizontally, then tap on it to select it.
  4. Tap on the ellipsis “…” icon to reveal a list of options, then choose Edit.
  5. Make any changes you would like by cycling through the various categories, then tap Done to save your changes.

Edit, Duplicate, or Delete Existing Memoji

You can also use this menu to delete or duplicate an existing Memoji. You might want to duplicate an emoji if you want to make some serious changes to your look, without starting over from scratch or destroying your previous creation.

Using Memoji (or Animoji) in iMessage

If you have a modern device with Face ID, you can use Memoji to create expressive stickers that mirror your own expression. On your iPhone X or later, or iPad Pro model with Face ID:

  1. Open Messages and select a conversation, or tap the New Message button at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap on the “Animoji” button in the row of symbols above the keyboard (if you cannot see a row of symbols, tap on the “A” App Store button next to the camera icon).
  3. Swipe left and right until you see the Memoji or Animoji you would like to use.
  4. Now have some fun! Change your expression, move around, and pull a face to get a feel for your new avatar.

At this stage, you have three options available to you:

  • Tap the “Record” button in the bottom right-hand corner to record a short message of 30 seconds or less. When you let go, your animation and message will repeat. You can then tap on the upward arrow in the bottom right-hand corner to send your video.
  • Make a facial expression, and then tap on your Memoji to grab a still image. This image will be added to the message field, and you can type a message or hit the upward arrow to send it.
  • Make a facial expression, and then tap and hold on your Memoji to grab a sticker. Drag the sticker over the image or message you would like to cover. You can also pinch to zoom or rotate your sticker.

Using Memoji with Face ID in iMessage

If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad with Face ID, you can use Memoji as stickers instead. On your iPhone 8 or earlier, or iPad Pro without Face ID:

  1. Open Messages and select a conversation, or tap the New Message button at the top of the screen.
  2. Tap on the “Stickers” button in the row of symbols above the keyboard (if you cannot see a row of symbols, tap on the “A” App Store button next to the camera icon).
  3. Select the Memoji you want to use from the list.

You now have two options available:

  • Find the expression you want to use, then tap on it to send it as an image. You can type a message before you send, and then hit the upward arrow to send the message.
  • Tap and hold the sticker, and then drag it into the conversation. Release your finger over whatever you want to fix the sticker to—a message, a video, an image, and so on. You can also pinch to zoom or rotate your sticker with a second finger.

Using Memoji on a Device that Lacks Face ID

Using Memoji (and Animoji) in FaceTime

Once you’ve created a Memoji, you can use it during FaceTime calls like a Snapchat filter provided you have an iPhone X or later, iPad Pro 11-inch, or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (third generation). In other words, if your device supports Face ID, you can use this feature.

To use Memoji or Animoji during a FaceTime call:

  1. Make a video call using FaceTime, either using the FaceTime app or via Contacts.
  2. Once the call has started, tap on the Star icon labeled “Effects” in the bottom-left corner.
  3. Select the Memoji or Animoji you would like to use.
  4. Tap on the “X” button to disable the effects.

Using Memoji in Other Apps

You can also use Memoji stickers in other apps, thanks to the Emoji keyboard. This includes apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Slack. Here’s how:

  1. Launch the app you want to use and start a message or conversation so that the iOS keyboard appears on-screen.
  2. Tap the Emoji button in the bottom-left corner (if you have multiple keyboards installed, you’ll need to cycle through them until you find the Emoji keyboard).
  3. Swipe right to reveal your frequently used Memoji stickers.
  4. Choose a sticker from this list or tap the ellipsis (“…”) icon to reveal the full set of stickers. Tap on a sticker to add it to your message where it will be sent as an image attachment.

Use Memoji in Other iOS Apps

Do Memoji Work with Android?

If you’re sending a Memoji or Animoji sticker to a friend via a messenger like WhatsApp, they will see your sticker as an image attachment regardless of what device they are viewing it on. That means you can still use Memoji stickers with Android users if you want, but you will miss out on the Face ID features or the ability to position your sticker anywhere in the chat as you do with iMessage.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

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