GIF fans who message their friends via the WhatsApp feature on iPhones have undoubtedly been frustrated at the lack of support for the animated image format.
However, this is all set to change, as WhatsApp has finally rolled out GIF support for iOS devices on its latest update.
As part of version 2.16.15, it is now possible to send and receive animated GIFs – and additional functionality has also been added.
Users can turn their videos into GIFs – provided the clip is no longer than six seconds – and also send live videos as animated GIFs.
However, the app does not yet support GIF searches, which means it is still some way behind other messaging services such as those found on Facebook, Twitter or Slack. Indeed, Facebook added GIF support last May, with Twitter following suit this February.
While it is not immediately clear how to send GIFs via WhatsApp, the process remains relatively straightforward.
Possibly the easiest way is to install the Giphy app on the iPhone and use that to save GIFs to the handset – although this has to be done through the options as the default setting will save the GIF as a static image.
Once this app is installed, it is possible to search for GIFs by a mood or reaction, or by a popular person, character, television show or film.
After the relevant GIF has been selected for sending, a row of icons will appear asking how the user would like it to be sent, including SMS, email, Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
The three dots at the end of this row will offer additional options, one of which is now WhatsApp, thanks to the app's latest update.
Giphy has unveiled plans to release a GIF keyboard for iOS, which will make it possible to search for GIFs and add them to any messaging platform.
Converting existing videos into animated GIFs is slightly more convenient as it can be done purely within the app itself. In the chat thread where the user wants to send a GIF, simply click the + sign in the bottom left-hand corner, go to Photo & Video Library and select a video.
When this has been done, the clip in question can be trimmed to any length required, as well as being annotated, doodled on or cropped with a range of tools accessible in the top right-hand corner. There is also a blue icon that can be toggled to GIF, which will generate the GIF and send it as a message on the thread.