WhatsApp users have been asking for GIF support, and the application has been tantalizing the feature for quite some time now. There has even been a WhatsApp Animated GIFs folder inside the WhatsApp directory on users’ local phone storage, alluding to the addition of the feature. Finally, WhatsApp for Android is set to get support for sharing animated GIF images, or at least the sharing of short videos as GIF images.

Whatsapp
Photo by MIH83 (Pixabay)

WhatsApp finally adds GIF image functionality

The new feature from texting service WhatsApp allows users to convert a video of six seconds or less into a GIF image. This new GIF image support is available to WhatsApp for Android who are running beta versions 2.16.242 to 2.16.244 of the application. The latest beta version WhatsApp for Android version available on the Google Play store supports the new GIF image feature.

Now, sending a GIF is not as simple as one might expect. Users can’t yet share GIFs from their gallery application or attach them as media files inside WhatsApp as they will just get sent as photos. Additionally, users can’t send a GIF link to someone hoping that it will show the animated image online, as it will just share the URL. However, users can convert newly recorded videos into GIF files and send them. Here’s how it works.

Sending GIFs not as easy as it seems

To send a GIF image, WhatsApp for Android beta users will have to head to the attachment icon on the top of a chat screen within the application. After selecting the attachment option, users will have to choose the record video option. At this point, users can record any six second (or less) video of their choosing.

Before sending the newly-recorded video, the trimming video page will appear with a camcorder icon in the top right corner of the page. Upon selecting the camcorder icon, the recorded video will then be converted into a GIF image.

Notably, this GIF conversion feature will also function for any videos within the gallery application that are six seconds or less. Additionally, any previously recorded video can be trimmed to six seconds or less using WhatsApp’s built-in video trimmer. The function also works when users are attaching existing videos from other applications and sharing them via WhatsApp. Keep in mind that the camcorder icon will not appear for videos that have not yet been trimmed in length to six seconds or less.

It’s important to note that these files are, in fact, converted and transmitted as audio-less .mp4 files that play automatically within the chat window. The actual video files that users receive and send are saved in the WhatsApp > Media > WhatsApp Animated GIFs folder as .mp4 files as well. Only on the receiving end to WhatsApp users receive a notification that a GIF image has been received, a notification that will also appear in the Chat tab.

iOS users still waiting for GIF functionality

WhatsApp was first rumored to add GIF image support earlier this year in June. However, the feature was expected to first be released on the iOS version of the application. As of now, there is no word on whether this feature will reach iPhone users.

So far, this is the only way to send a GIF image in WhatsApp that has been found (without hacking the application’s functionality). This is still obviously very, very limited support for GIF functionality, but it shows that maybe, just maybe, full GIF support and functionality will be coming to the texting application very soon.