One of the features causing the most excitement on the iPhone X is Animoji - animated emojis of various animals including a rabbit, monkey, cat, dog, fox, pig, panda, chicken, and a unicorn, as well as poo, alien, and a robot.

The iPhone X uses its TrueDepth camera system to record the Animoji, mimicking your facial expression and the movement of your head to create an audio message in the guise of that character. (The TrueDepth camera is used for FaceID, here's how to use FaceID on an iPhone).

Animoji are a little like animated emoji that mimic your facial expression. If you'd like to know more about using emoji on your iPhone and Mac read: How to use emoji on a Mac and How to use emoji on an iPhone.

How to record an Animoji

If you have an iPhone X all you need to record an Animoji is a face and the Messages app.

  1. Open Messages.
  2. Add the recipient details in the To field.
  3. Tap the icon for Apps (the A beside the text input bar).
  4. Choose the monkey icon from the collection of icons at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Scroll through the Animoji options on the left until you find one you like (this can be changed later if you change your mind).
  6. To see the animoji slightly larger you can tap on the up arrow just below the iMessage field and the Animoji section will move up to fill the screen.
  7. Hold up the phone and look straight at it - if your face isn’t in view you will see a yellow box - position your phone so your face is in line with the box.
  8. Notice how the character mirrors the movement of your head, mouth and face.
  9. To record your message (with audio) press the red button.
  10. You can record for up to 10 seconds (if you want to record a longer message you'd need to stitch a number of clips together in an app like iMovie).
  11. Press the red square to stop the recording.
  12. You can play back the recording before you send it, if you don’t like what you record you can delete it by tapping on the trash icon.
  13. To listen to the recording again tap on the curved arrow.
  14. If you want to see how your recording looks with another Animoji just select one and the recording will replay with that Animoji. You can actually switch throughto a different Animoji character by swiping sideways on the recording.
  15. Once you are ready to send tap on the up arrow or just tap on the Animoji.
  16. By default audio will be off, to turn on audio, tap on the speaker icon (your recipient will have to do the same).

How to send a Animoji sticker

You don’t have to send a recording, you can just send an Animoji sticker (essentially a photo of you as an animoji)

  1. As above, open Messages and add the recipient details in the To field.
  2. Tap the icon for Apps (the A beside the text input bar) and choose the monkey icon from the collection of icons at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Choose an Animoji.
  4. Look at the iPhone X and pull a face that represents how you feel.
  5. Touch the Animoi until it flickers and then ‘unsticks’.
  6. Hold the Animoji and drag it up into the message field.
  7. This will automatically send the Animoji sticker to the recipient.

How to save an Animoji

If you want to use the Animoji yourself there are a few ways to get it from Messages, but you need to send it first.

  1. Find the Animoji in the Message thread.
  2. Press on the Animoji and swipe up on it until the options Copy, Save or Forward appear.
  3. Alternatively press and hold until it opens up on its own screen.
  4. Press the Share icon (box with an arrow coming out of it).
  5. Choose Save Video to save the video to your Camera Roll.
  6. Or choose Save to Files to save the video to iCloud.

How to share an Animoji on a social network

You can share an Animoji as video on any social network, here's how:

  1. You need to create your Animoji in the same way as above, and send it (you could send to yourself).
  2. Press and hold on the Animoji until it fills the screen and the share icon appears in the bottom left.
  3. Tap on the share icon.
  4. Scroll through the icons beside Messages, Mail and so on until you find the one for your Social network of choice.
  5. Tap on that icon and choose Post to post a video of that Animoji.

How to animoji on iPhone 8 or earlier

Wondering which devices support Animoji? Apparently Animoji will still work on the iPhone X even if the IR scanner is covered, which has lead to the suggestion that Animoi could work on the iPhone 8, thanks to the A11 Bionic chip.

However, Animoji is only available on iPhone X.

Apple says Animoji uses the IR and depth sensor of the iPhone X for better accuracy, so Animoji wouldn’t work as well on another iPhone as they do on the iPhone X.

However, you can send an Animoji to someone from an older iPhone - you just need someone with an iPhone X to send you one first, or you could search for an Animoji gif and fake it!

Here’s how to send an Animoji from an older iPhone

  1. When you receive an animoji press and hold it until it fills your iPhone screen
  2. Tap on the Share icon at the bottom of your screen.
  3. Choose Save Video to add the animoji to your iPhone Camera Roll.
  4. Alternatively you can choose Message to send the Animoji video to someone else.
  5. Or tap on Facebook or any other Social network to share it there.

Alternatively you could send an animoji from your iPhone by using the images search

  1. On your iPhone open Messages.
  2. Tap on the A icon for the App Store.
  3. Tap on the Images icon (a red icon with a magnifying glass).
  4. In the Fine Images search field type Animoji.
  5. Choose an animoji gif.
  6. Send as normal by tapping on the blue arrow.

You can read more about how to send a GIF from your iPhone here.

The collection of gifs available though Messages is poor, perhaps it will improve with time.

If you’re trying to fool someone into thinking you have an iPhone X, you need to search the web to find an animoji gif, then save it to your Mac before sending it to a friend using Messages on a Mac.

  1. Search in Google image search for Animoji gifs.
  2. Find one you like and drag it on to your desktop.
  3. Open Messages on your Mac.
  4. Choose an existing message or enter the recipient details.
  5. Drag the Animoji gif into the message.
  6. Press Enter to send.

Find out more about using Messages in our complete guide to texting on the iPhone here.