Animated Gifs: an iPhone App Review

Remember when animated gifs were what we used on the web, for real, alongside (and typically inside) tables? Thems were boring times compared to the animated gif boom of the past couple of years. From folks wanting to mimic the moving photographs of Harry Potter to spreading cheer and ridiculous memes, the masses have spoken: the animated gif is a format to be reckoned with.

So why is it so hard to make, store and share animated gifs from your camera phone? And since I have an iPhone 4, specifically the iPhone.

Here’s a brief review of the apps I tried in my hunt for the perfect animated gif app along with the moment that re-inspired it all. Chris dunking his head in Falls Creek.

Chris dunks his head in Falls Creek Falls

Chris dunks his head in Falls Creek Falls – GifMill

  • GifMill – Free. While it touts some great features like ability to use existing photos, tweak speed, size and quality – it had some sharing quirks that made it usable but difficult for me to post directly to Tumblr or my self-hosted WordPress blog. After my brief round of tests for today, this came out the winner.
    • Albums – Saving to albums kills the animation, so I’m not sure why this is offered.
    • Email & MMS Message – Works as advertised (tested from iPhone to iPhone)
    • Tumblr – Uses the web interface, so requires you to login separately even if you’re logged into your phone’s Tumblr app. This is typically a deal breaker for me, but I had my external keyboard all bluetooth-sync’d to my phone so having to enter login credentials wasn’t a barrier.
    • Twitter – There was a problem uploading the image. I had low res, small size selected so if it was rejected for size reasons then no GifMill settings would work. I really didn’t want to keep trying, however, so inconclusive.
  • GifBoom – Free. While the features sound great, the “social media” sharing is GifBoom’s own community overflowing with narcissistic teenagers showing their duck faces and grills. Sigh. (Or at least I hope they’re teenagers … most of them look so young I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a lure for underage sex trafficking offenders.)
  • GIF SHOP – $0.99 Once I realized that I couldn’t use this for existing photos, this was a no go for me for today’s project. It only allows you to create gifs from pictures you take within the app. Still, I’ll keep it around for future gif play.
  • Flixel – Free. I used this one last year and had fun making Julie playing the accordion come alive. The challenge then, as it was today, is getting the image off of my phone. While I use my phone’s WordPress app to draft my blogs, I wasn’t able to upload “my flixel” since there was no way to save the animated gif to my phone’s albums. Seeing as how I had the same
julie plays the accordion

Julie plays the accordion – Flixel

(There were others I don’t feel like taking the time to detail.) Ultimately, I’ve learned that the best animated gif app is one that allows you to email the photo. Simply email it to yourself and you now have it in an easy-to-access place where you can then post on the blog or site of your choice or load onto an electronic frame for some real Harry Potterlike fun.

Extra: Today is Day 8 of my 30 day blog challenge. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of the page to receive weekly updates in your inbox or follow me on Tumblr if that’s your scene.