Gif not working in Instagram – What to do

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Matthew M. White
@matthewmwhite
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Gifs are everywhere online. They are an important part of almost all social media and are usually used for clever memes and funny animations. But there is one social media platform that often gives its users a hard time with animated gifs, and that is Instagram.

If you're trying to upload a gif to Instagram but it just doesn't happen, you might be wondering why others can do it so easily. Posting a gif isn't too difficult once you learn how to do it with a few workarounds. Here are some things you need to know about Instagram and animated gifs.



Instagram Gif Policy

Instagram does not natively support .gif files. This means that you can publish any content in JPEG or PNG format. So how can other users post gifs?

The answer is that you have to get creative about it. One way to do this is to use Boomerang, a simple application designed to allow users to create gif-like videos.

Use Boomerang

Here's how Boomerang works. Once you grant it access to your rear camera, the app can take 10 photos in quick succession. It then sequences them, speeds up said sequence, and smooths out the frame rate.

This creates a small video that constantly loops. It's basically a gif but in a video file format. Note that Boomerang does not add sound to your gif, even if the file format may support it. With this method, no video is actually recorded. Instead, a chain of photos is put together to create a video.


Once the video is compiled, you can watch the preview. After that, you will be prompted to choose how you want to share it. After selecting Instagram, you will have the option to edit your mini Boomerang video gif like any other Instagram video. You can add filters, select a thumbnail image, and more.


The usual camcorder icon that appears on video thumbnails is not present in any Boomerang video. Somehow it feels even more like an animated gif.

Of course, not everyone is happy with Boomerang. Mainly because every video you download from the app will be watermarked "made with Boomerang". It's also important to note that Boomerang is exclusive to iOS and can only be found on the Apple App Store.

Use of GIF websites

Giphy has an extensive gif library. They have dedicated gif search engines that you are no doubt familiar with. This website allows you to share gifs directly to your Instagram story or feed.

  1. Go to either website
  2. Find the best gif to express your state of mind
  3. Tap the gif
  4. Tap the Share icon (paper airplane icon)
  5. Tap the Instagram icon

You might be wondering how it works if Instagram doesn't have native support for gif files. The answer is that Giphy, Tenor and other gif search engines change the format of the gif before uploading it to Instagram.

They basically download the gif as a mini-video, without you having to worry about using video converter software. These websites detect the restrictions of each social media platform and make all the appropriate changes or conversions for you.


Add gifs to stories

Instagram also has gif stickers. You can find them by tapping on the smiley face icon and then tapping on the Gif option. This brings up the gif sticker database, similar to how you can search for gifs on facebook chat or messenger.


Search for stickers by keyword and pinch them to make them bigger or smaller. You can also hold your finger on the sticker and change its position on the image you want to add it to. There are many stickers that can express your mood and add more context to a story or video.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some more answers about Gifs and Instagram:

Can I create my own gifs?

Absoutely! You can create your own gifs using one of the many free online gif makers and apps available for Android and iOS. We actually have an entire article on how to make your own gifs, but since you're here, Giphy and Tenor are great resources.

In addition to a Boomerang video (which of course is not a gif but gives you customization options), you can create gifs online. Keep in mind that they may not upload properly to Instagram unless you follow the steps above.


Will Instagram ever work with .gif formats?

Although there is no concrete evidence to support that the Instagram/gif relationship will improve, there is a good chance that it will get easier in the future. Facebook has also been slow to work with gifs and since the company owns Instagram, it's likely the developer will update the option at some point.


Because gifs are incredibly useful and entertaining, we can all hope that they will include the format in a future update.

Why does GIPHY work with Instagram but not other gif makers?

If you don't like GIPHY or don't want to create an account and log in, you might be looking for other gif makers that work with Instagram. Many of these other sites do not have the option to share to Instagram while some, which you can save to your device, do not download properly.

This happens because GIPHY's files aren't actually in .gif format. It's slightly misleading, but the gifs you download (or upload) from GIPHY are in MP4 format, which makes them compatible with Instagram.

As mentioned earlier, there are too many free gif maker apps and websites to review them all in one article, but search online for some that offer Instagram compatibility if you want to avoid GIPHY.

How often do you use gifs?

Although many people consider Instagram to be behind other social media platforms when it comes to accepting certain file formats, as you can see there are a few workarounds in the gif file department.

How often do you use gifs on Instagram to enrich your story or post a quick reply? Do you mind that there is still no native support for gif files? Leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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