Apple Animoji explained: How to use those animated emoji on iPhone X

  • Everything you need to know about Animoji
  • Including how to create and share them
  • Animoji are custom, animated versions of emoji that you can use on iPhone X

Animoji are custom, animated versions of popular emoji characters found on iPhone. The feature uses the new Face ID facial-recognition system, which is currently exclusive to the iPhone X, to create 3D emoji that mirror your own facial expressions.

You can make and share them with other Apple users through Apple's Messages app in iOS 11. The forthcoming iOS 11.3 update will bring four new Animoji to use with the iPhone X. Apple is adding a lion, a bear, a skull, and a dragon to the mix. Here's how Animoji work.

Apple described Animoji as “custom animated messages that use your voice and reflect your facial expressions".

Ever use those cool lenses in Snapchat? Well, Apple's Animoji feature works very similarly, only instead of being based on custom masks developed by Snapchat, they're based on popular emoji.

Twelve of them to be precise (soon to be 16 in iOS 11.3), including poop, panda, pig, and robot. Animoji essentially mirror your facial expressions. So, as you move your face and talk, they will do the same, in real-time.

Face ID is a new facial-recognition feature developed by Apple.

To make Face ID possible on the iPhone X, Apple had to cram a lot of new hardware into a tiny area at the top of the display. This area is dubbed the "TrueDepth camera system", and it is made up of a flood illuminator, infrared camera, front camera, dot projector, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, a speaker, and microphone. When you glance at your iPhone X, the TrueDepth camera system kicks in.

To process all your face data, Apple had to develop the new A11 Bionic neural engine. It's essentially the company's A11 Bionic chip with a built-in neural engine. Animoji leverages the TrueDepth camera system used for Face ID as well as the A11 Bionic chip to capture and analyse more than 50 different muscle movements in your face. It then mirrors your expressions in different emoji to produce Animoji. Learn more about how Face ID works.

Animoji is available within the Messages app for iOS 11 on iPhone X. Learn more about iOS 11 .

You can create and edit Animoji in fullscreen, and they’ll be animated in real-time before you send them as a message. When you send them, the recipient will receive them as looping videos with audio.

At launch, you can create an Animoji out of the following emoji on iPhone: robot, alien, dog, cat, monkey, pig, fox, poop, panda, chicken, mouse, and unicorn. We suspect more will be added soon.

Anyone with iOS 11 can receive and view Animoji, but to create and share them, you'll need an Apple device that can do Face ID. Right now, that's only the iPhone X. Learn more about iPhone X.