How to Make GIFs on Your Smartphone or Laptop

Plenty of people will be happy with the features and options in those two web apps—and you don’t need to install any extra software, everything just runs in your browser—but if you need a bit more control and functionality, desktop apps for Windows and macOS are also available. One of the top choices on Windows is Giffing Tool, which runs under a pay-what-you-want policy—you can use it for free, if you don’t mind a watermark on your finished GIFs, or send the developers a donation if you find it useful.

It works like a screen capture tool. Click New, drag out the area of the screen you want to build a GIF from, then hit Esc when you’ve finished recording. You can record something your doing in an app, or a video you’re playing from your computer, or a video you’re playing on the web. When that’s done, you can add filters, create a text overlay, crop and resize your GIF, and more.

For those of you on macOS, you can go back to Giphy again with the simple Giphy Capture for macOS. Like Giffing Tool, it lets you capture everything inside a defined window on screen. There’s also the more advanced GIF Brewery, which can turn video files, screen recordings, and webcam footage into GIFs, and comes stacked with options.

Import a video file, and you can set the start and end points to the exact frame. You can also crop and resize the GIF where necessary, and drop in text and stickers with just a couple of clicks. More advanced options enable you to set the frame rate, color depth, and more.

Make GIFs on Your iPhone or Android Device

If you’re making GIFs on Android or iOS, we’re going to assume it’s from a video you’ve already recorded or got access to on your phone. If you need to convert a clip from a YouTube video or something similar, then we’d recommend using a laptop and a proper desktop web browser for the job instead.

Those of you using iPhones can use the Live Photos that Apple handsets take and convert them into GIFs. With the image on screen in Photos, swipe up then choose Loop or Bounce to build the GIF. Finally, go to Albums then Animated, in Photos, where you’ll find the newly created GIF ready for sharing.

You can do a similar trick if you have a Pixel phone from Google. These phones capture Motion Photos by default; like Live Photos, it grabs a couple of seconds of video along with each still image. To convert one to a GIF, open it up in the Google Photos app, tap the three dots to the top right, then choose Export and GIF.

Alternatively, once again you can turn to Giphy: It has free apps for Android and iOS that will let you create GIFs from photos and videos on your phone, or you can record them straight from your phone’s camera. The app also provides tools for trimming your GIFs, adding colorful filters, and dropping text and stickers over the top of them.

Giphy isn’t the only option in terms of third-party apps, though it seems to be the best of the bunch based on the options we’ve tried. Alternatives include GIF Maker for iOS, which again is packed with filters and effects to try out, and the identically named (but different) GIF Maker for Android, which has a host of comprehensive editing options for reversing GIFs, creating loops, changing color balance and so on.

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