Here's a fun fact about me: if you ever catch me staring intently at my phone and tapping at it with reckless abandon, chances are I'm not looking at my email or checking social media; instead, I'm messing around with a photo or video. I can spend hours placing teeny tiny Easter eggs, tweaking the layers and contours, and, since Messenger launched an AR feature that's out of this world, adding that little extra somethin' in Messenger to top it all off. As a result, it should come as no surprise at all that when I learned that Instagram Stories was adding a GIF stickers function, I was over the moon with excitement. And after a full day of testing it out, I'm absolutely obsessed — and can't recommend highly enough that you hop into Instagram and start playing with GIF Stickers right away. But first, let's walk through what the new function is (and, of course, how to use it).
The new feature is part of the Instagram version 29 update, which rolled out on Jan. 23 to all iOS and Android devices. The GIF stickers can be added to any still photo, video, or boomerang in the Instagram app — and you can share them in your stories as well as download and save them for later. "From bouncing letters and twirling hearts to dancing cats and pizza in space, these animated stickers help you make any photo or video funny, interesting or creative," Instagram announced in a blog post, noting that the feature will allow users to tap into GIPHY's massive library of GIFs to find the exact right one that lights up a photo or video. With just a few quick finger tweaks you can make it part of the scene, as if it was always there all along. Or, if it's more your cup of tea, you can add something that totally doesn't belong in the scene — and collapse in giggles at the resulting masterpiece. In other words, get ready to have a ball.
It's also worth noting that there's a hidden gem within Instagram's announcement: finally, you soon won't have to crop a photo to make it work as a story. "In the coming weeks, we're also rolling out the ability to upload photos and videos of any size to your story — so you never have to lose part of a photo or cut a friend out of a group video," the post reads. "When you upload a photo or video, pinch to share it in its original dimensions, whether it's square, portrait or landscape. Any extra room will be filled with a custom colour gradient that matches what you've shared." How cool is that?
Ahead, we'll walk through exactly how to use the new GIF Stickers feature on Instagram Stories. But be forewarned: once you start, oh man is it hard to stop. So make sure you've got some time to play around, because there's literally no way that you won't want to go back through your photo library and make every photo and video pop.