WhatsApp's ability to send GIFs in different forms and ways has been rolling out super slowly. First we could convert videos and share them as GIFs, then the beta app let us share GIFs saved on our devices, then the Web client added support for GIF search and insertion, and now finally the last piece of the puzzle is here: we can now search for, choose, and send GIFs from the WhatsApp app on our Android phones, no need for a separate Giphy client, the GBoard app, or to have the GIFs saved on our phones beforehand.

The function shows up when you tap the emoji button in WhatsApp's text box. There's a new bottom bar that lets you switch between emoji to GIF. You can then scroll through popular GIFs and insert them right away or search Giphy for a keyword to find the appropriate animation for your current state.

Regardless of how late this feature has been implemented, it is positively awesome. Case in point:

The GIF feature is powered by both Giphy and Tenor. According to a Tenor rep, WhatsApp users are divided between both on a 50/50 basis and randomly assigned one or the other with an even split across the population.

Another change showing in the WhatsApp app is the raise of the limit on shared media. Previously, you couldn't send more than 10 photos or videos through WhatsApp in one go, you had to pick 10, send, pick 10 others, send, and so on. Now the limit is 30 items so you can share more photos and videos in one go with less risk for duplicates or forgotten items. Perfect for my puppy sharing sprees...

If you want to try out these options, you need version 2.17.6 beta, which you can obtain either by joining the Google Play Store beta and downloading it there or by grabbing the APK directly from APK Mirror.

  • Thanks:
  • Mahmoud Itani,
  • Krishna Joshi,
  • Arpit Jain