GIFs not working on iPhone? Here’s what to do

GIFs are the main communication tool for many people. We use them to express emotions and because they’re generally funny. It’s become common to even have entire online conversations consisting entirely of GIFs. But, just like anything else that heavily relies on technology, GIFs might stop working at some point.

Since GIFs are an integral part of using any messaging app, you’ll want to resolve that problem as soon as possible. There are two possible scenarios: either an app can’t load GIF files, or you can’t access them from your keyboard. We’re going to explore both possibilities and get you covered, in case you encounter either one of these problems.

Table of contents:

  1. Check your internet connection
  2. Restart the app
  3. Update the app
  1. Check your region
  2. Update the keyboard app
  3. Switch keyboards
  4. Check if Giphy is down

GIFs not loading in apps on iPhone

Imagine you’re texting with someone, and the GIFs they send you suddenly stop appearing. You could either notice an error or a still image, instead of a moving GIF. Either way, a GIF is unable to properly load, and therefore, you can’t see it.

The problem probably lies in a weak internet connection, or there’s something wrong with the app itself. So you should probably check that first. And if you’re not sure what to do, we’re going to talk about each case below.

1. Check your internet connection

If your internet connection is weak, an app won’t be able to properly load a GIF. That’s especially true if you’re using mobile data instead of Wi-Fi. Either your signal is weak, or you have the Low Data Mode enabled. If you notice your signal is weak, there isn’t much you can do about it, except maybe move to another location where you can catch a stronger signal.

The Low Data Mode is an option that helps your iPhone reduce mobile data usage. It pauses some data-demanding processes, like automatic updates and Photos syncing to extend your data mileage as much as possible. Among other limitations, this mode could also affect GIFs. So, if you receive a GIF while this mode is on and you’re on mobile data, it may appear as a still image to save data.

I recommend keeping Low Data Mode on, because sneaky app updates may devastate your data plan. However, you can briefly disable it to see if it actually causes the problem with GIFs in your messaging apps. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Head over to Mobile Data > Mobile Data Options.
  3. Toggle the Low Data Mode option off.

That’s it for mobile data. However, if you notice there’s something wrong with your Wi-Fi connection, check out this article for additional solutions.

2. Restart the app

There’s no profound wisdom here. Just restart the app and see if GIFs start to appear normally. Sometimes the simplest solution could be the right one. And there’s no simpler and more applied solution than a restart. Whether we’re talking about your computer, your old TV, or the Instagram app, turning it off and on is the universal answer. And the best part, it might actually work.

All jokes aside, restarting your apps from time is a good idea. Since iOS is such a well-optimized operating system, it still keeps apps you haven’t used for days in memory. Just open the list of recent apps, and you’d be surprised by just how many of them are still there.

3. Update the app

Dealing with bugs is a regular component of using apps. And the worst part is that you never know what to expect when a new update arrives. So, it’s possible that the most recent update to your messaging app caused the problem with GIFs. Unfortunately, if an update indeed caused the problem, there’s not much you can do about it, as the bug is probably implemented inside the app’s code, way out of your reach.

On the other hand, just how it arrived, the bug will probably go away with some of the future updates. Especially if the problem is widespread, and a lot of people complain about it. Wider public exposure of the problem will drive the developers’ attention to it faster.

So, just make sure to check for updates regularly, and the fix should come. Yes, waiting is annoying, but if you’ve already tried everything else, there’s not much you can do.

GIFs keyboard not working on iPhone

Now that we (hopefully) figured out why you’re not receiving GIFs, let’s talk about the opposite situation. If you can’t send GIFs, there’s something wrong with either your keyboard or the service you’re getting your GIFs from (probably Giphy).

We’re going to explore a few possible cases in which you may not be able to send GIFs. Hopefully, one of these will help you resolve the problem, so you can get back to having normal conversations with your friends again.

1. Check your region settings

Not every app is available worldwide. More specifically, the most popular iOS keyboard alternative, Gboard, is available only in select regions. If Gboard is unavailable in your region, it probably isn’t the only app that’s missing from the Store (maybe Google Photos, Assistant, etc. too).

I assume you changed your region settings to make all these apps available, so you can install them. But then, you wanted to make a purchase, and that’s only possible if your region settings match your actual location. So you had to switch back to your real-life country to make that purchase. But as soon as you’ve done that, Gboard (along with other apps) immediately disappeared from the App Store.

Since Gboard wasn’t meant to work in your region, and it’s unavailable in the App Store, all sorts of problems may arise. I personally couldn’t use GIFs from Gboard, because the app isn’t available in my region. The keyboard would just crash and switch to the system keyboard every time I tried to access the GIFs section.

If you’re familiar with what I’m talking about, you have two options. Either keep the region settings and use an alternative for sending GIFs, or change your region settings. But if you already have any active subscriptions, I assume the latter is not really an option.

2. Update the keyboard app

Just like it’s the case with messaging apps, there could be a bug inside the keyboard, as well. So, make sure to check for updates to your keyboard of choice regularly. If there’s something wrong with it, and you can’t find any other solutions, the developer will probably fix it in some of the future releases.

If you’re using iOS’ default keyboard, make sure to regularly check for iOS updates. As the keyboard is a part of the system, Apple maintains it through regular system updates.

3. Check if Giphy is down

If you’re not using a built-in GIFs section on your keyboard, you’re probably using Giphy to find and share moving images. If the Giphy app on your iPhone doesn’t work properly, you can apply almost any solution from this article to it, as well. So, check your internet connection, restart, or update the app. However, there’s one more thing you could try.

You can check if Giphy’s servers are up and running. If the servers are down, the app can’t deliver GIFs to your iPhone. But don’t worry, as server outages don’t last for too long. If the server is really down at the moment, it will probably go up in an hour or two.

You can check Giphy’s server status here.

4. Switch keyboards

And finally, if you still can’t resolve the GIF problem on your iPhone, maybe you should switch to an alternative keyboard. For example, if you find out that a bug prevents you from sending GIFs until a new app update arrives, you can use another keyboard as a temporary solution.

That’s about it. I hope this article helped you resolve the problem with GIFs on your iPhone. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to write them down in the comments below.

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