What is Memoji? Apple's new Animoji explained

Apple is bringing fun effects to the Messages camera, in the form of a new type of Animoji called Memoji. Let’s back up: Messages, also know as the iMessage app, is Apple’s messaging platform across iOS devices and Mac devices. With the introduction of iPhone X, Messages added a new feature called Animoji.

These use the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera system in order to map popular emoji characters to your face so that they appear to mimic your facial expressions in a real-time recording. Then, months later, Apple introduced an expansion of that feature called Memoji. With iOS 12 (due to release this autumn), you’ll be able to create an avatar that tracks your facial movements and looks like you, rather than a poop emoji or robot emoji.

Here’s what you need to know about Memoji.

Screenshot (Apple)1 image 1

What are Memoji?

Memoji are personalised Animoji. It’s basically Apple’s version of Snapchat’s Bitmoji or Samsung’s AR Emoji. These Animoji can look exactly like you (or a version of you with, say, yellow skin, blue hair, a mohawk, a ‘fro, man bun, or a cowboy hat).

Apple said it worked hard to offer up an “incredibly diverse set of Memoji”. As you adjust your Memoji to suit you, whether changing the head shape, brows, or eye colour, you will see the Memoji change in real-time via iMessage’s built-in Memoji builder tool.

1/10Screenshot (Apple)

How do you create and share Memoji?

  1. Open Apple’s Messages app.
  2. Tap the App Store icon next to the text field in a conversation thread.
  3. Tap the Animoji (monkey) icon from the selection of App Store apps.
  4. Scroll through the available emoji characters until you reach ‘New Memoji’.
  5. Tap ‘New Memoji’ to open the Memoji builder.
  6. While looking at your iPhone, adjust your Memoji preferences like skin and hair colour.
  7. When you’re done, tap ‘done’ to save the Memoji to your Animoji drawer.
  8. Tap the send (blue arrow) button to send the Animoji in Messages.

1/5Screenshot (Apple)

Can you do anything else with Memoji?


  1. Open Apple’s Messages app.
  2. Tap the camera icon.
  3. In the viewfinder, tap the star icon to the left.
  4. Tap the Animoji (monkey) icon from the selection of available effects.
  5. From there, you can record a live video with your custom Memoji.
  6. If you’ve created other Memoji characters, you can scroll and select another.
  7. You can then set up your shot and tap the capture button.
  8. From there, you can add effects or mark up the image and send in Messages.

Screenshot (Apple)Gallery 2 image 2

Is there an example of a Memoji?

Here you go:

Do you need anything to use Memoji?

To create Memoji, you need the iMessage app, iOS 12 software update, and an iOS device with the TrueDepth camera system (i.e., the iPhone X). Apple will likely release iOS 12 after it announces the next iPhone models, which will likely feature the TrueDepth camera system.

If you’d like to test iOS 12 before it publicly release, you can join the beta programme.

To learn how to join, see our guide.

Want to know more?

If you want to know more about Animoji, check out Pocket-lint’s in-depth guide here.

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