New for iOS 12: Turn Yourself into an Animoji with Apple’s New Memoji for iPhone

If you've ever wanted to create your own emoji, then you're going to have a lot of fun playing with Memojis, a feature in the new iOS. Think of Memoji as an iPhone emojis update that can be used in real time as live, talking avatars in FaceTime or Messages, similar to Snapchat filters, but better. It's like being able to create your own Animoji, but not just any Animoji, Animojis of yourself or any character you can dream up. You can design as many designer Animojis as you want, some for family, some for friends, and you can customize their features, hairstyles, accessories, and much more. These personalized and animated emoji faces can only be created on the iPhone X, iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone XR since these are the only versions of the iPhone to incorporate the front-facing TruDepth camera. If you don't have or don't plan on buying a new iPhone, you'll still be able to receive Animoji and Memoji messages, although you won't be able to create them. If you still want some of the fun of custom Memojis, check out this article about a free emoji creator app. Let's go over how Memojis work, so you can make your own avatar.

Related: How to Use Animojis on iPhone X (They're More Fun Than You Think!)

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emoji maker

How Do Memojis Work to Create an Animated Emoji?

The Memoji feature works by using your iPhone X's TruDepth camera and facial recognition sensors to track head movements and facial expressions, even winks and tongue movements! These movements are recorded in sync with your customized avatar, then sent via the Messages app, or used in real time for a FaceTime conversation. To send a Memoji you'll simply:

  • Open the Messages app.
  • Open an existing conversation or start a new one, then tap on the Animoji icon (the monkey face.)

make emojicustom emoji

Next, you'll tap on the plus icon to the left of the Animoji choices, then you'll be directed through creating your first Memoji and be able to use it whenever you like in an iMessage or FaceTime.

When creating a Memoji, you'll start with a blank slate like the image below. You'll choose skin tone from a variety of natural and decidedly unnatural choices.  

emoji app

Next, you'll get to pick a hairstyle...

make your own emoji

And hair color...


Next comes head shape, then eye color and shape...


Eyebrows, nose, lips, ears...

emoji creator

and finally, facial hair (or not), eyewear, and headwear. 

how to make emojis

When you're finished creating your Memoji avatar, simply tap Done in the upper right corner of your display. Now you'll be able to use your Memoji in Messages and Facetime, even adding extra stickers and effects.

emoji pics

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Leanne Hays's picture

Leanne Hays is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life.  She loves reading and blogging, and is never without a book in her backpack or an audiobook on her phone. Short-term goals include finishing painting her house and starting an aquaponics farm, long-term goals include a bike tour of Italy and writing a novel.