After capturing a meme-worthy piece of video, you might want to convert it into the popular GIF format. GIFs are smaller in size and compatible with more devices than most video formats. There are many apps in the App Store that perform the video to GIF conversion, but here’s a way to do the deed using nothing but your iPhone or iPad.
Take a Shortcut
The answer lies in the powerful, but woefully underused Shortcuts app that is currently available for iOS and iPadOS. Shortcuts debuts on macOS Monterey this fall. Here are the steps to turn any iPhone video into a GIF you can share on Instagram, WhatsApp, and any other social media outlet.
- Launch the Shortcuts app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
- Tap the “+” button (highlighted in red below) to add a new Shortcut.
- Tap the Add Action button (highlighted in red below).
- In the search field at the top of the Actions page, type “gif” to search for GIF-related actions
- Do you see what I see? Make GIF is one of the actions built into Shortcuts. Tap on Make GIF. The following shortcut appears:
Adding a Save Action
- Tap the Plus (+) button. Our goal now is to save the GIF that is created by the shortcut. Type Save into the search field at the top of the page that appears. You’ll see a list of actions:
- Tap “Save to Photo Album”. On the screen that appears (see below), tap the … button (highlighted in red):
- On the next screen, do two things: name the shortcut and tap the Show in Share Sheet button.
- Tap Done. We’re not actually finished creating our Shortcut, but this saves our work to this point. Now tap on “Content” in the “Make GIF from Content” step of the Shortcut.
- On the next screen to appear, tap “Shortcut Input”. What this does is pass whatever video we’ve selected to the Shortcut function that converts a video to GIF format.
- Tap “Done”. This saves the shortcut on the standard iOS / iPadOS Share Sheet.
Using the Shortcut
You now have a shortcut that converts any video on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into a GIF. Let’s give it a try.
- Select a video in the Photos Library. GIFs are usually 15 seconds or less in length, so keep that in mind. To select the video, tap Select (highlighted in red below) and then tap the video you want to convert.
- At the bottom of the screen, you’ll see “1 Video Selected”, the Share button (in red below), and the trash button. Tap the share button.
- Scroll down in the list of share options until you see “Convert Video to GIF” (or whatever you named the shortcut). Tap it.
Your video is converted to a GIF file and saved to the Recents album in your Photos Library. Keep in mind that the GIF is likely to be less smooth than your original video, but it’s also smaller. A long (15-second) .MOV video, 17.8 MB in size, became a 6.8 MB GIF.
The Power of Shortcuts
What this example shows is just how powerful Shortcuts can be. Actions are available for most Apple and many third-party apps, letting Apple users string those apps together in creative ways. I have no doubt that Shortcuts in macOS Monterey is going to unleash a lot of creative shortcuts on the Mac.