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The TrueDepth camera on the front of modern iPhones isn’t only used for Face ID. The advanced facial recognition also powers a fun feature in the Messages app called Animoji. (And Memoji, which we’ll get to later.)
This feature tracks your facial expressions and movements, mapping them onto three-dimensional versions of classic emoji characters – all in real time. You can record these characters moving and speaking in your voice, and send the recordings to friends.
To access Animoji, first open the Messages app and then tap Memoji icon which appears in the App Drawer along the bottom of the screen.
You can use Animoji within the App Drawer itself, or swipe up on the gray bar to expand the feature to fill the entire display for a better look at what you’re doing.
Move your head around and you’ll see the Animoji on-screen mirror your actions live. Try speaking and making different faces – you’ll be amazed at what the TrueDepth camera can keep up with!
You can choose from a bunch of different emoji to impersonate, from monkeys to unicorns to a literal pile of poo. (Yes, really.)
To record a clip, press the red record button and start speaking into the camera. Press the button again when you’re done, or keep going until the recording times out. You can then press the blue arrow to send your recording to a friend, or hit the red trash can to delete it and try again.
Only certain devices can record Animoji, but any iOS device can receive them via iMessage. If you want to send one to a non-Apple device, it will send as a video clip via MMS message. Be aware that this may incur extra charges from your service provider.