Image: PopKey
By Karissa Bell2014-10-01 14:12:51 UTC

Ladies and gentleman of the Internet, animated GIF keyboards for iOS have arrived.

PopKey, the emoji-style keyboard for animated GIFs, rolled out to Apple’s App Store Wednesday, and it’s pretty much everything you hoped for.

The app is a bit like a super-charged emoji keyboard, but one that allows you to use GIFs, rather than emoji.

The setup process works the same way as other third-party keyboard apps. Install the PopKey app from the App Store, and then add it to your keyboards in your iPhone’s main settings: Settings – General – Keyboard – Keyboards and select PopKey,

Once installed, you can toggle between PopKey’s keyboard and other keyboards installed on your device by tapping the globe icon in the bottom lefthand corner of the keyboard.

PopKey Gif app

PopKey’s keyboard is divided into sections of themed GIFs based on reactions and topics.

Image: PopKey

When you’ve found a GIF you want to send, tap it to copy it to your clipboard, and then paste it into an iMessage or email. Unlike the emoji keyboard, you can only use PopKey to send GIFs within iMessage and emails, though its creators said support for more platforms will be coming in the future.

The keyboard is divided into different categories: recent, popular, favorites and featured. Recent displays GIFs you’ve just copied, while favorite displays those you’ve favorited.

But it’s the popular and featured sections where you’ll likely spend most of your time. Popular is where you can see dozens of topics, curated by PopKey, which are trending among other users and elsewhere on the web. The popular categories are grouped by reactions such as “aww” “omg” “waiting,” — similar to how you would search for the right emoji for those situations. It’s great because it allows you to convey the true power of a GIF.

For example, you can tell someone you’ve been waiting a while, or you could respond with:

Image: PopKey

You could type “whatever,” but you could also just go with this animation:

Image: PopKey

The featured area has some more general themes, such as “cats” or swag.” At launch time, the section had some amusing GIFs, but PopKey’s creators said it will eventually be populated with GIFs from partners, including music labels or movie studios, and will surface timelier content.

PopKey is currently available for iPhones and iPads with iOS 8.

Check out the GIF, below, to see the app in action:

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