Turn Yourself into an Animoji with Apple’s Memoji for iPhone (Updated for 2020)

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 introduced with iOS 12 and improved with iOS 13. 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 and later, 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. And now, with iOS 13, even older iPhone will be able to create and send Memoji stickers! 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 the iPhone (They're More Fun Than You Think!)

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memoji maker

How Do Memojis Work to Create an Animated Emoji?

The Memoji feature works by using the TruDepth camera and facial recognition sensors in iPhones X and later, as well as the iPad Pro 11-inch or iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation). These features 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.

New Memoji Stickers with iOS 13

With iOS 13, Apple's latest software update for the iPhone, Memoji enthusiasts can also use their creations as stickers, available on the keyboard in Messages, Mail, and other apps. Any iPhone that can be updated to iOS 13, as well as any iPad that can run iPadOS, can also create Memoji stickers, although they can still only receive animated Memojis, not create them. 

How to Create a Memoji

To send a Memoji:

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Open an existing conversation or start a new one, then tap on the Memoji icon (the group of animated faces).

    open the messages appcreate a memoji
  3. Next, tap on the plus icon to the left of the Animoji choices; you'll be directed through creating your first Memoji and be able to use it whenever you like in an iMessage or FaceTime.
  4. 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, and can also add freckles, blush, and beauty marks. 

    tap the plus sign to create a new memojicreate your memoji 
  5. Next, you'll get to pick a hairstyle and color...
  6. Eyebrows, forehead markings, eyebrow piercings, lashes, eyeliner, and shadow...

    apple memoji customizeadd eyebrows, eyeshadow to your memoji
  7. Next, choose your Memoji's age and head shape, nose size and shape, any piercings, as well as mouth shape and color...
  8. Ears, earrings, and even AirPods or hearing aids...

    choose features in apple memoji appcustomize ears on memoji
  9. Ears, facial hair (or not) and eyewear, and headwear... 

    memoji beards and mustachesmemoji hats iphone

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.

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is an SEO Content Strategist and Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.