iPhone users will get a fun new feature with iOS 12 when it drops later this year – the ability to create their own animated avatars to send to friends.
Apple calls the new avatars Memoji, and they will work much like the infamous animated emoji – or Animoji – the company launched last year. They will mimic users’ facial expressions and head movements. But unlike with Animoji, users will be able to customise their Memoji, selecting their avatars’ hair colour and hairstyle, their skin colour, and even have their Memoji wear sunglasses.
Users will be able to send their Memoji to friends using iMessage, or use them in place of their own faces in FaceTime, the iPhone’s video calling app.
Here’s how users will be able to create and use Memoji:
Apple unveiled Memoji at its WWDC conference on Monday.
Memoji will be one of the new features in iOS 12, the next version of the operating system powering the iPhone, which is due out later this year.
Memoji are a new type of Animoji.
Apple launched Animoji, or animated emoji, last year with the iPhone X. The icons mimic users’ facial expressions and head movements and can be sent to other users via iMessage. But because they rely on the three-dimensional cameras of the iPhone X, Animoji can only be used on that device.
On Monday, Apple announced new animoji, including a ghost and a koala.
But Memoji are based on human faces — and can be personalised.
Users will be able to customise their Memoji so they resemble what they look like in real life – or just in their minds.
You’ll be able to create Memoji in Messages.
To set a Memoji, you’ll need to tap on the “app” icon in Messages, to the left of the text entry area. You’ll then tap on the Animoji icon.
You’ll see animoji icons at the bottom of the screen. You’ll then swipe to the left until you see a plus sign. You’ll tap on it to get started.
Your Memoji will start with a basic face.
The feature will suggest a skin and eye colour, both of which you can fine tune. You can then add freckles – a little or a lot – if you’d like.
But you’ll be able to customise your hair colour and style — with lots of options.
You’ll be able to personalise your Memoji in different ways. You’ll be able to give your avatar one of numerous hairstyles, choose the appropriate colour for your hair, and add facial hair and different types of head coverings. You can also give your avatar eyewear, and choose just the right tint for your sunglasses.
Once you’re done customising your Memoji, you’ll be able to save it so that you can pull it up at any time from the Animoji menu.
You’ll be able to use your Memoji to replace your face when taking photos in Messages.
iPhone users will be able to customise the photos and videos they take in Messages with new features and effects. Among them will be the ability to replace their faces with their Memoji.
You’ll also be able to use Memoji in FaceTime.
FaceTime – Apple’s video calling app – will now allow you to have a group call with up to 32 people at the same time. While chatting with your friends, you’ll be able to swap out your Memoji for your face.
Here’s Tim Cook talking on FaceTime via his personal avatar.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.