How to Create and Use Memoji on iOS 12

iOS 12 Memoji Camera View

Animojis are fun. But they’re quite limited. There are half a dozen characters, and they can only be used in a limited setting inside the Messages app. But in iOS 12 Apple introduced Memoji! It’s Apple’s take on Bitmoji like customizable Animojis which are way more lifelike.

There are limitless possibilities with Memoji. You can choose the skin color, hairstyle, eye color, nose shape and more to create a Memoji that looks just like you. Or anyone you want to look like, really. Here’s the really cool thing about Memoji. You can put on your Memoji character, on your face, in the live camera view!

Read moreThe Best iOS 12 Features for iPhone

How to Create Your Own Memoji Character

iOS 12 Memoji

Step 1: When you launch the Animoji app in Messages for the first time, you’ll get a prompt for creating a Memoji. If you’ve dismissed that, you’ll find that the first icon in the Animoji app is a Memoji. Tap on that and you’ll enter the editing screen.

Step 2: On the top, you’ll see the live preview of the Memoji you’re creating. It will react to your facial movement.

iOS 12 Memoji 1

Step 3: First select the skin tone, the freckles and swipe on the tabs below the Memoji character to get to all available customization. There’s hairstyle, head shape, eyes, brows, nose, lips, ears, eyewear and headwear.

iOS 12 Memoji 2

As always, the Memoji customizations are thoughtfully designed and are inclusive of many cultures across the world. You can put on a turban and a burka as well.

Step 4: Once you’ve customized your Memoji character just right, tap on Done. It will now show up top on the Animoji carousel.

How to Use Your Memoji Character in Messages

iOS 12 Memoji 3

Step 1: Open the Messages app and go to an iMessage conversation.

Step 2: Above the keyboard, you’ll see a row of iMessage apps. Tap on the Animoji app to open it.

Step 3: From all the available Animojis, swipe over to the first one. This is where you’ll find your Memoji character.

Step 4: When you’re in the Animoji iMessage app, your Memoji character works like any other Animoji character. Tap on the preview to instantly send it in the chat, or you can drag it to add it as a sticker. Plus, you can tap on the red dot to begin recording a video using you Memoji character.

How to Use Memoji In Live Camera View

Here’s the party trick though. The one you’ll show your friends over drinks. The one that will finally get them to update to iOS 12.

iOS 12 Memoji 4

Step 1: When you’re in an iMessage conversation, tap on the Camera button.

Step 2: The new camera view will slide up. In the bottom-left, you’ll find a new Effects button.

Step 3: Tap on it and you’ll launch into a whole new section where you can add cool filters (similar to Clips app), stickers, objects, Animoji and more importantly, Memoji right on your face.

Step 4: From the carousel, tap on the Animoji button. Then select your Memoji character. Now, the Memoji character is superimposed over your face. It’s super-sized but it will respond to all your expressions, including winks and how far you stretch your tongue. Once you get the right expression, tap on the Shutter button.

Sadly, there’s no support for video recording with live Memoji. iOS 13 maybe?

iOS 12 Memoji 5

You’ll get an option to edit the picture, mark it up, retake or you can press the big blue button to send it off. Again, there’s no option to actually save the image to your camera roll. And that’s a shame. I hope Apple lets you do this in a future update because not everyone uses iMessage but everyone should be able to see your epic Memoji edits.

What I would love to see is the integration of the Effects screen right inside the Camera app so everyone can use the cool new filters and Memoji without going into the Messages app. But knowing Apple, I’m not holding my breath for that one.


After using Memoji, I’m smitten. It’s just fun. The ballooned up characters look really fun and the expression detection is on point. It’s the best implementation of AR Emoji I’ve seen so far (it’s way ahead of Samsung’s haphazard implementation).

I can see Memoji really taking off, in a way that Animoji didn’t. It would depend on how accessible Apple makes it, but with the combination of Apple’s new AR object format and the general push of creating new and interesting things with AR, the future is bright.

What do you think of Memoji? Have you tried it yet? Is this the thing that will get you or your friends to update to iOS 12 on day one? Share with us in the comments below.