Depending on who you ask, Twitter is either a vibrant social network with an enjoyable community, or a hellscape beyond compare on the internet (the correct answer to this comparison is, usually, both). Nevertheless, Twitter continues to be one of our favorite social network, a strange amalgamation of blogging, comedy, and social communities that makes it unlike anything else on the internet. Some will fall in love with Twitter, others will feel indifferent; a select few will love to hate the site, hooked to its constant feed of news, comedy, thoughts, and more. Regardless of your central feelings surrounding the site, it’s hard not to call it a success, since what goes on within the site now has rather real-world implications, thanks to its adoption by high-ranking government officials around the world.
Also see our article How To Block or Unblock Someone on Twitter
One of the most common pieces of multimedia you’ll see on the site are reaction GIFs, or GIFs used in reply to other messages and comments. Twitter has an entire GIF search engine that makes it easy to find the right GIF to send, either in a direct message or in a reply tweet to someone else on your feed, with easy suggestions like “Agree,” “Applause,” “High Five,” and many, many more. As you might expect, you’re bound to see a million GIFs on the platform that you absolutely fall in love in, whether they come from another user or from a brand you personally follow. Unfortunately, saving those GIFs to your phone ends up being a much more challenging proposition than you originally intended for it to be. Right-clicking on the desktop site just reveals the option to copy down the URL of the GIF, and holding your finger down on the mobile app does nothing to help you copy down the video you’re looking for.
This all begs the question: why does Twitter make it so hard to download and save GIFs for offline use? Is it even possible to save those GIFs to your computer or your smartphone? And if it is, how would you go about doing it? All of these questions and more will be answered in this guide to downloading GIFs from Twitter.
GIFs That Aren’t
To kick things off, let’s answer the biggest question that surrounds GIFs on Twitter: why can’t you save them by saving an image file to your computer or smartphone? The answer may not seem obvious at first, but you gain a clue by right-clicking on a GIF in your Twitter feed. If you look at any media that isn’t a still photo on Twitter, you’ll see that there’s never an option to save the media to your computer. This is obviously unfortunate, as photos can be opened in a separate tab and saved right to your downloads folder without an issue. Instead, you might notice that GIFs on Twitter use an interface that looks similar to any video on the platform, albeit without the playback bar at the bottom of the display. That’s the real reason why you can’t save your Twitter GIFs to your computer: they aren’t actually GIFs at all, but small video files converted to a proprietary format by Twitter.
Sure, you might say, but what does that mean for downloading the GIFs? If they’re actually saved as video files, it must be impossible to download the files from Twitter, with the original GIF being erased in favor of the video file created by Twitter. Fortunately, that’s where you’re wrong: saving a GIF to your computer or phone is not just possible – it’s downright easy. While it’s not as simple as right-clicking on an image and saving it to your computer, you’d be downright shocked to find out how easy it is to save a GIF from Twitter, just by turning to a third-party service with the one piece of info you do have from the tweet: the saved video link. Let’s take a look.
Saving a GIF on your Computer
We won’t lie: the easiest way to do this is on your computer. While it isn’t as easy as right-clicking and saving an image to your computer, it’s easiest to maneuver through the various sites and clicks you’ll need to perform using a mouse, rather than using your phone’s touchscreen. So, grab your computer, open up to the tweet containing a GIF you want to copy down, and let’s get started with creating a GIF from Twitter’s proprietary video file.
To start, right-click on the GIF, as if you could actually save the content to your device. As usual, you’ll see one option here: copy video address. Thankfully, we’ll be able to use that video link to grab the GIF, so copy the video link and open up a new tab inside your browser.
For this next step, you have a few different options for what site you want to use in order to convert the Twitter video-GIF hybrid back into a standard GIF for use anywhere, on any site. We wholeheartedly recommend EZGIF, a site that makes it easy to convert any video into a GIF for use anywhere on the web. Since Twitter is just handling their content with video streams, you can use that copied video link just as you would from any other video site, like YouTube or Vimeo, to create a GIF from the video source. As an extra bonus, since the video you’re saving was already scaled and formatted for a GIF, there shouldn’t be any trimming you’ll need to do to get the GIF down to the proper size.
So, with your video URL copied, use the Video to GIF option at EZGIF and paste the video URL into the box provided. Click the upload video button, and wait while the site convert’s Twitter’s video back into a standard GIF. When the page reloads, you’ll be brought to a page that features your GIF, complete with the file size, the dimensions of the GIF you just created, the length, and the type of video you converted (this will always say MP4). From there, hit “Convert to GIF” near the bottom of the display – you shouldn’t have to adjust the length of your video since it’s already a GIF – and wait for the conversion to take place. On our average internet speeds, the conversion time took less than a second to create a GIF out of a three second video file. The file size was less than a megabyte, and the quality remained unchanged from the original content taken from Twitter.
To save the GIF to your computer, you can right-click on the GIF playing on the browser, and finally, you’ll have access to the ability to save the image as a file to your computer. Save the image, give the file a name, and you’ll now have the GIF saved to your file system, to be used wherever and whenever you need it. Just remember that reposting the GIF to Twitter will reconvert the GIF back to Twitter’s hybrid format.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t get EZGIF to work on your device, don’t fret. There are plenty of sites on the web that can convert videos, including those from Twitter, into GIFs for your sharing pleasure. Check out these suggestions below and let us know in the comments if you have a preferred video-to-GIF site.
Overall, we definitely recommend EZGIF first, if only because it’s the easiest, most straightforward route to saving GIFs to your computer. Your mileage may vary, of course, but if you’re looking for the best suggestion, that happens to be our recommendation.
Saving a GIF on your Phone
Unfortunately, saving a GIF from your phone is a lot more complicated than saving a GIF on your computer, largely thanks to the limits of mobile operating systems. Even as iOS and Android continue to become more powerful, you’re going to be hard pressed to find an easier method of saving a GIF from Twitter than using your desktop PC. Still, some people rely on their smartphones for everything, and even we’ll admit that Twitter is a better experience when in the palm of your hand. For these two methods below, we’ll be using the Twitter app for Android, combined with some other applications in order to properly unlock the GIF download on your device. Let’s take a look.
The Easiest Solution: Using Your Browser (Platform-Agnostic)
By far, the easiest solution is, effectively, just copying the method we described above for saving files to your device. It’s easy to copy the video address within the Twitter app, and EZGIF has its own mobile site that makes saving the app to your computer just as easy. Let’s take a quick look at how it’s done on mobile.
Start by finding the GIF you want to save to your device, and click on the tweet, then click on the GIF inside the tweet to open it in a full-screen display. From here, you’ll have to hit the share button at the bottom of the display, then select “Copy Link.” On Android, you receive a notification when the link has been copied to your device’s clipboard.
With the link copied, open your browser and head to EZGIFS.com, which has a mobile site that functions exactly as outlined above. Paste the link into the box provided, but don’t yet click the “Convert” button. The problem with copying the link from the Twitter share menu is obvious: the link copied includes an invite in front of it to “check” out the tweet. Scroll through the URL and erase everything prior to the http:// portion of the link. With that erased, hit the upload button, then download the content to your device by pressing and holding on the newly created GIF. From the options that appear on the menu, you’ll want to save the image to your device’s file system, and then you’ll be able to access the GIF file within any single application that can use your system downloads folder.
Dedicated Apps for iOS and Android
In addition to the mobile site for EZGIF, there’s a number of apps you can install on iOS or Android to accomplish the same thing. The app does support a more native ability to download and save the content to your device than the web browser, but using a web page is far safer than downloading an ad-filled application like these. Still, there are tested and approved applications, and there’s no reason to not check these out if you would rather have a dedicated app than use a web browser.
For Android, we recommend Tweet2GIF. It’s an app that does, effectively, the same thing as EZGIF’s website, but within a dedicated application. You’ll want to keep an eye out for deleting the porting of the copied link as we discussed earlier, but otherwise, Tweet2GIF does exactly the same thing as EZGIF in the same order – but with a few distinct differences. First, you only need to click the convert button once to gain access to your GIF, not convert and then download. Second, because it happens within its own app interface, the GIFs are easier to download and store than they’d otherwise be. We did find that the GIFs were a bit lower quality that we’d otherwise want from the platform, but still, it’s a solid grab.
For iOS, you’ll want to turn to GIFwrapped, a solid GIF search engine on iOS that doubles with the ability to convert Twitter GIFs into shareable ones. GIFwrapped is great on its own, but using the share feature in Twitter for iOS. Like on Android, copy the link, paste it within GIFwrapped’s “Use the Clipboard” feature, save the GIF to your library, and you can post and share the tweet within any app by using the built-in share feature within GIFwrapped. Since GIFwrapped keeps its own library within the application, it’s easy to keep things locked down and easy to use.
With your GIF newly downloaded and saved from Twitter’s clutches, you can now post and share the moving image file anywhere you life. GIFs are a great form of internet communication in the 2010s, making it a vital part of online culture and a must-use when it comes to sharing content online. Whether you’re using a dedicated application or you’re downloading content through EZGIF or another viable online source, it’s important that you maintain access to those exact GIFs we all know and love. It’s silly that Twitter keeps their GIFs locked in a video-like state, but thankfully, they can be converted and rescued for the rest of us. Let us know what GIFs you downloaded using these tools in the comments below!