The difference between gifs, stickers and emojis on WhatsApp

WhatsApp was once a handy new, free way to send text messages, but it soon grew into much more. You can send photos, videos and even your location with it. However, you can also express your emotions in a different way, namely in the form of gifs, stickers and emoji. In this article we explain the differences between these three options within WhatsApp.

To access the Emoji, stickers and gifs on WhatsApp, go to the left side of the smiley next to the field in WhatsApp where you type your comment. As soon as you tap that you will see a whole arsenal of emoji. If you prefer to see gifs or stickers, you can select them by tapping the gif or icon of the sticker at the bottom. You can also search in emoji, gifs and stickers, namely by tapping the magnifying glass that is to the left of it. Depending on the language in which your phone is programmed, you will search in that language. In most cases this will be Dutch.


We'll start with an explanation of emoji, as these are the most straightforward of all three options. In terms of emoji, there is one collection to choose from, which is the same on all platforms (although it depends on updates whether your specific device is equipped with the latest emoji). Emoji are little icons that allow you to express yourself. This can be in the form of smilies, but also other figures such as people, animals, objects (from police cars to hearing aids) and shapes (hearts for example).

The emoji is a fixed collection of small, stationary icons and you cannot expand it yourself, although it is possible to choose skin color, for example. Emoji are expanded annually by the Unicode Consortium and translated to their operating systems by all major IT companies such as Apple and Google. This is also reflected in WhatsApp, in which someone with an Apple phone that has already had a new emoji update, so can 'talk' in icons that are still unknown on an Android device and are therefore shown as squares. However, that often only applies for a short time in the year when the Unicode Consortium has already announced the new emoji and one party is faster than the other in implementing it.

An example of using emoji when someone says the paycheck is coming in today would be the money bag emoji, wallet, or smiley face with dollar sign eyes and sticking out green tongue. You can find suitable emoji in all kinds of shapes by searching for 'money' in the emoji.


You have more choices when looking for stickers. These are significantly larger emoji and are therefore displayed differently. A sticker is a picture, which means that these are not 'baked in' in the software by default. This means that one person's WhatsApp must first download the image in order to display it. WhatsApp often contains standard stickers with coffee mugs and cups. It is the intention that you add new sticker sets yourself. Here we recommend ten funny WhatsApp sticker sets that do not cost any extra money.

Just like emoji, stickers are still images. You can use them if, for example, you want to use a meme (known internet joke), without costing the other person too much data. A sticker is often not a big attack on the data of the other person, precisely because it is standing still. So suppose that the person who said that the money ship was coming in again deserves a sticker as an answer, then you look for example for a sticker set that contains exactly that one sticker with Picard from Star Trek extending his arm in such a way : give me the money. This is a well-known meme, so there will be several sticker sets on the internet that feature this image. Stickers often come into their own better when you add something to them.


Emoji are somewhat limited, but are fun little tools to give a sentence a positive spin. Gifs are moving pictures that you can use in a conversation, without necessarily giving context. For example, if someone says that he or she is happy that it's salary day again, you can show a funny mini-movie in a gif of Scrooge McDuck jumping off the diving board in his money warehouse. All you have to do is tap the smiley face to the left of "type a message" in a WhatsApp conversation, then choose "gif" and search for "Scrooge McDuck" and before you know it you'll have the miser in all sorts of different settings (but probably always with gold pieces).

You can add GIFs in WhatsApp yourself by importing a picture as you would with a self-made photo, but otherwise WhatsApp works with Giphy. So if you tap on 'Gif' at the bottom of WhatsApp, you can search the Giphy database for a suitable, moving picture. Gifs do cost a little more data for the person who receives them, because they consist of several images pasted one after the other, but that is negligible in many cases.

So in the end, there are many ways to give a comment a different twist or simply make a wisecrack comeback. Sometimes some context needs to be added, but sometimes it's best if you let the picture speak so much that it's not necessary.

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