How to Play GIFs on Windows, Mac, Android, or iPhone

Along with its increasing popularity, GIF image is supported on more and more platforms and devices, but many users still have problems opening this type of file. How to play GIFs? We round up several quick & convenient ways based on different platforms. Have a brief look and jump to the section suitable for your case.

Vita Vita | Updated on Jan 30, 2024

Part 1. How to Play GIFs on Windows

Part 2. How to Views GIFs on Mac

Part 3. How to Play GIFs on Android

Part 4. How to Watch GIFs on iPhone

People are coming across a large number of GIF images when browsing Facebook, Twitter, or chatting with others online in daily life as the fact that GIF images can be much more informative than plain text to express feelings, ideas or share moments in some situations. Knowing how to play GIFs in different ways can be helpful when you suddenly fail to open some GIFs on your devices. Given this, we introduce the quickest way and also backup plans, for each platform respectively. Let’s get started.

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Part 1. How to Play GIFs on Windows

Windows Media Player

How to play a GIF file

Windows Media Player is an expedient way to play GIFs on Windows. You only need to right click on the GIF file on your computer, select Open with > Windows Media Player.
If there is no Windows Media Player option in the list, go to Choose default program > Other programs. Scroll down, find and select Windows Media Player.

There is a Repeat button on the lower playback navigation bar. You can turn it on so as to play a GIF repeatedly.

Internet Explorer

Browser GIF player

This is the quickest way on how to view GIFs on Windows: Right click on the GIF file, select Open with > Internet Explorer. Then, the animated GIF image will be played in the browser in a loop.

* Support for Internet Explorer has ended. Microsoft Edge is recommended now.


View a GIF file

You can also utilize a third-party tool to open GIF files. Irfanview is a free Windows graphic viewer that supports GIF playback and editing. In this program, you’re able to manipulate animated GIFs more flexibly, for instance, you can zoom in/out a GIF, check out and modify the file properties, extract frames from the file, and so forth.

The official website:

Part 2. How to Views GIFs on Mac

Use the Space bar

How to play a GIF on Mac

The Mac Spacebar on keyboard is not only for word-separation calling, but can also perform multiple tasks including playing GIFs:

Click on the GIF image you want to play, then press and hold the Spacebar on your keyboard.

A window will pop up with the animated GIF displayed. However, you need to keep holding the Spacebar for playing the GIF in an infinite loop, which would not be a practical way for those rarely long-length GIF images.


GIF viewer mac

By means of your browser on Mac, you’re also able to solve how to play GIFs on Mac:
Right click on the file, select Open with, then Safari. Tada, you can watch the animated GIF now. If you’re using any of other browsers, such as Gooogle Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, you may also try this method to see whether it works.

Part 3. How to Play GIFs on Android

The Preloaded Gallery App

A preinstalled gallery app on mobile phones is for organizing and viewing photos and videos. It has multiple albums and under each of which, photos are classified based their sources and other features. The gallery may look or be named slightly different on mobile phones. Preinstalled gallery apps on recent Android phones all include the support for GIFs.
To play an animated GIFs downloaded online, just click the gallery app icon that usually can be found on the home screen, then go to the album containing the GIF image you want to see, tap the thumbnail of the GIF image to view it on the screen. 


Android GIF Player

OmniGIF is a multiple-purpose application for users to play, edit and even create animated GIFs from photos and videos. This tool can perform astonishingly delicate functions, including customized playback settings, the ability to discover online GIFs, useful editing options, etc. If you’re looking for a versatile GIF processing tool with playback capability, OmniGIF is worth a try.

Download address:

Part 4. How to Watch GIFs on iPhone

The Default Photos App

Since iOS 11, Apple has added support for GIFs, thus, if you’re a user of iOS 11 or latter versions, you are able to play GIF images in Photos. Locate the animated GIF image you want to play in Photos and tap it to open and play.

Messages or Email

However, users are using iOS 10 and earlier still have to look for other methods and the most common way without installing a third-party tool is to send the GIF to yourself via Messages or Email because animated GIFs are supported to be played on iPhone Messages and Email apps.

GIF Viewer

Alternatively, you can take advantage of an iPhone GIF player to view animated GIFs. GIF Viewer is a popular choice. It can instantly play animated GIFs stored in Photos and share them with others. Free download the tool from the official App store:

Bottom Line:

Since the ways to play GIFs are varied, if you know any other good methods for this purpose, you’re welcome to share them with us, thus, we can improve this article.

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