Pinterest Adds GIFs to Mobile

Pinterest finally adds GIFs to both iOS and Android.


Pinterest added support for GIFs to their mobile apps today. The new feature was the result of one of the company’s ‘Make-a-thons,’ described by Pinterest as an “all-night creativity fest.” According to Ludo Antonov, an engineer at Pinterest, a small team of four built the product overnight: “We had been hearing from Pinners that they wanted a way to save GIFs, and quite frankly, I also wanted a way to make my Cats board more playable,” Antonov wrote on Pinterest’s engineering blog.

According to Antonov, these were the team’s goals:

  • Make GIFs playable in the grid and Pin close-up.
  • Maintain an elegant user experience by only playing GIFs when the Pinner clicks them.
  • Minimize waste of speed and bandwidth by using the click-to-play design. As a result, GIFs, which are generally large files, are only loaded with the intent to play.
  • Build with an easy-to-consume API so we could extend to mobile clients.
  • Work closely with design to differentiate experiences on mobile, where it doesn’t make sense to play in the grid. Design was also crucial in helping us quickly build a seamless experience that Pinners would love.

We think the best thing about Pinterest’s GIF capabilities is that they’re click-to-play. Though we love GIFs (especially ones featuring puppies), they can be quite distracting when a bunch of them are playing at once on the same page. The pinned GIFs have a little play/pause button in the bottom left corner:

And here’s the same GIF on iOS, where pressing play expands the GIF:
Courtesy of Antonov’s Cats board

See more Pinterest GIFs on their Valentine’s Day board.

Update: This post has been updated to reflect that the capabilities were added to its mobile apps.