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Samsung adds GIF support to its Always On Display for Android Oreo users

Here's the easiest way to add GIFs to your Always On Display

Samsung’s Always On Display first made its debut with the launch of the S7 and S7 Edge. Since then, the company has added new features which have been relatively easy to use thanks to dedicated APKs. The newest feature to come to Always On Displays is GIF support. However, before you get too excited, it should be mentioned that this will only work on devices running Android Oreo or higher.

Not only will it not work on older versions of Android, but some users in the Android Police and XDA Developers comment sections have reported that the feature bricked their phones. And so we repeat — don’t try this out unless you are running Oreo.

GIF support isn’t a major feature, but it does allow users to add a bit more creativity and personalization to their smartphones. Previously, Always On allowed users to choose between pre-loaded images or their own custom images. GIF support simply takes this a step further by allowing users to add a bit of motion and life to an otherwise static screen.

Those who are running Oreo or higher will have the option of choosing between Samsung’s pre-installed GIFs or ones in their own gallery. However, there are a few issues to bear in mind. First of all, the GIFs do have a maximum length, though you can always shorten yours if they’re too long. Secondly, the GIF will not continuously loop. Instead, it will play once at the time when you turn the display off. However, double-tapping the screen will cause the GIF to play again.

The lack of a loop is likely an effort to save users’ batteries, as a constantly looping GIF would be expected to run down your phone’s charge pretty quickly. Of course, shorter battery life is one of the main drawbacks of using Samsung’s Always On settings, and this was reflected in some comments on Reddit. The standard Always On display might consist primarily of black pixels, but it is still displaying an image, and that will quickly drain your battery.

Those interested in using GIFs will not only need to be running Oreo, but must also be using a Galaxy S8 device or newer. If you’re using a Galaxy S8, S8 Plus, or Note 8, you’ll need to install the latest update to your phone before you can add a GIF to your Always On Display.

If you want to add a GIF to your Always On Display, simply tap Settings > Lock screen and security > Clock and FaceWidgets > Clock style.  Select the Always On Display tab at the top of the screen followed by the Type icon at the bottom of the screen. Scroll through the various clock faces until you locate the photo icon. Tap the Photo icon, followed by Add GIF. Once you have selected your preferred GIF, you’ll see it appear in  the Always On Display viewer. Simply tap Apply > Apply  and you’re done.

Updated on April 2, 2018: Added step-by-step directions and updated copy relating to the GS9.

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Steven Winkelman
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven writes about technology, social practice, and books. At Digital Trends, he focuses primarily on mobile and wearables…
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