How do I disable GIFs (#images) in the iPhone® text Messages app?

You can send GIFs (short, looping videos) via Apple’s iPhone® texting app, Messages! There are hundreds of funny GIFs, but some GIFs are inappropriate. Covenant Eyes cannot monitor GIFs on iPhone®, so some people disable GIFs (also called #images) on an iPhone® to protect their loved ones.

To disable GIFs, follow this two-part process:

PART ONE: Turn off #images in Messages.

  1. Open the Messages app and then open a new text message.
  2. Tap the “A” App Store® icon to open the “Favorite Apps” bar.
  3. The “Favorite Apps” bar will appear. Swipe left across the bar until you locate the “More” option. (The icon is three gray dots.)
  4. On the next screen, tap the “Edit” option in the top left corner.
  5. To remove #images from the Favorites bar, tap the red minus sign next to #images. After you tap the minus sign, tap “Remove from Favorites.”
  6. Under MORE APPS, #images will be visible. Turn the toggle switch off for #images to disable it. To remove the ability to use #images, read on to Part Two!

PART TWO: Disable the Option to Reinstall #images.

Apple provides free device controls called Screen Time for iPhone® and iPad®. If you disable the “Installing Apps” feature in Screen Time, you can prevent the member from reinstalling #images.

  1. If you’re familiar with Screen Time settings, go to the Settings app > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > iTunes & App Store Purchases > Installing Apps > Don’t Allow.
  2. If you’re unfamiliar with Screen Time settings, read How do I set up Screen Time on iOS 15? and turn “Installing Apps” off.

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