Similar to last year’s 3D emoji-inspired Animoji, Memoji are Apple’s take on the cartoon avatar. Like Snapchat’s Bitmoji, the feature lets you create cartoon versions of your likeness to share in the Messages app.
Unfortunately, Memoji won’t be available to everyone with iOS 12. Like Animoji, the feature is exclusive to the iPhone X. But, if you do have Apple’s most expensive iPhone, you’re in luck. Provided you’ve also opted in to the iOS 12 public beta, you can get started with your own Memoji right away.
Here’s what you need to make your own Memoji.
Step 1: Getting started
In iOS 12, Memoji live in the same menu in the Messages app where you can find the emoji-inspired Animoji. Tap the App Store icon to bring up the app tray in Messages, then choose the Animoji icon. From there, just swipe over to the left and select “New Memoji” to get started customizing your own avatar.
Step 2: Start customizing
Apple doesn’t have gender-specific Memoji. Instead, you choose your avatar’s look by customizing each feature individually. Unlike Bitmoji, Memoji only show a character’s head, so most characteristics are limited to facial features, like eye color, head shape, and hairstyle.
Most features don’t go into a lot of detail, though you can add a few distinguishing characteristics, like freckles, eyebrow shape, and facial hair style.
Step 3: Make your Memoji Stand out
Unfortunately, Apple’s personalization options are much more limited than competitors, like Bitmoji. While Bitmoji offers an extreme amount of detail in its avatars, many of Apple’s Memoji variations only come in a few options, which means Memoji come out looking much more generic than their counterparts.
There are very few ways to accesorize your Memoji, for example. You can choose between a handful of different styles of glasses (pro-tip: try changing the color of the lenses), or choose different types of headwear, which range from cowboy hats to headscarfs.
One way you could make your avatars stand out from the pack, though, is to play with color. In any feature that offers color varieties, you can choose tweak the exact shade with a slider. This could be especially useful for hair and skin tone, where you want to achieve a very specific look. But it’s also a good way to have some fun experimenting with different styles.
Color is also a good way to age your avatar a bit. If you’re not satisfied with the number of facial lines you can add more to show age. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the hairstyles section, you’ll see the ability to add highlights. Opting for gray or white “highlights” will help give your hair that salt-and-pepper look.
Step 4: Save and share
Once you’re satisfied with your Memoji, saving is the last step before you can start sharing it out. Saved Memojis will appear next to the regular Animoji. Keep in mind, you can go in and tweak your avatars after they’re saved.
Though you need an iPhone X in order to create a Memoji, anyone can view your creations. Just tap the record button to make your Memoji use your voice. The characters also respond to facial movements like raising your eyebrows and even have tongue-detecting abilities.
Saved Memoji will also appear in FaceTime, in case you want to conduct a call with your Memoji face instead of your actual face.