How-To Stickers Menu on iPhone

Published on January 25th, 2024 | by Sandy Writtenhouse


How to Create and Use Static and Live Stickers on iPhone and iPad

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Stickers are fun ways to add whimsy to your text messages. You can add Memoji stickers that look like Mini-Me’s or those you’ve downloaded for your favorite apps. But with iOS 17 and later, you can create custom stickers from your photos including animated stickers from Live Photos.

Not only can you take the stickers you create and pop them into the Messages app, but as of iOS 17.2, you can add them directly to text message bubbles as well as save other people’s stickers. 

Note: You can also use the sticker feature in Messages on iPad which works the same as on iPhone. Make sure you’re updated to iPadOS 17.2 or later to use all the features below.

How to Make a Static Sticker on iPhone

You don’t need anything special to create a sticker from a photo on your iPhone, but you should use a picture that has at least one subject. You might use a photo of your cat Fluffy, your pal wearing a party hat, or an object like your brand-new car. Just make sure that the subject is in focus for the best results.

  1. Open Photos and choose the picture you want to use to display it in full screen mode.
  1. Tap and hold the subject and you’ll see a brief shiny outline around it. 
  1. Select Add Sticker in the floating toolbar.
Add Sticker in the toolbar
  1. You’ll see the sticker display in your Stickers Menu which is where you’ll access it later.
  1. Optionally, tap Add Effect if you want to give the sticker an outline, comic, puffy, or shiny style. Tap Done.
  1. You can then use the X on the top right of the Stickers Menu to close it.
Sticker effects

How to Create a Live Sticker on iPhone

If you want to do something super special with your subject, you can make a Live Sticker on your iPhone. For this, you simply start with a Live Photo. When you share the sticker, your recipient will see an animated version rather than a static sticker like above.

  1. Open Photos and choose the Live Photo to display it in full screen mode. You can see all options by picking Live Photos in the Media Types section at the bottom of the Albums screen.
  1. Tap and hold the subject and then drag it slightly upward (or downward if it works better for you).
  1. Select Add Sticker in the floating toolbar and you’ll see it show up in the Stickers Menu.
Add Sticker in the toolbar
  1. Tap the Add Effect option above the sticker to confirm that the Live option is set to “Live.” You’ll see this in the top left corner of the sticker detail screen. If it’s set to “Off,” tap to change it to “Live” which makes the animation display. 
  1. Tap Done.
Add Effect for a Live Sticker

Note: You cannot add effects to Live Stickers — this turns them into static stickers.

  1. You can then tap the X on the top right to close the Stickers Menu.

How to Send Stickers in Messages

If you’ve sent other stickers in the Messages app, like a Memoji or app sticker, the process is basically the same for custom and Live Stickers.

With your Messages conversation open, tap the plus sign on the left side of the message field and pick Stickers.

Then, do one of the following:

  • Tap the sticker to place it in the message field, optionally add a message, and hit Send.
Select a sticker to send
  • Drag the sticker from the Stickers Menu to the spot you want it in the conversation. Your recipient will see the sticker where you place it.
Drag a sticker to send

Turn, Resize, Move, or Delete a Sticker

If you use the second option above and drag the sticker to the message, you can also turn, resize, or move the sticker as well as delete it from the conversation.

  • Turn a sticker: Drag it into the conversation and use a second finger to turn it to a different angle.
  • Resize a sticker: Drag it into the conversation and use a second finger to pinch in or out to resize the sticker. 
  • Move a sticker: Tap, hold, and drag it where you want it.
Turn, resize, or move a sticker
  • Delete a sticker: Tap, hold, and choose Sticker Details. Note that you may have to tap and hold the text bubble if the sticker is on top of it. Then, swipe the sticker from right to left and pick the Delete (trash can) icon.
Delete a sticker

React With a Sticker

Maybe you want to react to a particular message in your conversation with a sticker. Apple introduced this cool feature with iOS 17.2, so make sure your iPhone is up to date.

Tap and hold the message bubble you want to react to and pick Add Sticker.

Choose the sticker in the Stickers Menu and you’ll see the sticker attached to that particular message bubble.

React with a sticker

How to Save Stickers You Receive

After your friends and family members start having fun making and sharing their own stickers, you may see one or two you want to save and reuse. This is a great way to build your sticker collection with those people and pets you share in common.

To save a sticker, do one of the following:

  • For a sticker you receive in Messages, tap, hold, and pick Save to Stickers.
  • For a sticker on a message bubble, tap the sticker and pick Sticker Details Save.
Save a sticker

The sticker then lands in your Stickers Menu for you to use in other Messages conversations.

How to Manage Your Stickers

Not only can you add effects to your stickers, but you can rearrange their order or remove those you no longer want.

  1. Access the Stickers Menu in Messages using the plus sign to the left of the message field.
  1. Tap and hold a sticker to display the floating toolbar.
  1. Select Rearrange to put the stickers in jiggle mode. Then, tap and move them in the order you want.
  1. Select Delete to remove a sticker. Note that you won’t be asked to confirm, so be sure you want to delete it before tapping Delete. You can also delete stickers in Rearrange (jiggle) mode by tapping the minus sign on the top left corner of the sticker.
Rearrange or Delete stickers

FYI: You Can Sync Your Stickers to Mac

One other thing to note about static and Live Stickers you create on iPhone and iPad is that they sync to your Mac, just like your Memoji stickers.

Stickers on iPhone and Mac

Make sure your Mac is up to date and running macOS Sonoma or later. Some features require at least macOS Sonoma 14.2 specifically. Take a look at the Apple Support page for sending stickers in Messages on Mac for further details.

Both static and Live Stickers are truly enjoyable additions to Messages. The first time you make and send a sticker of your bestie, spouse, dog, cat, or child to a loved one, they’ll be thrilled and want to create their own. When they do, share this article with them so they can get started! 

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About the Author

has a BS in Information Technology and worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She then decided to follow her dream and now writes about technology full-time.

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