Forum Question: Animated GIF Files in Mail

I’m new to mac but as a former pc user, I was able to send .gif files in emails and loved the “sparkle” and “animation” that they have but apparently you can’t do this on a mac. Or am I inserting them incorrectly. They all show up as a flat clipart image.

— Barbara

Comments: 11 Responses to “Animated GIF Files in Mail”

    6/24/10 @ 4:45 pm

    You can send animated GIF files. But they do not animate when viewing them in Apple Mail — either when composing and viewing them in a received message. Not sure why Apple specifically decided to not support them. It may have had to do with some of the patent battles around GIF years ago, but I’m not sure.
    But if you attach an animated GIF in Mail, and send it, and the recipient’s email client can show them, then they will see it.
    In other words, the file is sent as-is. It is just a matter of whether they can view it on the other end.

      12/19/10 @ 7:07 am

      When using Tiger, I could copy and paste gifs into emails and they would work fine. Have downloaded Snow Leopard and am trying to paste gifs to emails. Have been saving to hard drive and opening in Firefox. Looks good in Firefox. I select all, copy and paste into email. Still looks good to go, but when I send, the gif appears as an empty white box. Is there a way to fix this? Thanks!

        12/19/10 @ 9:57 am

        See the above comment. GIFs do not display correctly in Mail. But they do attach and send.

          12/19/10 @ 1:48 pm

          Rog and thanks. Just frustrating because it worked in Tiger OS X. Also, it looks fine when I compose – animating as it should. Once I hit the ‘send’ though, no joy. It worked once but I don’t know what I did differently. Thanks again!

            12/19/10 @ 5:57 pm

            You could always convert the image to a jpeg or png image.

              12/20/10 @ 4:04 am

              Tried converting to jpeg and png. Unfortunately, the image loses animation. It also still comes through mail as a long, white, rectangular box – same as the gif. Thanks though!

              12/20/10 @ 5:12 pm

              Uh oh. Tried downloading and using another mail client — Eudora. Worked great! But now I have two mail clients running. Tried to mail contents of a Safari page and got a message saying, “An email message can’t be created because Safari can’t find an email application. You can use the Mail application included with Mac OS X to send webpages. To do so, you need to install Mail using the Mac OS X Install CDs.” Yikes. I’ve removed Eudora and still get this message. Do I need to reinstall Snow Leopard?

                12/20/10 @ 5:23 pm

                That’s odd. Something is definitely messed up. Did you simply try running Mail? If it runs OK, then it is probably just that the default email application was set to Eudora by Eudora and now it can’t find it. Just set the default Mail application back to Mail (it may prompt you when you run Mail again). Otherwise, after Mail runs, just go to Mail, Preferences, General and set the “Default email reader.”
                And for GIFs, you can always save the attachment and drag it to Safari to see the animation. No need to go to the extreme of installing another application.

    7/2/10 @ 12:40 am

    I didn’t even know until today that I wasn’t seeing the animated gifs people were sending me. They always appeared as still images. And I’ve been a Mac user for 20 years! I use Mac’s Mail program for email, because it easily gathers my various email addresses into one place. But today when I happened to go onto my .mac account and check my email, I looked at an email I’d seen earlier in the day, and saw that the still photo I’d viewed in the email in my Mail program was actually a really cool animated gif. I don’t know why the Mac folks made it so gifs don’t appear in Mail, but DO appear in a web browser when logged into a .mac account. It would be great to include a gif as a company signature in all emails, but all the hundreds of people in my contact list who work on a Mac and use Mail wouldn’t see the gif. That sucks. (I’m working on an iMac, with Snow Leopard system and the latest Mail software.)

    Nur Roy
    12/22/10 @ 7:59 pm

    If you are using Apple Mail on your mac, you might noticed that gif animations are not shown in the mail. However if you click on the attached gif animation and open with Safari, you can see the animation. Or if you click on the gif image open with Xee app, you can view the animation.
    When a user with Outlook Express sends you an Mail with embedded animated Gif, Apple Mail in most cases ( if your view not selected as plain text ) shows the animation.

    Why is that?
    It’s because Outlook Express sends the Mail as HTML with MIME Attachment and also does a URL “CID:” reference in the HTML code to the actual embedded animated Gif!

    How can you see animated images when you send it through apple mail program? You can send animated GIF files. But they do not animate when viewing them in Apple Mail.
    There are some software and plug in apps you can buy and use it.
    Such as MaxBulk Mailer or Mail Attachments Iconizer 2.
    Read more here:

    Paul Wright
    3/25/12 @ 10:53 am

    But animated gifs from other sources do play in Mail. Why is that?

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