What Exactly Is Bitmoji?

Create Your Own Avatar and Add Some Fun to Texts and Snapchat

screenshot of bitmojis
Bitmoji

If you spend time on Facebook, Slack, Snapchat, Gmail or countless other apps and services, chances are you've come across a friend or colleague's personalized cartoon avatar — a Bitmoji.

The Basics of Bitmoji

Bitmoji is a brand from the company Bitstrips, which was originally known for letting you create your own comic strips using a personalized cartoon avatar of yourself. Snapchat acquired the company in 2016.

The basic premise of Bitmoji is that you create a cartoon version of yourself that you can insert across a variety of web-based services from Snapchat to Gmail and beyond. It's definitely about adding some fun to your communications. There are no real productivity-minded features here.

The brand uses the slogan "Your personal emoji." In addition to letting you create a cute, surprisingly accurate digital version of yourself, Bitmoji offers lots of versions of your avatar — with different captions and different emotions.

Here's a list of some of the top apps and services that offer integration with Bitmoji:

This list is hardly exhaustive; the Bitmoji keyboard works with any app that supports copy and paste, so you'll be able to take your avatar pretty much anywhere you go virtually.

Getting Started With Bitmoji

You might come across the option to create a Bitmoji avatar within the Snapchat app, but you need to download the Bitmoji app to get started. You can do so for either Android smartphones or iPhones. The Android app requires Android 4.3 or later, and the iPhone app requires iOS 9.0 or later. You can use Bitmoji with the Chrome web browser as well, but you add it as an extension. No matter which option you choose, it's free to download.

After you download the Bitmoji app for your smartphone operating system or Chrome, you create a login. You have a choice of signing up via email or via Snapchat. 

After you sign up and are logged in, you get to the fun part, creating your own Bitmoji. You go through several screens, customizing your avatar along the way by choosing a hairstyle, eye color, nose shape, and much more. You can always go back if you don't like what you've come up with, and even if you're satisfied with what you've made, you can still go back and change things later.

Bitmoji Keyboard

When you're happy with the Bitmoji version of yourself that you created, set up the Bitmoji keyboard on your smartphone so you can share your avatar in texts and compatible apps. The Bitmoji app provides instructions on how to do this on your specific device after you save your first Bitmoji. The instructions are also in the settings if you decide to set up the keyboard later.

Customizing Things Further

One of the cool things about Bitmoji is that the customization options for your avatar don't end after you've finalized your digital character. You can change your Bitmoji's clothing by heading to the "Dress Your Avatar" section of the app — and you'll find plenty of wardrobe options. During the NBA Playoffs, the app offered jerseys for every team, and there are also plenty of themed choices (such as job-related outfits for everything from a chef to a firefighter). 

Since Snapchat owns Bitmoji now, you can expect to see some brand collaborations. You may see outfit options from Nike, Forever 21, Steve Madden, Hollister, Bergdorf Goodman, and more.

You can also purchase paid theme packs if you want even more Bitmoji options to choose from. Most clothing packs cost $0.99, but prices can fluctuate, so check before getting your heart set on an outfit.

Bitmoji in Snapchat

You need to enable Bitmoji in Snapchat even if you went through the Snapchat app to download Bitmoji. To do this, open Snapchat, tap on the ghost icon on the top of the Camera screen, click the gear icon to open Settings. Tap on "Bitmoji," and then "Link Bitmoji." You don't have to enable Bitmoji in Snapchat for it to work in other chat apps, but you may want to.

Bottom Line

Bitmoji is a fun — and for the most part, free — way to jazz up your texts and messages, and it's easy to get the hang of. Now that you understand the ins and outs of using this avatar, go forth and share silly versions of yourself.