How to Play Animated GIFs on Your Mac

Play Animated Gifs Mac Featured

The versatile Preview app seems to be able to support all kind of file formats, only to fail when you open a GIF image in it. This is one image format that it cannot handle properly. What you will see is all the frames of the image instead of the actual animation. If you want to view animated GIFs on your Mac, here are some ways to easily see the GIF animation on Mac.

Use the Spacebar to Play an Animated GIF

If you don’t like using a web browser to view an animated GIF image, then the Spacebar method is one of the easiest ways to view the image.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Movie

1. Locate the image you want to see on your Mac.

2. Single-click on it and press the Spacebar once on your keyboard. The GIF will keep playing in an endless loop until you exit out of the window.

3. When you’re done viewing the image, let go of the Spacebar, and the image viewer will be closed.

4. Should you want to open the GIF in full screen mode, press Option + Spacebar on your Mac keyboard to open it in full screen.

This method seems more appropriate for viewing GIF images but does require you to hold down the Spacebar.

Use a Web Browser to View the Animated GIF

Almost all web browsers support GIF images, and you can use any available web browser on your Mac to view an animated GIF.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Browser

1. Locate the GIF image in Finder on your Mac.

2. Rght-click on it and select “Open With” followed by the name of your browser. It could be Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or any other browser that supports GIF.

3. You should be able to see the GIF image playing in the browser on your screen. In the following example, I opened the GIF image in Safari. It worked fine.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Safari

Use a Third-Party App

Using a third-party app like Pixea will not only allow you to view GIFs on your Mac but also enable a few extra features as well.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Pixea Viewer

The minimal interface gets out of your way leaving you only with a few options of zooming in/out, moving forward or backward to the next image in a folder or increasing/decreasing the overall size of the Pixea viewer. On top of that, opening a GIF is as easy as it gets with the app asking you to drag the GIF into the app. It’s that simple.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Pixea Drag

The keyboard shortcuts are the best part of Pixea, as you can zoom in and out, fit to screen, make actual size or scroll through the GIF. Will you use most of these features with a GIF viewer? Perhaps not, but having them with a free, third-party app that also includes support for a huge variety of image formats is icing on the cake. Pun intended.

Play Animated Gifs Mac Pixea Shortcuts

Wrapping Up

As the Preview app, Apple’s longstanding default choice of image viewing, cannot help you view animated GIFs on your Mac, you still have a multitude of ways to view GIFs on your Mac. Continue reading to learn how you can create and modify GIF images on your device.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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