Readers like you help support XDA Developers. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.

Stickers are a fun way to liven up photos on an iPhone or iPad when sending them through the Messages app. Available for years, there are standard stickers, themed sticker packs you can download from the Apple App Store, and personalized Memoji characters. But iOS 17 is kicking things up a notch.

Among the many updates with iOS 17 as well as iPadOS 17 is the ability to easily add stickers to photos right from a new sticker drawer. You can lift subjects from photos the same way you could with iOS 16, but now you can also turn them into unique stickers. You can even add cool effects. The process is the same for both iPhones and compatible iPad models. Let’s take a look at everything you can do with Stickers, using screenshots from an iPhone 14 to demonstrate.

How to turn photos into stickers

Start off by trying the most basic new feature, which is turning your personal photos into shareable stickers.

  1. Open the Photos app.
  2. Select the photo you want to turn into a sticker.
  3. Long press the image until a menu pops up (the same way you would if you wanted to lift the subject out of a photo).
  4. Select Add Sticker.
  5. The sticker will now be added to your sticker drawer, where you can add an effect, delete, rearrange, send in Messages, and more.

How to turn photos into stickers in Messages

Start off by trying the most basic new feature, which is turning your own personal photos into shareable stickers.

  1. Open the Messages app on your device and start a new message or click into an existing conversation thread.
  2. Tap the “+” button to the left of the messaging window.
  3. Select Stickers.
  4. Tap the “+” sign to create a new sticker from one of the photos in your library. You can also use the menu at the top to filter by only Live Photos (required for animated stickers) and photos with people, animals, food, vehicles, or statues.
  5. Once a photo is selected, the object of the photo will automatically be detected. If it’s a Live Photo, it will animate automatically as well.
  6. Tap Add Sticker.
  7. You’ll now see the Sticker added to your list of custom Stickers, and you can select and send it in a Message at any time by pulling up the Sticker Drawer.

How to add effects to stickers

In addition to turning a photo into a shareable sticker, you can also add various effects to it. Press and hold the custom sticker you want to create an effect with until the menu pop-up appears, and select Add Effect.

From there, you can choose from Outline, Comic, Puffy (sort of like a 3D effect), or Shiny (like a holographic trading card). The latter two effects act as though the light is being reflected when you move the phone around. Note that if you choose an effect on a live animated photo, the photo will automatically revert to a static one. Once you have chosen your desired effect, select Done. If you don’t like how any of them look, simply go back to the original and tap Done.

How to remove or rearrange stickers

It’s easy to get excited once you figure out how to add stickers, and you go wild adding custom ones. Thankfully, there's an easy way to delete them. Conversely, if you find you use one custom sticker a lot more than others, you might want to rearrange it so it appears at the top of the list.

Pull up the sticker drawer while in an iMessage, long-press a sticker, and select Delete to remove it from your library. To re-order, select Rearrange. The stickers will shake just like icons on an iPhone home screen do when you long-press. Drag the stickers around until you get the order you like.

It’s worth noting that you can also go back to the stickers menu at any time to add a different effect to it, including reverting to the original. Just long-press on the sticker again.

How to download a Sticker pack

Did you know that Apple offers tons of premade stickers available for download? You don’t only have to make your own or use what comes loaded on the device. You can choose from a wide variety of them that are already made and available to you. Some are free, while others cost a small fee. But they're a great way to show off your personality and individuality.

  1. Open the Messages app and start a new blank message.
  2. Tap the “+” icon to the left of the empty message window.
  3. Tap More.
  4. Find and select Store (you may have to scroll down).
  5. This opens up the App Store, highlighting the page for stickers, including a “Stickers We Love” section where you’ll find some popular ones. Browse through these options until you find a pack you like, and tap Get, just like you would with a typical iPhone app.
  6. Once loaded, choose Open, and this new sticker pack will be available in your drawer.
  7. Alternatively, you can also follow steps 1 and 2, select Stickers, scroll to Edit, and select Get Sticker Apps on the App Store.

How to delete an entire sticker pack

Sticker packs can be downloaded from the App Store, but you might later decide you don’t like a set. Whatever the reason, it’s easy to delete a sticker pack. This is the same method that can also be used for deleting Memoji.

  1. Open the Messages app and start a new blank message.
  2. Tap the “+” icon to the left of the empty message window.
  3. Select Stickers.
  4. Scroll to the left across the top menu until you see Edit.
  5. There, you’ll see a list of all your sticker apps, including Fitness, Memoji, and others (including new ones you might have just downloaded using the instructions above).
  6. Tap Edit again in the top left corner.
  7. A red circle with a white line will appear beside each sticker pack. Tap the red circle for the pack you want to remove.
  8. Select Delete.
  9. You’ll be warned that deleting the app will also delete its data. Select Delete again. (Note that this does not remove an app itself if the Sticker is associated with one.)
  10. The Sticker pack is now deleted from your Sticker drawer.

How to make stickers from videos

One feature that isn’t talked about as much is that you can also create stickers from videos.

  1. While you’re watching a video from your library, pause it at the part where you want to create a sticker.
  2. Long press the subject of the photo.
  3. Select Add Sticker.
  4. The sticker will be added to your sticker library.

How to make stickers from existing emoji

What about existing emoji? They need love, too! As long as you’re using a supported app, it will work, blowing them up to a larger size, so you can use them as stickers. Here are the instructions using the Messages app (it will work the same way in other supported apps).

  1. Open the Messages app (or other supported app).
  2. Open your existing conversation thread or start a new one.
  3. Tap the Emoji button in the bottom left.
  4. Find the expressive emoji you want to use, hold your finger on it, then drag it to the message window.
  5. It may take a moment, but it will pop up in a larger size than usual in the message window.
  6. Tap Send to send it (or simply save it in whatever app you’re using).

Note that you could also drag the emoji to an existing message to stick it on it.

What about Memoji?

Stickers are great, but we can’t forget about Memoji! We can make these adorable virtual avatars ourselves, customized to look just like us. Memoji aren’t passé just yet. These received updates in iOS and iPadOS 17 as well.

There are three new Memoji poses. You can show yourself with a halo, peeking through fingers, or smirking. To select a Memoji, open an iMessage, tap the “+” sign, select Stickers, then select the Memoji icon. Scroll down, and you’ll see the three new options among the many existing ones.

Where else can you use stickers?

Keep in mind that stickers aren’t just for sharing in Messages, though that’s likely how they are most often shared. But you can use them anywhere images are supported, like in the Notes app. If the stickers are supported, but animations are not, you’ll see static images instead.

Keep in mind that not all stickers will look perfect. Sometimes, edges will be blurred, and photos will be cropped awkwardly. Nonetheless, it’s a fun new feature that lets you personalize the emoji you add to messages, making them truly your own. Make one of yourself or one of your pets!

Want to share these sticker creations beyond Messages and Notes? A clever trick is to go to the emoji panel on the keyboard. Tap on the recently used emoji button (the clock icon). You may have to tap a second time to call up the sticker drawer. From there, you can select a sticker, and it will be shared as a regular image if the sticker format is unsupported.