How to Customize Your iMessage Icon with a Picture, Animoji, Memoji, or Initials (Updated for iOS 14)

Have you ever gotten an iMessage on your iPhone and wondered how your friend got such a cool contact icon? Here's how to customize your iMessage icon with a photo, initials, Memoji, or Animoji.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Customize your contact icon in the Messages app, and you’ll be able to share any picture on your iPhone, including a Memoji, Animoji, or emoji or initials with a custom color with anyone you message. You can also edit your iMessage profile picture and name. Once it’s set, you can choose whether to make your profile name and image visible to everyone in your contacts list or only to select contacts. Let’s get started.

Related: How to Hide Text Messages on iPhone by Hiding iMessages or Using Secret Texting Apps

How to Create & Edit a Custom Contact Icon on Your iPhone

If you've been wondering how to create a custom profile picture for the contact card on your iPhone, we'll show you how. We'll also go over how to edit your contact icon if you want to update your picture, Memoji, Animoji, or initials. We've already gone over how to create a Facebook profile video, and how to take the best selfie with your iPhone. For more great tutorials on how to navigate your iPhone, check out our free Tip of the Day

How to Create A New Contact Icon in iMessages on Your iPhone & iPad

If you’ve never set up a Messages profile before, it’s super easy! If you’ve set up your photo and name but want to change it, skip down to How to Edit Your Contact Icon in iMessages on Your iPhone & iPad.

  1. Open the Messages app.

  2. Tap the three dots in the top right of the screen (the "more options" icon).

    iphone messages apptap the three dots icon

  3. Tap Choose Name and Photo in the pop-up.

  4. Tap the Memoji, Photo, Initials, or More Options icon, then tap Continue.

    tap choose name and phototap an option, then tap continue

  5. Now you have lots of options! Tap one of the photos, sets of initials, Memojis, or icons on screen to select it, or tap the camera, photo, smiley face, or pencil icon to take a new photo or choose a picture in your Camera Roll, select an emoji, or change your initials. You can also tap See More next to Memoji to find even more Memoji choices.

  6. Once you've chosen your icon, you can tap Edit if you want to adjust a photo filter and more before saving it.

    choose a new messages icon from the optionstap edit if you want to edit your icon

  7. Tap to select your filter, Memoji pose, background color, or initials, then tap Done or Continue.

  8. Tap Use if you want this icon used for your Apple ID and your card in Contacts.

    tap the filter you want, then tap continuetap use to use your new icon for your apple id and contact card

  9. Enter the name you want to display, and whether or not you want to share your name and icon with Contacts Only or have the option to share each time, with Always Ask, then tap Done.

    choose sharing options and tap done

You've set up your Messages profile! Now you can present your personal brand with style. 

How to Edit Your Contact Icon in iMessages on Your iPhone & iPad

You can always update your contact icon later, and change your contact card to a different picture, a Memoji, an Animoji, or your initials. 

  1. If you want to Edit your Messages profile, then as you did the first time, open the Messages app and click the More Options icon, which is three dots in the top right corner of the screen, then select Edit Name and Photo again.

  2. This time you'll see your whole profile on one screen, including all the decisions you made during the initial setup. Tap your name to type in a new one or edit it. To change your photo, tap Edit.

  3. Tap the camera icon to take a new photo, the photos icon to choose a picture already stored in your iPhone, the smiley face icon to choose an emoji, or the pencil icon to use your initials. Choose a Memoji or Animoji in the sections below, or an emoji with a custom color background from the options at the bottom.

    edit your contact cardchoose animoji for contact card

  4. Once you've made your changes, tap Done to finish.

    tap done when you've updated your profile icon

And there you go! Now you know how to set up and update your profile on the Messages!

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Author Details

Cullen Thomas's picture

Author Details

Cullen Thomas

Cullen Thomas is a senior instructor at iPhone Life, creating tips and guides to help users unlock the full potential of their iOS and iPhone. In addition to writing countless tip-of-the-day articles and many detailed guides, Cullen has spent ten years as an instructor in media and communications at Maharishi University, lecturing on technical and artistic subjects ranging from camera and audio hardware to story-plotting to how to manage a film crew. Cullen answers questions daily about iPhones and iOS as part of the Ask an Editor insider service, and designs curricula for iPhone Life’s online classes. As a frequent contributor to iPhone Life magazine and occasional guest on the iPhone Life podcast, Cullen likes to talk about security and privacy news, tech, gadgets, and apps, even if nobody asked.

Cullen holds a master’s degree in Cinematic Arts from the David Lynch School of Cinematic Arts. Cullen also holds two Bachelor’s degrees from Maharishi University, one in literature with an emphasis in writing and the other in Communications and Media. Cullen’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies from Amphibian Press and TANSTAAFL, and Cullen co-owns a game design company, Thoughtspike games, which builds thought-provoking puzzle games. Cullen is a sci-fi author, a coffee connoisseur, and an iPhone expert.