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By Dan Moren

Stop Safari from animating GIFs

Regardless of whether you pronounce it with a hard or soft ‘g’, it turns out that not everybody loves GIFs. After my Wish List item on the subject yesterday, reader Bruce wrote in to say that he finds the animations distracting:

What I wish for is to be able to right click on a [GIF] and stop the animation. Better yet, a preference in IOS and OS X that turns [GIF] animation off by default.

I realize GIFs aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, so they should be used sparingly. 1 But it is annoying that there’s no way to stop GIFs from animating, especially when loading a bunch of them on a single page can really grind your browser to a halt.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to disable GIFs in Safari (or Chrome), as Bruce requested, but I found a few ways to make it happen. The easiest is a Safari extension called Deanimator, which is a bit on the old side but seems to still work.

The second solution I saw mentioned was to use an extension like User CSS to create a custom rule that blocks animations. (This has the virtue of being a solution you can deploy in Chrome as well.) It’s a little less elegant, though: Deanimator will still display a static image, but the CSS hack removes the image altogether.

Unfortunately, Safari’s lack of plugins on iOS makes this way more challenging—as things currently stand, there’s no easy way to block animated images on your iPhone or iPad. It probably means we’ll have to wait until Apple decides to address the issue on its mobile platform. Hopefully before animated GIFs send us all spinning into madness.

  1. But the GIFs in that story were awesome so I REGRET NOTHING.  ↩

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]