6 Cool Tumblr Labs Features That You Need to Try Out Today

Ever wondered what that 'Labs’ thingy hidden deep away within your Tumblr dashboard is all about? Or were you perhaps too scared to go ahead and turn it on all along? Well, that whole bit about Labs being ‘experimental’ doesn’t exactly instill confidence, right?

So, what is Tumblr Labs? It's actually a setting launched way back in 2016 and consists of around a dozen relatively untested features scattered across both desktop and mobile. Hence the term 'Labs' as you never know whether they would actually work without messing things up.

Cool Tumblr Labs Features

However, don't expect Tumblr to get these features out of their beta-phases anytime soon — some of them have been there since the inception of Labs. So if you were holding out all this time, then you really are missing out on a bunch of cool stuff.

Generally speaking, these features aren’t all that unstable. And should things go wrong, you can easily disable the feature that's causing issues. So if you’re willing to take some risk, let’s look into a few Tumblr Labs features that are simply phenomenal in terms of the functionality that they offer.

Note: To enable Tumblr Labs features on desktop, simply head over to the Settings screen via the dashboard, and then click Labs. On the Android and iOS mobile apps, tap the Settings icon, tap General Settings, and then tap Labs.

1. Emojify

Emojis are so entwined with our lives that it’s almost impossible to think of life without them. And that’s where the Emojify feature within Tumblr Labs comes into the picture.

Just flick it on and get to your dashboard, and voila! Expect to see random words replaced by emoticons on posts throughout. Super cool, right?

Cool Tumblr Labs 1

Also, it’s a fun way to decipher certain emojis that you’ve never seen by comparing them to other words within a post! Certainly one of the best Labs features available to spice things up on your dashboard, so don’t forget to check it out.

Of course, you may want to turn Emojify off when it comes to some serious reading time.

Availability: Desktop, Android, and iOS.

2. Reblog Graphs

Up next — Reblog Graphs. Obviously, you know that the entire Tumblr blogosphere is fueled by reblogs, right? Which means that people never really run out of things to blog about. Actually, certain posts get reblogged hundreds — if not thousands — of times!

But if you keep wondering how a certain reblogged post ended up on your dashboard, just enable Reblog Graphs and click on that fresh new icon that appears under a post to check out the entire reblog trail in visual format.

Cool Tumblr Labs 2

Expect to zoom in at multiple different levels, click on nodes to check out usernames, etc. Some graphs are simply massive, and the way that Tumblr renders the whole reblog network is nothing short of amazing.

Not to mention the fact that you can find some really cool blogs this way as well.

Availability: Desktop only.

3. Themed Posts

Finding the posts on your dashboard too drab to look at? Then it’s definitely time to switch on Themed Posts, which frames all posts in the colors of the theme that they were originally blogged on. So, expect an array of colors to dazzle your eyes.

Cool Tumblr Labs 3

And even better, you have an additional option that lets you colorize replies on the reblog trail as well. It’s crazy!

Cool Tumblr Labs 4

Not a terribly useful feature, but definitely something that brings a whole new perspective to your dashboard.

Availability: Desktop only.

4. AOL Instant Messenger

Tumblr’s instant messaging feature is a load of fun when it comes to chatting with others, but the same old chat pane does get boring after a while. So why not change it to something classic?

Turn on AOL Instant Messenger, and you should find the entire messaging window replaced by the AIM chat pane from the past. Not to mention the nostalgia that is simply overwhelming.

Cool Tumblr Labs 5

Understandably, Tumblr’s mobile app doesn’t provide the feature, but it still lets you switch to using the messaging sounds from the classic AOL Instant Messenger. Nice!

Availability: Desktop, Android, and iOS.

5. Doodle Posts

Running out of ideas to blog about, or finding reblogs just plain boring? Why not draw something instead? With Doodle Posts, that’s more than possible — but only on Android, sadly.

Cool Tumblr Labs 6

After turning on Doodle Posts, you should see a new post type labeled Doodle. Just tap it, and you should have a few uncomplicated drawing tools to scribble around with your finger.

Cool Tumblr Labs 7

If your device supports a stylus, you can even create some terrific-looking pieces of art. And if you are wondering, your posts are visible even for those who don't have the feature enabled.

Definitely a breath of fresh air if you ever get tired of the default post formats.

Availability: Android only.

6. Tap to Play GIFs

And finally, a feature that doesn’t do anything crazy, and might as well be about pure usefulness. If you hate being continually distracted by GIFs, then you absolutely must turn on Tap to Play GIFs on your mobile. 

All GIFs are now automatically paused, and you should also be able to move around much faster thanks to the app's reduced workload.

Cool Tumblr Labs 8

And if you want to check out a GIF in action, just tap it.

Cool Tumblr Labs 9

The Tumblr app's Data-Saving Mode also provides similar functionality, but only when using cellular data. Expect Tap to Play GIFs to work even on Wi-Fi, no questions asked.

Availability: Android only.

So, What Did You Enable?

That isn’t all. Tumblr Labs also has a handful of other features as well, so do try them all out — serious Tumblr bloggers should definitely take a peek at Queue 2.0 and Inside Tumblrs.

But for obvious reasons, it would be foolish to expect these features to work normally all the time. Some weird bugs and glitches can crop up once every while, and should that happen, just turn the feature off temporarily and you should be good.

So, what's your favorite out of the lot? The comments section is right below.

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Dilum Senevirathne has written about tech and finance for over five years. When he isn’t messing around with the latest iOS apps, you can catch him tweaking a collection of IoT gadgets. Dilum is a management accounting student and a prospective charterholder.