(Pocket-lint) - Many users across Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are all changing their profile pictures to cartoon-like artsy portraits of themselves. That's because a new app - officially called "NewProfilePic Picture Editor" - is trending on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store charts for making it incredibly easy to transform your selfies into art.
Here is everything you need to know about the New Profile Pic image editing app, including whether experts think the app is safe for you to use.
What is New Profile Pic app?
New Profile Pic shot to the top of mobile app charts in May 2022 with hundreds of thousands of downloads.
People everywhere are sharing on social media their photos that they've edited with New Profile Pic. The app uses artificial intelligence to easily and quickly create profile pics that look as if they had been painted. But just as quickly as it exploded in popularity, rumours began to circulate on the internet about the app being connected to Russia or the Kremlin somehow.
How does New Profile Pic app work?
It's easy. First, download the app on your iPhone or Android phone.
- NewProfilePic Picture Editor on the Apple App Store
- NewProfilePic: Profile Picture on Google Play Store
Step 1: Grant Permissions
Open New Profile Pic and grant the usual permissions.
It will ask for permission to track your activity across the web in order to deliver personalised ads. But you can request that the app not track you. It also asks for permission to send notifications, and later, for permission to access your photos. It claims that all the photos you edit in the app are anonymously uploaded to its servers for processing.
You can allow access to select photos in your library or all your photos.
Step 2: Choose a photo
Once you got permissions all sorted, the main screen of the app will open and ask you to choose a photo. You can take a photo with your device camera or select one from your camera roll and recents. If you don't want to use your own photos, there is an option for celebs. Under there, you can search a celebrity's name to find a photo of them to edit in New Profile Pic.
Step 3: Apply an art style
Anyway, after you have taken or selected your photo, New Profile Pic will offer you a choice of four art styles. Under the first style, there are three additional aesthetics to try. You'll also find additional options under the second style and fourth style. Pro tip: Tap all the styles right in a row quickly to get them processing, then when they're finished you can flick between them all. It takes a few seconds for styles to process and apply to your photo. The first style is our favourite. It transforms your photo into a hyper-realistic painted portrait .
All but the second style supports images with multiple people. The second one can only be used on selfies with one person.
Note: The Photo Lab option you see just points you to another app from the developer to try.
Step 4: Save and share
So, you're finished with your photo and you want to save it and share it. Simply tap the green save and share button at the bottom of the screen! That will give you the opportunity to save it locally to your device or send to Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat, and other apps installed on your device.
Is New Profile Pic app free to use?
Yes. It is free to use New Profile Pic app. At the moment, there appear to be no paywalled features or subscription tiers. There are ads, however. They pop up between style selections.
Can you remove the watermark?
There doesn't seem to be a way to remove watermarks on processed photos within New Profile Pic app itself, but you can always re-size/crop the photo on your device afterward to get rid of the watermark before you share it.
Is New Profile Pic app safe?
The rumour about New Profile Pic being connected to Russia or the Kremlin is based on screenshots shared on Facebook that allegedly showed the app's website (newprofilepic.com) registered in Moscow. Snopes did a deep dive into the app and noticed New Profile Pic was created by Informe Laboratories and copyrighted by Linerock Investments. According to their app store listings in Google Play Store and Apple App Store, the developer's location is listed as Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
But a Linerock Investments spokesperson has already confirmed to the media that the app's website domain was once registered in Moscow. That's because the company's founder had lived in the country. However, the person has since moved, so the company has now changed the address of the domain registration "to avoid any confusion".
Setting aside any Russia-related concerns, experts are warning that New Profile Pic app collects large amounts of personal data, according to The Independent. Pocket-lint downloaded the app to look at its app permissions. As of 12 May 2022, the permission requests we saw were very much in line with what other popular apps (such as TikTok and Instagram) ask.