Photo Editing Apps that Are Collecting & Tracking Your Data
Editing your photos seems safe and innocent enough. But did you know that around 40% of apps, most of which are photo editing and filter software, collect users’ data? Besides, you never know whether those apps are going to abuse that data. In this article, we’ll tell you more about photo editing apps collecting and tracking data, their alternatives, as well as privacy tools to help you avoid data leaks.
Types of collected data
User data is a broad term. So let’s break it down a little. As a rule, the collected data is divided into these categories:
- Personal data — information that identifies a person, like their first & last name, address, and phone number
- Social media data — publicly available information on social media
- Contact info – phone number(s)
- Financial info – credit/debit card data
- Camera and photos – Access to camera and photo gallery
- Usage data – information on how a user interacts with an app, including the number of times they use it
- Location info – user’s geolocation
- User content – all content generated while using the app
Note: Before installing any photo editing app, check out its rating. In case the app has a low rating with lots of negative reviews, you should think twice before downloading it.
List of dangerous photo editing apps collecting and tracking data
The Internet is swarming with apps. Want to see how you would look twenty years from now? There are apps for that. Want to remove a pimple or two? There are even more apps to do the job. The thing is that many of them aren’t safe. Let’s see what are the main types of photo editing apps that track your data.
Aging, beautifying, and body-editing apps are among apps that are actively collecting and tracking data. Let’s go over three popular apps for each category available on the App Store or Google Play.
1. Aging apps
They help users see how they’ll look even a couple of decades from on. Some apps can also show your younger version. These are the most popular aging apps:
- Oldify (12 million+ downloads). It makes your face look older thanks to certain camera settings that turn your device into a fast-aging machine. You can open the camera, move it to your face, and easily swap your current self for an older one. The app lets you turn your face from young to aged, and from aged to very aged.
- Aging Booth (10 million+ downloads). You can have real fun while using this tracking data photo editing app. It works especially great for Android users. Aging Booth is an intuitive face-aging machine that helps you instantly age face photos. You can change your friends’ & family members’ pictures as well and post them on any social media network.
- Age Recognition App. How old am I? Age from Photo (500,000+ downloads). This one helps users find out their age by photo. All you need to do is to upload any snap and the app will provide you with the approximate age of a person in the shot. Besides, it allows you to recognize various characteristics such as status, feeling, etc.
2. Beautifying apps
Those make your face near-perfect. In fact, they can do a lot: define your cheekbones, necklines, well-chiseled nose, make skin clearer, get rid of freckles, and so on. They can also change your eye color, whiten your teeth, and make hair shiny. The most commonly used beautifying apps are these:
- Beauty Plus (100 million+ downloads). The app helps you get ideal pictures and edit selfies with a powerful built-in photo editor. BeautyPlus gets rid of acne, pimples or blemishes, makes your skin smooth and shiny, brightens eyes, whiten teeth, slim your face, and reshape the body. What’s more, it can apply makeup, remove unwanted objects, and add a blur effect to the background. The app has various filters, effects, and stickers to help you enhance your shots.
- Facetune (50 million+ downloads). Facetune is an intuitive private photo app. The in-built photo editor helps you easily beautify digital photos. As such, users can achieve natural-looking results and make advanced edits.
- Makeup Plus (50 million+ downloads). MakeupPlus allows you to apply full virtual makeup, edit lipstick, eyelashes, eyebrows, hair color, freckles, and add glitter. It comes in handy for those who want to find a perfect look using a phone camera.
3. Body-editing apps
These beasts help you virtually improve your body by applying various shapes from the library. You can refine your waistline and accentuate your curves. What’s more, the app can make you look taller or slimmer as well as change the length of your legs. Here are the most popular apps:
- Face & Body Editor: Perfect Me (10 million+ downloads). This photo editor helps you retouch your body shape and face with ease. It supports skin editing, pimples & blemishes removal, face slimming, etc. You can apply facial filters, use stickers and multiple other options to make your pictures look great. For instance, you can make your waist smaller to create a wow effect when editing portraits.
- Body Editor – Body Shape Editor, Slim Face & Body (10 million+ downloads). Due to a wide range of body editing tools, you can experiment with your body shape and face. It allows you to reach natural results using breast and hip enlargement options, increasing height and making the waist smaller. Besides, it offers extra effects, including six-pack abs, chest, muscles, and tattoo stickers.
- Manly – Best Body Editor (500,000+ downloads). The app works great for the male audience. It has a wide collection of muscles, tattoos, beards and hairstyles, contact lenses, accessories, and filters. You can easily retouch pictures to make your body look perfect.
Although natural beauty is luckily taking hold, the apps above are still in demand. Which doesn’t look good for your data. Are there any safer alternatives? Sure thing!
Alternative secure photo editing apps: Top choice from experts
If you want to edit your pictures with a good app and also protect your data, take a look at this list of secure alternatives. They have all the handy tools as well as advanced and unique features.
1. Adobe Lightroom
- Available for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, and tvOS
A part of a well-known Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Adobe Lightroom is an advanced and powerful photo editing app. Due to the wide range of options, Adobe Lightroom is one of the best apps for editing pictures. Besides, you can use the app for free since even basic tools help you enhance pictures in the best possible way. The free version helps you retouch, crop, and beautify photos. You can apply various effects, change colors by using a slider on the color adjustment tab, adjust the perspective, and apply various effects.
- Available for Android and iOS
Can’t get the wrong people out of your pictures? TouchRetouch can help with that. It is an intuitive app that helps you remove unwanted objects from pictures. The app is fast and straightforward. You can get rid of elements by just tapping a screen. Due to various options, you can make different edits, from removing imperfections in portrait shots to deleting power lines. What’s more, the app doesn’t require high accuracy. It’s enough to mark the desired area, and the app will remove the unwanted elements just like that. More importantly, the developers take users’ security seriously and collect user info that’s only required to run the app.
3. Adobe Photoshop Express
- Available on Android, iOS, and Windows
This one is great for on-the-go photo editing. Adobe Photoshop Express has plenty of built-in photo effects, image filters, and editing tools. The app is similar to the PC version of Photoshop CC. It’s also fully optimized for Android and iOS devices. The software integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud, and this allows you to automatically upload images to the Cloud. With this app, you can instantly share processed photos to messengers and social media. Like Adobe Lightroom, the app is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite. So, it synchronizes well with all of the developer’s software.
How to avoid data collection when using photo editing apps
Finally, is it possible to avoid data collection and tracking at all when using photo editing apps? Probably not. However, you can minimize it. Just follow these tips to do so:
1. Use privacy tools to fight data theft
Navigating online privacy can be a minefield. But a virtual private network (VPN) can help you (read your data) survive. A VPN is a software that creates a secure, encrypted connection between two networks, or between an individual user and a network. It changes your real IP address and encrypts all of your traffic. This way, you can surf the web while maintaining your privacy.
The only requirement is that you need a reliable VPN to do the job. And VeePN is one such service with 2500+ VPN servers in 89 locations across 60 countries. An extensive server network and a variety of modern VPN protocols give you a smooth connection. Whereas AES-256 encryption (the strongest one to date) protects your data from third parties. It’ll seem gibberish to any snoop that can try to, well, snoop on your personal information.
2. Download reputable apps from official sources
Moving on, when using any tracking data photo editing app, you should download apps from reliable resources, such as Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or the developers’ website. Check the following information, as well:
- User reviews. Pay attention to both bad and good reviews. In case you see too many positive reviews and high rates, it might indicate that the developer used bots to increase the rating.
- The app developer. Make sure the app developer is legitimate. Some apps have similar names so it’s easy to mistakenly download the wrong one. To make the right choice, check the developer’s name before downloading an app.
- App release date. You should check the release and updates date to make sure the app is still in development. As a rule, the longer an app is on the platform, the more stable and reliable it is. Even though it doesn’t relate to all cases, it’s worth checking out.
3. Keep software updated
Finally, always keep all of your apps updated. As a rule, developers launch updates because of bugs and issues they found in the app based on feedback and testing. So, if you want to use the better version of the app, keep an eye on the latest updates.
After all, editing your photos doesn’t have to come at the expense of data protection. To maximize the privacy of your personal information, think about switching to safer alternatives to popular photo editing apps. Also, don’t forget about cyberhygiene — use a VPN, check all your downloads, and keep an eye out while online.