The time of Instagram Threads at the top of the App Store is over, thanks to an AI photo editing app called Remini which is currently viral on TikTok. First launched in 2019, the app adds last year’s generative AI feature that TikTok users recently discovered allowing them to create professional headshots for sites like LinkedIn simply by uploading their own selfies.
In the one video by TikTok user @Gracesplace, for example, the creator showed off how she’s sent selfies to create some professional-looking headshots showing her in a variety of outfits and poses. The video has exploded on TikTok, now reaching 42.9 million views.
While others have copied his experience, demand for AI photo apps has seen him soar to the No. 1 spot. 1 Overall in the US App Store on July 11, overtaking Instagram Threads just days after popular new Twitter competitor Meta launched, according to data from app analytics firm Apptopia. Over the last 30 days, Remini has seen 22+ million downloads worldwide. As of yesterday, the company estimates the app sees more than 20 million daily active users.
On the US App Store, Remini has a 4.6-star rating from 124,000 reviews.
To create AI headshots, users must first select 8 to 12 photos of themselves, including close-up selfies featuring various backgrounds, expressions, and facial angles, then select their gender. You will choose a “model” image that represents the overall style and composition of the photo you want to produce. To achieve professional shots, there are a number of options available under the “curriculum” subtitle, but other styles are available, such as “trendy”, “traveling”, “casual” and the questionable “Korean aesthetic”.
It will take the AI a few minutes to come up with the shot. When you’re done, you can swipe left and right while you view the results — similar to the way you might like or dislike your possible match on Tinder.
The process is reminiscent of another AI photo app that also went viral on TikTok last year: AI Lens, which uses your own photo to create a “magic avatar” — or artistic rendering of a user’s image. However, the app has raised concerns with artists saying the app uses their artwork as its training data. Additionally, users find that they can generate NSFW images with AI.
Similar to AI Lenses, the Remini app is also free to download but to use its full features requires a subscription. Currently, the price is $9.99/week or $79.99 per year. (Possibly, some users have overcome the payment terms by starting a free trial, generating their AI image, then canceling their subscription.)
When the Remini headshots trend exploded on TikTok, some users weren’t happy with the app’s AI results. Many people find the app makes unwanted adjustments to their body in the resulting photos. For example, some women commented that the app made them thinner while others noted that it greatly increased their bust size or cleavage.
“All I wanted was some connected head shots [sic],” the TikToker wrote @juliak528 in the video. “Why did AI give me a boob job,” reads the video’s description, followed by a crying emoji.
“No one is talking about how dangerous this AI trend is for your mental health and body dysmorphia [sic]said the TikToker @spookyhorrorqueencommented on how the AI returned photos showing different body sizes.
“The viral AI headshot filter makes me about 105lbs and it’s just… it’s bad,” added another creator, @northstarnotesafter the photo AI made his body smaller.
However, others say they use their AI “skinny” photos as weight loss motivation.
Mian-based Remini didn’t immediately comment on whether it worked to address the AI-generated glitch. (We will update if the company responds).
There are other problems with this app too a number of user I think the results of AI are good enough that it makes no sense to pay photographers for professional photos — something that demonstrates the broader implications of accessible AI technology.
According to the Remini website, the generative AI photo of yourself isn’t the app’s only selling point. This app can also be used to restore old photos by adding details, enhancing facial features, enhancing photo colors and tones, enhancing backgrounds and much more. On the App Store, Remini is also promoting the option to apply Official Barbie filters to your selfies, to turn your photos into photos inspired by the new Barbie movie.