Is Voilá a safe app to use?

Anton P. | June 30, 2021

Voilà AI Artist is the latest thing to become a roaring success. It is a photo manipulation app transforming users into animated characters. Thus, Voilà is responsible for the recent influx of social media videos showing people’s makeovers. If you have always wanted to see yourself as a cartoon character, Voilà will surely capture your attention. However, besides constructing playful versions of your face, it might not be the kindest when it comes to your data. After all, the AI-driven Voilà is one of the face-altering apps that have been treated with caution. Thus, let’s put it to the test and see whether you should try the entertaining Disney-style aesthetic.

What is the Voilà AI Artist app?

Voilà Al Artist app uses AI to turn photos into Renaissance-inspired works of art or Pixar-style cartoons. It quickly attracted a massive fan base, with thousands posting their transformations online. Thus, people with an appetite for face-changing apps joined the fun without ever reading the terms they agreed to automatically.

Voilà is available for iOS and Android devices. It operates as a freemium service, offering the ad-supported version at no cost. It has four main modes: 3D or the Pixar cartoon, Renaissance painting, 2D cartoon, and caricature. You can tweak them a bit, such as selecting a specific century for your Renaissance painting.

However, Voilà AI Artist is not necessarily a sophisticated app. Besides its main cartoonification feature, its offerings are minimal. For instance, you cannot adjust the brightness or contrast of the image you want to transform. Additionally, the reviews suggest that the technology behind it struggles to recognize eyes, especially those of specific ethnicities.

Safety of face manipulation apps

As far as the cautionary tales go, not all apps are magical enough to give you a phenomenal experience. In some cases, users notice annoying features, hidden fees, or difficulties in canceling their subscriptions.

In regards to privacy, face-editing and AI-driven tools do not have the best reputation. More frequently than not, users might unexpectedly hear rumors of photos traveling to the cloud. Another scenario is that the app creators retain the right to use the uploaded images. Several red flags we have seen include the following:

  • An app can access all images in your gallery, not only the ones you upload voluntarily.
  • Whether the app shares your information (including generated images) with third parties.
  • If the app stores the photos in the cloud.
  • Whether the app properly secures your biometric data and does not misuse it.

Thus, any face-changing app you consider should not show signs of these questionable behaviors.

Privacy and security you get with Voilà

We present you with three main factors explaining how Voilà deals with its users’ data.

  • Photos. To play around with Voilà’s features, you will need to give it access to your smartphone’s gallery. According to the privacy policy, the uploaded images get deleted after 24 to 48 hours. However, there is no way of knowing whether the promised photo removal actually happens. The app will likely receive metadata attached to your photo, such as the location in which you took it. In general, Voilà claims that it does not access its users’ albums even if they supply them. Furthermore, it pledges to use the generated facial characteristics solely to transform that photo, nothing else.
  • Personal details. Free Voilà users will see many ads, likely after each photo upload. In fact, it should come as no surprise that the app will use all the generated data for advertising purposes. These details might include your phone number, language, gender, IP address, and profile information. Voilà states that all this data helps them supply language and location-based personalization. Overall, the owners claim never to break the promises made in their privacy policy.
  • Activity data. Voilà will get access to your IP address, browser details, and what pages of its service you visit and when. It will also know how long you use the app. This generated usage data also delivers colorful insights for advertisers. Thus, you can expect Voilà to share it with its partners.

Ad-supported version or a subscription?

Voilà seems like an app that could require a one-time payment for unlimited access to its features. Surprisingly, it is a subscription-based service, and a weekly premium plan costs approximately $2 (Android) or $3 (iOS). You can also go for a monthly subscription, costing about $6. For the most dedicated users, a yearly plan will charge you $29.99.

There are three main reasons why people might purchase Voilà premium:

  • To get rid of the in-app ads.
  • To upload and process photos faster.
  • To remove the watermark.

Choosing between the free version and the premium depends on your preferences. The chances are that you won’t use the app daily, especially after the initial hype passes. Additionally, many apps offer similar features without requiring any payment. For instance, ToonMe is one of the options that made its debut in January 2021. It works on a similar principle and might be a substitute for Voilà.

Whether the Voilà premium plans are worthwhile will also depend on its future. If the owners continue pushing new features, it might be something to consider. In its current state, the app might turn repetitive over time.

Should you try Voilà?

There are no significant red flags that prove Voilà to partake in any shady behavior or data sharing. In fact, many of its practices are relatively commonplace in the context of other apps. However, you should feel comfortable with a face-changing app, be it Voilà or a different one. Thus, always read the available terms of use and privacy policy documents. They will reveal the boundaries of which the apps cannot cross. After all, you should be comfortable “giving your face to an app.”

If the Voilà features seem appealing to you, we recommend sticking with the free version. As for premium, let’s hope that the app will regularly introduce something new to make the subscription worth it.

If you feel uncomfortable with the data collection practices mentioned, there is a way to avoid them. A VPN is one of the solutions capable of masking your IP address. Thus, Voilà (and other apps) won’t be able to estimate your location accurately. Furthermore, a VPN will encrypt your internet traffic, meaning trackers won’t gather as much information on your web activities.

Anton P.

Anton P.

Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.

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