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Is Lensa safe? Protect your privacy and know the risks

It seems like at least a dozen new AI and AI-powered apps pop up every day. While Lensa AI, a photo enhancement app, isn’t completely new, it recently released an AI-powered feature called Magic Avatars. To say that it caught on would be an understatement. But as the app’s popularity continues to grow, security researchers claim Lensa AI isn’t as safe as the company would like you to think. Here’s everything you should know about Lensa AI, its parent company, Prisma Labs, and ways to protect your privacy.

Is Lensa safe? Protect your privacy and know the risks

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is Lensa?

The Lensa app is a subscription-based photo-editing app powered by AI. You can use it to change the style of your selfie completely or make specific adjustments, such as removing unwanted objects. And the results are astonishing. Due to an advanced, AI-powered text-to-image generator, Stable Diffusion, Lensa AI can produce results much faster than you could manually.

The app was released in 2016 by Prisma Labs, a US-based company. But its popularity exploded only after it introduced its “Magic avatars” feature in 2022. With this increase in notoriety, the app’s content privacy received much more scrutiny — with some shocking revelations.

How does Lensa AI work?

Lensa AI is a photo editor and AI portrait app. You upload a picture, and it allows you to make edits, such as cropping or adjusting brightness. Sounds like something that your smartphone can already handle? Well, this is not where Lensa’s features end yet.

The app uses a deep learning image generation model, Stable Diffusion, to make automatic adjustments based on machine learning algorithms or give you the ability to make easy edits, such as removing an unwanted object in a click. Moreover, you can edit photos in batches on macOS.

The “Magic avatars” feature, which helped the app reach 20 million downloads in December 2022, is the real star of the show. To use it, you just have to upload ten or twenty selfies. The AI then analyzes your face and generates dozens of avatars in a variety of styles.

Is the Lensa app safe to use?

In most cases, the Lensa AI app is safe to use. But there’s a big, big “but” concerning data privacy while using such apps.

Unlike dozens of new AI apps that popped up after ChatGPT became a hit in 2023, Lensa is not a new company. For several years, it was just an app that changed the style of your selfie to a 15th-century art piece, for example. The company’s privacy policy claims that everything you upload gets deleted in 24 hours, which seems to have helped the company escape controversy.

But everything changed when Lensa AI started implementing deep learning to enhance people’s selfies automatically. Some users claimed that the app turned their photos into nude selfies, while others raised concerns about Lensa stealing from artists or the app’s data collection.

So is the Lensa app safe? It depends on how much you want to avoid inappropriate content. But it is definitely not safe to use to edit children’s pictures. Even if you end up using Lensa AI, remember that risks always exist, and you should be cautious with what you upload.

What are the risks of using Lensa?

Just like we mentioned in the previous part, many people have privacy concerns over the company’s data collection and inappropriate content.

Data collection

Lensa AI says it will delete your photos in 24 hours. But to use the app, you need to enable your camera, microphone, and location and give it access to your contacts and social media accounts. So it seems that while it may be deleting some data, it is collecting much more.

In fact, a 2023 lawsuit against Lensa AI’s parent company, Prima Labs, alleges that the app unlawfully harvested people’s biometric data.

Data breaches

Any app or company, especially if it collects as much data as Prisma Labs, is subject to cyberattacks and data breaches. As such, even Lensa AI developers admit that they can’t guarantee 100% data protection against hackers despite using high-level security measures.

Inappropriate and harmful content

If you’re using the Lensa app, be aware that you’re likely to see some over-sexualized content, including nudity, as well as inappropriate and borderline racist photo adjustments, such as skin lightening. Unfortunately, that’s just half of the problem relating to inappropriate content.

Some people also claim that the app’s lackluster security allows other people, such as ex-boyfriends, to use Lensa AI to modify photos of their ex-girlfriends and partners, and then share those pictures without the person’s consent.

How to protect yourself while using Lensa?

The fascination with everything that AI can do now is understandable. But it’s important to stay aware of the dangers associated with giving your data to these new, edgy companies. Here are some steps to help you maintain a level of privacy, even if you decide to use Lensa AI.

Read the privacy policy

Every company has to detail how it manages data privacy. Don’t worry — you don’t need to read the app’s entire privacy policy. Give the introduction a glance, check the information the company collects, and make sure you understand whether the company shares your data with third parties.

In Lensa AI’s case, you’ll find that:

  • The company has an email You can contact their support team if you have any questions.
  • The “Data retention” part says the company can also keep your photos and data for longer. This means that Lensa doesn’t delete photos after 24 hours, and they can be exposed in a data breach.
  • Lensa is not appropriate for children under 13. But given what we already know, it should be avoided by anyone underage.

Also, make sure to carefully read the part “Your right in relation to your personal data,” where Lensa lists your rights in terms of data collection.

Limit permissions

As mentioned, Lensa AI’s permission requests go further than what you would reasonably expect. The good news is that you can refuse some of them and still use the app. For example, the app should work perfectly well without you granting it access to your microphone, contacts, or location.

Use two-factor authentication

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). It’s a small but significant security measure protecting your Lensa account. A password can always be guessed or stolen, but with 2FA, it wouldn’t be enough to get into your account. Instead, you need something else, such as physical access to your device. Even if a scammer halfway around the world got your password, they wouldn’t be able to access your account.

Opt out of all data collection

If you have the Lensa AI app, make sure to send an email to, and tell the company representatives you want to opt out of data collection.

Always be up to date

Unpatched vulnerabilities can give malicious actors unauthorized access to your apps and data. It’s important to update software as soon as you’re notified.

Use a VPN

A VPN is beneficial in a variety of situations. If you end up using Lensa AI or similar apps, a VPN will encrypt your data and make it harder for the app to track your location.

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