This free app can cost you

What celebrity do you most look like? It’s an intriguing question and I suppose most people are at least curious if you favor a Hollywood actor or professional athlete. A smartphone app is doing quite well playing into our curiosity. “Gradient” is a smartphone app for both iPhones and Android devices that claims it can find a celebrity you look like based on a selfie. It’s gone viral. Celebrities themselves have been using it and posting their sometimes hilarious photos to Instagram.

It’s a free app but it’s costing thousands of people a lot of money.

It’s fun for a minute, but should you download and install it?

I read through the apps Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and it isn’t much different than the Face app that shows how you’ll look in 15 or 20 years. The app can use your photos for advertising but the company claims it does not save your photos and doesn’t own them. 

But the reason the app is best left in the stores is how it makes money. “Gradient” is a subscription service and the price is high. $5 a week or $20 a month for the premium version. There’s a trial subscription but it is only 3 days. If you don’t cancel before the trial ends, you will be charged for a monthly subscription. $20 seems a little high for a photo you’ll only enjoy one time.

You really only have 2 days to cancel the free trial. The app requires cancellations within 24 hours of when the trial ends. The subscription payment is non-refundable and Apple cannot get your money back. In other words, download the app for an afternoon of laughs and forget to cancel the subscription and you’re out $20.

It appears to be working. According to the latest numbers from Sensor Tower, it’s earned over $200,000 in revenue from subscriptions. 

To cancel the free trial, go to settings and tap on your photo or ID at the top of the page. Then go to “subscriptions” and tap on the Gradient app information. Then cancel it. Remember, you must do this at least a day before the free trial converts to a subscription.

My suggestion, if you just have to try it, cancel the trial as soon as you download and install the app. You’ll still be able to use it until the trial ends.