Meitu App Too Good to Resist; But Here’s Why Many are Holding Back

January 25, 2017, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Time and time again, we witness specific apps going on to become monumental hits upon its launch picking up millions of downloads within just a matter of few days. Most of them come paired with camera and post-effect prowess. While it was Prisma last year that charmed the world with its algorithmic art filters, its Chinese app Meitu that has now become the latest addiction for Android and iOS users.

Meitu isn’t totally a new entry. The app was introduced way back in 2008, but remained exclusive to China until January 2017. Ever since it reached out its arm to the global market, people have been going frenzy with the new app, and there’s a reason for it.


Photo filtering and editing apps are always top pick among users, and when it hands out an option to beautify selfies or portraits of celebrities to such an extent that they appear like anime characters, it certainly is bound to be the instant hit. That’s what Meitu is all about; beautifying portrait images with a touch that essentially can transform the weirdest into the coolest.

Meitu is loaded with quite a strong list of editing features, and there’s nothing that turns the users down as with its editing capabilities. Even reviewers are showering down big praises for the app. But there’s one thing which users must be aware of before trying out the Meitu magic: privacy concerns.

Meitu is a photo-editing app, which means that it must be given permission for camera, storage, or maybe internet access. But Meitu’s permission request doesn’t end here, as it goes on to request access to even your call list, identity, location and even more. It can even reorder the running apps, which seems quite bizarre for an app that deals only with images.

That’s with the Android version, but the iOS version also contains code that causes worries. Security researcher Jonathan Zdziarski spotted that Meitu’s iOS version is able to even uniquely identify the device using the hardware Mac address of iPhones. Speculations are that Meitu is selling the data to companies with advertising interests. There are also claims that the app is sending data over to multiple servers in China.

There hasn’t been an official word from Meitu, or from Google or Apple regarding this data access. As per Meitu’s privacy policies, there’s no mentioning of any data exchange, and says that the collected data will be used for improving product functionality, identity verification, security control, customer services, and to let Meitu understand the interests of user to respond to individual demands.

We believe Meitu might be using the data for good, and that there’s no privacy breach occurring with the app. Still, it’s safe to keep your hands off the app until there’s an official clarification if you are concerned of sharing your private data.

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