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New app Lapse manages to be fun if you can survive onboarding process

Lapse, a new photo-sharing app, proves to be enjoyable, but some users complain about its long onboarding process. – Photo by @lapse_app /

Have you been sent an invite to an app called Lapse? If so, you’re like the other 1.2 million people who recently downloaded this new app. The app seems to have popped up out of nowhere, rapidly spreading through text message invites over the past few weeks. But what exactly is Lapse, and is it worth a download?

On its website, Lapse calls itself “the invite-only disposable camera.” This is a good sum-up of the general workings of the app. Lapse allows users to take pictures known as “snaps” that then go through a “development” process, similar to that of a disposable or polaroid camera. The pictures are also given a filter to make them look more similar to disposable camera pictures. Any photos that the user takes can either be archived or added to shared albums that friends are able to see.

While the concept for the app is fun and interesting, one of its more controversial elements is the lengthy onboarding process. Once the app is downloaded, users are shown a video explaining the concept of the app and then prompted to complete a number of tasks before they can start actually using it. 

These tasks include adding eight friends that are already on the app, sending invites to at least five other people and choosing at least three pictures that the user has already taken to display on their profile. This has made the growth of the app feel somewhat forced, with some users even comparing it to a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme.

These requirements also seem to undermine the app’s supposed mission. The app is meant to promote authenticity on social media by not allowing users to immediately see and scrutinize their pictures, and instead, allowing time for the pictures to “develop.” 

But this commitment to authenticity goes out the window when the app forces users to go out of their way to recruit more Lapse users and add people they might not particularly want to connect with. The photos taken on Lapse might be authentic, but the growth of the app and the connections between users unfortunately aren’t. 

Despite these pitfalls, Lapse is still a generally fun and easy-to-use app once users are past the initial required tasks. Similar to BeReal, another popular photo-sharing app, pictures taken on Lapse are added to a monthly album that is displayed on the user’s profile.

One of the more unique elements of the app is that users can choose a song to go with each monthly album as well as a song for their overall profile. They can also choose five emojis to add to their profile in addition to their zodiac sign, university and biography if they choose, allowing for some individuality and personality to be added to the app’s user experience. 

Overall, Lapse is a fun and different take on a photo app, but its invite-only structure and onboarding process can deter some people from joining. If you’re interested in trying out a new social platform and don’t mind reaching out to five contacts in order to try out the app, it’s worth a download. 

But if you’re just looking to recreate the look of disposable camera pictures, there are plenty of other apps that can provide filters that can achieve it. 

So if you get that invite, think about why you’re interested in downloading the app before you dive in. But hey, if you decide it’s not for you, that’s OK — you’ll always have eight friends ready to invite you back if you change your mind.

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