TikTok tipped to get AI image generator — here’s how it looks

TikTok app icon on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

ChatGPT and other AI tools are infiltrating everything right now. If it’s a digital app or product, there’s probably been an attempt to put AI in it. And despite a looming TikTok ban potentially coming, it seems the social media app is getting in on the AI revolution.

According to The Verge, TikTok is planning on introducing AI-generated avatars to the popular short-form video social app. This is based on a leak on Twitter from Matt Navarra, a social media consultant. In a Twitter thread, he laid out how the new AI feature looks and how it works, including the potential user interface. He reportedly showed off even more in a private WhatsApp channel, but what he posted to Twitter was still plenty intriguing.

At first glance, the AI avatars appear to be similar to the AI-stylized portraits generated by the Lensa AI app, which became a popular AI image generator towards the end of 2022. That app would take your existing photos and — for a fee — generate dozens of AI-created images based on your original photos. In practice, it felt like a photo editor on steroids.

With the TikTok AI avatar generator, it's unclear if you need to pay to use this AI feature. A TikTok spokesperson confirmed to The Verge in a statement that the AI image generator is currently an experiment being tested in select regions, but make no mention of a possible fee. 

However, at one point in Navarra’s leaked screen captures, the feature is referred to as “Plus.” It’s unclear if this means that the AI image generator will only be available to those that are subscribed to a paid version of TikTok or if something else is going on.

TikTok AI image generator: How it works

According to Navarra’s leak, TikTok users will be allowed to use the AI feature once daily. You start by uploading three to 10 photos of yourself, and then you chose up to five different styles that the AI can use to generate your avatars. 

Once the photos are uploaded and your styles are picked, the AI will generate up to 30 avatars for you to choose from (it feels like the AI generates three avatars per photo based on that math, but we cannot confirm that). The whole process reported takes a few minutes.

After the avatars are generated, you can reportedly download them to your phone or share them with your followers as a TikTok story. TikTok will delete the AI-generated avatars from its servers After a “short period of time,” so make sure to download them quickly once they are generated. Hopefully, this feature makes it to the U.S. before the app is potentially banned.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.