Snapchat's "face swap" feature, which lets users swap faces with someone (orsomething) else in real time, is so popular (and unsettling) that it has become something of a meme. Now a new update that was pushed to the iOS App Store yesterday adds a whole new layer to the feature, allowing people to swap faces with images stored on their phone's camera roll.
The new camera roll face swap feature can be found in the row of lenses, which you access by tapping and holding on your face when you're in selfie mode. (You can also access them when you're using your phone's rear camera — you just have to be pointing it at someone else's face first.) After you download the update (version 188.8.131.52), the new camera roll version shows up in that row as a separate option next to the original face swap lens.
Once you select the new lens, a row of images appears above. You can't just pick any picture from your camera roll, though. Snapchat sorts through it to find images with faces. This is the buggiest part right now — the row of images loads as you scroll through to the right, and if you go too fast the whole thing will reset. Otherwise, the actual face swapping works well.
Snapchat rolled out another big change in the update, too. While the app is known for making messages disappear after you open them, Snapchat has long allowed users to replay one already-viewed snap per day, and last fall even began offering three extra replays for $0.99. But that's no longer the case going forward. Users can now replay all their messages once for free, with no daily or monetary limit.
Paid replays were launched on the same day that Snapchat launched the lenses, and both looked like clever ways to drum up extra revenue. Lenses were free at first, and became a popular feature even before face swap was around. But Snapchat spent just two months trying to charge users to keep lenses (which otherwise rotated daily) before deciding to make them free again. It could be that the no one was bothering with these $0.99 in-app purchases, or they may just have been drumming up so little revenue compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that Snapchat reportedly pulls in from its native ads and sponsored lenses.