Prequel has been downloaded more than 100 million times since its launch in 2018. But, Prequel cemented its status as the photo-editing app of choice for Gen Z at the start of this year when its “cartoon filter” went viral.
Since then, Prequel has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps of its type, especially in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia.
And the app is particularly loved by younger users — with the bulk of Prequel’s paying customers under the age of 25, according to Forbes.
Describing itself as an “Aesthetic Editor” on Apple’s App Store, Prequel is a photo and video-editing app for iOS and Android devices that offers a library of over 800 filters and effects, numerous video templates, and supports things like GIFs and stickers.
The underlying technology of Prequel is particularly clever. The filters are more than the simple effects built into Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. Instead, they are created and processed using machine-learning algorithms, with results ranging from subtle color shifts to complete reimagining of an image.
But the big draw to Prequel is its widely popular cartoon filter which has been a mainstay on social media since January. When a user uploads a photo on the app and applies the cartoon filter to it, Prequel uses its AI technology to make the photo look like a personalized, hand-drawn image.
Prequel keeps its users engaged by regularly releasing a schedule of new filters and photo-editing tools — which keeps Generation Z flocking to the app in their droves.
Prequel’s range of filters also offer these effects at touch of a button without having to invest lots of time editing a picture using traditional tools, like Adobe Photoshop or Final Cut Pro.
According to Forbes, whenever new filters are added to the catalog, it causes a frenzy of downloading as younger users compete to be the first to create something using whatever new effects the Prequel team has come up with.
The team behind Prequel sees the app as something closer to a broader social trend for the more visually literate Generation Z, who have never known a life without the internet, and the ability to manipulate photography, so that images more effectively express and project the creator’s personality and values, reports Forbes.
For younger users, even a small change, such as additional text in a particular font, or a more washed-out color effect, can make their photo look more personal.
The continuing relevance of photography for Generation Z is not just evident with Prequel but is also clear given the soaring popularity of photo-sharing app BeReal, which continues to hold onto the number one spot in the U.S. on Apple’s App Store charts — even beating TikTok.
The Prequel app is available for iOS and Android devices from the Apple App Store or Google Play. A three-day free trial is available and a full subscription costs from $4.99 for one week to $34.99 for a whole year.