What the Tech? App of the Day: Fontmaker
How does an app go from nowhere to the top of Apple’s App Store in a month? It better be awesome and it better have celebrities posting reviews and demos. Neither of those is true for Fontmaker, the #4 app in the App Store with over 18,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.4 stars.
That’s a huge success in a short amount of time. It’s also pretty suspicious. According to Sensor Tower, the app has fewer than 5,000 downloads but that doesn’t include the past week.
What is it? Fontmaker sounds pretty awesome, giving you the ability to turn text you type into your personal handwriting. The idea, as explained in the description, makes every text, post, and Instagram and Snapchat Story read with your personal flair. In concept, it’s worth the download. In practice, not so much.
Fontmaker is a keyboard you install and gives full access to your iPhone’s keyboard. When you go to write a text or something, you’ll tap on the “globe” icon on the keyboard to switch to Fontmaker. You’re then shown a box to type whatever text you want to send.
To get started though you’re asked to handwrite every letter, upper and lowercase, numbers, and special characters. So when you type, Fontmaker converts the text by stitching together your saved handwriting.
Once you’ve typed out your message in the box, you’re asked to copy and paste that into your story, post, or text message.
When I tried it, the copy-paste function worked just half the time. It was also more difficult to type on as it was less forgiving. An “a” turned out an “s” in the message because my finger was slightly off the key.
The message is actually an image created with your handwriting so when you do copy and paste, it does not appear as a text or post. It appears as an image or picture of what you just typed.
Still, it is a “free” app so what’s the problem?
It is free for only 3 days (2 days really) as there is a free trial. After that, you’re left paying $5 a week. Lots of apps are doing this now and some earn a lot of revenue because people are forgetful and neglect canceling the trial before it ends.
With Fontmaker, you must cancel the trial a day before it ends or be charged for the subscription. Forget you downloaded it for a few weeks and that $5 charge quickly adds up.
Also, keyboard apps are a little suspicious anyway. Apple warns users before installing that giving keyboard apps full access to the keyboard means the app can see and save anything you type with it. That could be credit cards, addresses, passwords.
So why do I even mention this app at all? Because it’s being downloaded by lots of people and there are lots of red flags. In the comments section of the App Store, the developers respond to each one with the same generic “thanks for downloading Fontmaker” or “we’ll look into it”.
Even a comment where someone complains of the app not working or being charged the $5, the developer response is the same “Thanks for downloading!”
Be aware of the apps you download. If you do download an app with a free trial, cancel the trial immediately. Before even using the app, go to settings and tap your picture at the top of the page.
Scroll down to “subscriptions”, find it, and cancel. You’ll still be able to use the app during the free trial but you will not have to remember to cancel it on time.