Social Media
I tried the Lemon8 app to see its similarities and differences to TikTok.

I Tried Lemon8 To See How It Compares To TikTok

And I thought Instagram captions were hard to come up with.

Lemon8/Elite Daily

With a potential ban looming over the U.S., some users are looking for alternatives to TikTok in case a shut down occurs. While Triller and Instagram Reels have been viable TikTok alternatives in the past, there have been some new apps popping up recently that have the potential to take over if TikTok is officially banned. One of those TikTok alternatives is Lemon8, and I tried the app to see if it compares to TikTok.

I had never heard of Lemon8 before, but according to Forbes, the new social media app shares the same parent company as TikTok — ByteDance. If TikTok is eventually banned over concerns that it’s owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, it would be interesting if Lemon8 sticks around. Either way, Lemon8 is here right now, and TikTokers are looking into it’s similarities and differences are compared the app they love so much.

The first difference I noticed comparing Lemon8 and TikTok is that Lemon8 is more of a photo sharing platform like Instagram once was. While the app does allow you to upload videos, it seems to prioritize photos over everything. This is rare in 2023 — especially since Instagram has been criticized for switching to prioritizing videos in the feed from being a solely photo platform. You may remember when Kylie Jenner shaded Instagram last year for trying to be like TikTok.

Lemon8 Is More Like OG Instagram


When you first log into Lemon8, you’re shown your “For You” page. Unlike TikTok, which automatically plays a video, the Lemon8 FYP looks like a cross between an Instagram and Pinterest feed. When you see a photo you like, you have to tap on the heart to “like” it. If you double tap it, it won’t “like” it as is the case on Instagram or TikTok. Instead, it’ll open up that post so you can read the full caption and scroll through the carousel of pics.

Lemon8 Requires A Lot Of Writing

Speaking of captions, Lemon8 is a place for long ones. According to The New York Times, Lemon8 has reached out to certain content creators and offered to pay them to post on their platform. One of the requirements is to post captions with at least 150 words. Now, if you’re someone like me who struggles with coming up with just a simple caption on Instagram, the struggle is all too real drafting over 150 words. Plus, who is looking to read a novel under some aesthetically pleasing photos? Not me. Lemon8 does have caption templates, but you’ll still have to fill out your template with your personal information.


Something I love about TikTok is that most people aren’t looking at the caption of a video. In fact, it’s often just an after thought and a place where you can add as many hashtags as you’d like to get on a certain side of TikTok. If Lemon8 is encouraging people to write full paragraphs before posting, it’ll likely deter many people from posting in the first place.

Not only do you have a caption to come up with, but you also have to draft a “catchy headline.” This is probably the closest to what an actual Instagram caption is since it shows up on the FYP, unlike the full caption. Before even getting to the headline and caption editing step, though, you also are asked to edit your photos with a template and text over it. While each one of these steps are not required, it seems to be the thing to do on Lemon8.

Lemon8 Is Really Into Templates

In a way, the templates are what set Lemon8 apart from Instagram. These customizable templates allow you to edit your photos with text and stamps, and they’re like adding subtitles to your photos to explain what they are. Even if you don’t add text to every photo in your carousel, you should at least add something to your first photo so people know what you’re sharing.

Personally, I was wondering, isn’t that what the headline is for? I don’t understand why I need to write so much and explain myself over and over again with each post. Can’t I just share pretty pictures of the food I ate, without having to explain every dish in detail? As a professional writer, I don’t have time to write more when I want to share my cute selfies or vacay pics. I prefer videos on TikTok or Instagram where I can let the content do the talking to a trendy Harry Styles or Taylor Swift song.

Lemon8 Doesn’t Have Licensed Music

That leads me to one of my biggest complaints about Lemon8. They don’t have licensed music available for you to create videos. When you’re editing a video, it only gives you the option to choose generic stock music. You can always just pull videos you edited together in TikTok or Instagram Reels that has a song you like, but that’s just more work and you might as well post there instead.

Lemon8 Doesn’t Allow You To Edit Multiple Videos


Since Lemon8 is primary a photo-sharing app, it’s not as user friendly if you want to post a video. It does allow you to post videos, but just one at a time. The only tool available for videos is that you can edit your clip down if you want. Other than that, there is no editing. This means you can’t select multiple videos to cut together like on TikTok or Instagram. You also can’t share a carousel of videos to your page. When selecting your chosen video, it also can’t be over a minute. However, it must be more than 3 seconds long.

Once you’ve got your video ready, you can add the stock music or keep your OG sound. Then, you’re brought to the final step where you add the headline, caption, location, and are given the option to choose a cover photo. This is recommended because a “properly sized cover” will “attract more viewers.”

Lemon8 Makes It Difficult To Find Friends

One thing I found difficult right away was trying to find friends to follow on Lemon8. I’m not sure many of my friends are on Lemon8 since it’s so new, but I remember when I signed up for Instagram and TikTok, it gave me the option to find friends from my contacts. I also remember being shown popular accounts to follow on TikTok, like celebrities when I first joined. This was not the case with Lemon8. All I was shown was my “For You” page of strangers who all seemed to understand this app more than me, so it was a bit intimidating.

Lemon8 Versus TikTok


Ultimately, if you’re trying to find a replacement for TikTok, I don’t think Lemon8 is a good one. It’s definitely more for people who miss the old Instagram, and are looking for photos for mood boards, travel inspiration, and food that’s too pretty to eat.

I’m someone who loves TikTok for how real it is. While there are filters, they’re more for fun and not trying to hide anything. I personally love that we’ve stepped away from the carefully curated influencer days of Instagram, and are moving towards de-influencing and people sharing their real and lives.

Lemon8 as it is right now is too perfect. Every post looks like it took ages to craft, and after playing around in the app, they probably did. It requires a lot of work to share one post that feels like it fits the standards of what you see on your FYP, and I’m too lazy for that. Lemon8 is missing a lot of the ease that comes with scrolling through TikTok, seeing a relatable post, and wanting to share it with your bestie.

If you’re someone who loves Instagram accounts that are color-coordinated and aspirational, while scrolling through Pinterest to create dream boards, you’ll love Lemon8. However, if you’re looking for a place to find more Pedro Pascal fan edits and SwiftTok theories, you might need to look elsewhere.