Instagram Lite brings the clean experience to more than 170 countries
In December last year, Instagram launched the Instagram Lite, a light-weight version of its main app designed specifically for users with slow internet connectivity and low-end smartphones. At the time, the app was limited to India, with the company promising to bring the app to global markets at a later date. Today, Instagram is finally making Instagram Lite available in more than 170 countries.
At 2MB, Instagram Lite is minuscule compared to its full-fledged counterpart weighing roughly 30MB in size, but offers all the core features of the main app including the Reels. The new app is developed in collaboration with Instagram’s New York and Tel Aviv teams.
“Our teams build these lightweight versions of our apps for people with low connectivity or limited data plans, because our basic premise is to leave no one behind,” said Tzach Hadar, Director of Product Management, Facebook Tel Aviv.
Speaking with the team working on the Lite app, we were told that the app employs various optimizations like image compression, CDN caching, and so on to ensure media loads faster even on a slow and spotty connection. To make sure the performance was fast and reliable the team also decided to remove demanding animations as well as AR filters. Features like GIFs and stickers were kept since they don’t use a lot of resources. One of the ways the app shrinks down its size is breaking down Java libraries into smaller chunks, retaining only the functions that are needed by the app and getting rid of others. When asked whether there was any plan to add a dark theme to Instagram Lite, we were told the team is already working on it and that we should expect to hear more on that in the coming months.
Instagram Lite is only available for Android devices. The company has no plans for releasing an iOS equivalent as the number of people using iOS devices in emerging markets is quite low to warrant a separate app.
Instagram Lite is rolling out in more than 170 countries starting today and will be available for download from the Google Play Store. It’s not available in Brazil at the moment but the team says they’ll be bringing the app to more markets soon.