Instagram Lite rolling out to 170 countries on Android at just 2MB

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Love or hate it, Instagram is a wildly popular app, but for some it can be resource intensive depending on the specifications of your smartphone. Now Facebook, which owns Instagram, is finally ready to roll out Instagram Lite, with it being in development now for three years.

The tech giant says Instagram Lite will launch in 170 countries across the globe in coming days, and much like its Lite version of the Facebook app, should open up the social media platform to a far wider range of users than it currently does.

“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,” explains Tzach Hadar, director of Product Management at Facebook Tel Aviv, regarding the development of this new Lite version of the app.

“We wanted the Instagram experience to remain fast, high-quality and reliable, irrespective of the device, platform and network people are on,” he adds.

To give you an idea of just how streamlined Facebook has made it, Instagram Lite is said to only be 2MB in size, so it won’t take up much space on your smartphone. This is only for Android for now, with it expected to be available on the Google Play Store in the coming days and weeks, depending on what part of the world you’re in.

At the time of writing, it has not appeared on the South African Play Store, but that should change soon. We also advise that users keep an eye out for copycat applications that try to look like Instagram Lite, but are not the real thing.

“To keep performance reliable, the team removed much of the ornate, data-rich animation, such as cube transitions and the AR filters people can apply to faces. However, they kept features that could deliver joy with less data, like GIFs and stickers. They also got rid of certain icons that do not make sense to new digital users. For instance, a trash can icon did not resonate as a symbol for getting rid of something, but an “X” rang clear,” adds Hadar on how the Facebook team striped down the application from 30MB to 2MB.

It will be interesting to see how popular Instagram Lite will be once launched and whether regular Instagram users will switch to the Lite version.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.