Instagram parent company Facebook has launched a new version of its Instagram Lite app for Android users in 170 countries.
Similar to what has been done on its lightweight apps like Facebook Lite and Messenger Lite, Instagram Lite cuts down on certain features and design elements to make it less resource-consuming.
It provides better performance on lower-end devices, whilst at the same time also using less mobile data, making it great for users in emerging markets in particular.
A previous iteration – which was launched as part of a test in 2018 – was removed from the Google Play Store in late 2020.
Facebook explained that the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the development process of the revised app, which was created by Facebook Tel Aviv.
Since the team was unable to travel to target markets like India and Brazil to test out the product, they had to improvise.
“Each member received an entry-level phone of their own to see firsthand whether the app felt like something they would use. They also connected to emulators that slowed the speedy networks of Tel Aviv,” Facebook said.
The end result was an app that requires only 2MB of storage for installation, compared to the 30MB that the standard Instagram app occupies.
This is achieved by offloading much of the code from the app running on the phone into the cloud.
For improved performance, the team did away with much of the ornate, data-rich animation on Instagram, such as cube transitions and the AR filters people can apply to faces.
The team also changed certain icons that would not make sense to new digital users, such as the trashcan icon which was replaced with an “X”.
Features such as GIFs, stickers, dark mode, and access to the Reels feed have been kept. Users will not be able to post their own Reels, however.
There are also no ads on the platform at the moment, although Facebook plans to bring support for monetisation tools in future updates.
Facebook said the app will soon be rolled out globally to Android users.
For now, it has no plans to launch a version for iOS smartphones, however.