Facebook first started testing Instagram Lite app in June 2018 in some parts of the world. The app was shut down in September 2020 but was soon resurrected later in the year. Now, in the first half of 2021, Facebook is bringing its 2MB Instagram Lite app to 170 more countries. It was recently launched in India to bring the core Instagram experience to people who are unfamiliar with the app. The app will be rolled out globally soon.
“During the past year, Instagram has become a lifeline for many to connect with loved ones or find a small moment of inspiration, be it a photo of a friend’s newborn or a video of puppies discovering snow,” Facebook wrote in a blog post.
The app is targeted towards the regions which do not possess the most up-to-date mobile devices, robust internet networks, or affordable data plans needed for the swift delivery of the data-rich videos and images found on Instagram.
“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,” adds Tzach Hadar, Director of Product Management at Facebook Tel Aviv, one of the largest strategic engineering hubs for Facebook globally. “We wanted the Instagram experience to remain fast, high-quality, and reliable, irrespective of the device, platform, and network people are on.”
The 2MB Instagram Lite app retains the key features that people using entry-level devices want. Facebook says that its team focused on what people valued most, namely video and messaging. To keep the performance on this Lite app reliable, Facebook removed much of the ornate, data-rich animation, such as cube transitions and the AR filters people can apply to faces. It kept features that could deliver joy with less data, like GIFs and stickers.
For reference, when Instagram Lite launched in India, it didn’t have the Reels option. However, Facebook recently introduced Reels to the Lite app. That said, you still cannot create Reels on the Instagram Lite app but you can only view them.