Facebook on Wednesday said it is rolling out the Instagram Lite app in 170 countries to provide people living in rural and remote communities with a high-quality experience of the photo and video-sharing app using minimal data.
The Instagram Lite app will be available only for Android users, as iOS version of the app is not planned for now.
“Starting today, people in more than 170 countries will be able to download Instagram Lite in the Google Play Store to have a high-quality Instagram experience, no matter what network or device they’re on. We will be rolling out the app globally soon,” Facebook said.
The new app that requires only 2MB to download on Android — considerably less than the full-size version, which was closer to 30MB – but retains the key features that people using entry-level devices want, Facebook said.
To keep those features on the smaller app, the team took a page from Facebook Lite that debuted a few years ago, by offloading into the cloud much of the code from the app running on the phone.
Among the features included in the app is the short video feature Reels.
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.
The relaunch of the Instagram Lite app comes after the app, which was originally launched in 2018, was pulled from the Play Store in spring of last year, The Verge reported.
The new Instagram Lite app began testing in India in December 2020.