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June 28, 2018

The Instagram Lite app is so small, your Android phone won’t notice it’s there

by John_A

A Lite version of the Instagram app has been launched in the Google Play Store, and despite being less than 1MB in size, still manages to squeeze in all the main features we know and love from the full-size Instagram app. Interestingly, it removes several features that have seen Instagram evolve beyond its photo-sharing roots recently, returning the app almost to basics.

Instagram Lite is a 573KB app, while the standard Instagram app varies depending on which device it’s installed. On our BlackBerry Key2, it is 83MB. Doesn’t that mean a complete lack of features? No. The Lite app lets you post pictures and add filters, just as you’d expect, and also create Instagram Stories. The Stories can only be modified with text rather than adding animations or GIFs. The Explore tab is ready to introduce you to new people.

The app does not have any of the messaging features found in the main app, or the ability to share video, though in the Google Play Store description it states these will come soon. How much difference it will make to the app’s file size is not known. Facebook, which owns Instagram, also makes a Lite version of its primary app, and of its Messenger app too.

Wondering why you’d need a Lite app? You may not, if you have a brand new phone with potentially hundreds of gigabytes of storage space. But for those with Android phones that are older, or more modern without a high specification, space for apps is often at a premium. Lite apps minimize the impact downloading and installing an app can have on a device and makes it easier for it to remain on the device, even when the owner wants or needs to install more.

Facebook isn’t the only company making Lite apps. There are minimalist versions of many other big-name apps, including Twitter, Skype, and Linked In. Google itself is pushing smaller, less space-intensive apps with its Android Go operating system, which comes with miniature versions of its own app suite. The phones on which Go is installed are low-cost, and the perfect examples of the devices on which Lite apps will be installed.

While Instagram Lite is listed in the Google Play Store, it’s not available to download everywhere, or potentially by everyone either, at the time of writing. It’s not compatible with any of our phones in the U.K., and reports show it’s similarly impossible to install in the U.S. too, indicating it’s in a final test phase at the beginning of the app’s launch. It’s likely Instagram will open it up to more people in the future.

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