Instagram Lite expands to more than 170 countries

Social media has taken on an even more critical role in the past few months as the world navigates uncharted medical and political waters. Keeping in touch and getting updated with family and friends have become even more important in an increasingly quarantined world but not everyone has the luxury of powerful phones and fast Internet connections required by many social networking apps. To further increase its presence in markets around the world, Facebook is rolling out Instagram Lite to save users not just space on their phones but also precious Internet bandwidth.

This isn't the first time Facebook put out a "lite" version of its social apps. Facebook Lite has been around far longer and Instagram Lite itself has actually been in development and testing for as much as three years already. The Tel Aviv-based team that developed the app is confident that it has finally discovered that sweet spot of important features that users need while cutting out the rest of the cruft.

The result is an app that is only 2MB in size, an almost unbelievable size considering the full Instagram app on Android is 30MB large. Despite the smaller size, however, Instagram Lite still has the core features that revolve around videos and photos, Stories, and even IGTV. Some requested features, like dark mode, have still to be implemented and users shouldn't be surprised to see ads in the future as well.

Instagram Lite isn't just about cutting features to save phone storage space, however. The developers also whittled down the phone's UI to ensure a responsive experience even with meager hardware or slow connections. Unnecessary animations in the UI have been removed as well as AR filters. That said, animated GIFs and stickers still do remain.

Instagram Lite is now available on the Google Play Store in more than 170 countries but Facebook says it will expand its reach globally soon. It hasn't mentioned anything about plans to bring the same experience to iOS devices, though.