Instagram Lite officially launched in 170 countries

Instagram Lite app
© Instagram

Instagram, earlier today, announced the global launch of a new 'Lite' version of the popular social networking app. Known as Instagram Lite, this app is very lean compared to the "full" app and allows you to have a more fluid experience with the platform on any device or connection. This release is aimed exclusively at emerging countries and was first released in India back in December 2020.

  • It offers features like photos in Feed, Stories, Reels, Search and Messages.
  • It will be available starting today in 170 countries.
  • The lightweight app takes up only 2MB of storage.

In the press conference announcing the launch, Instagram developers revealed that the app was created taking into account the demands and usage patterns of the target audience. In most emerging countries, people need to choose between buying data for their mobile phone or necessities. In addition, many people living in these regions have limited or poor internet access, and not to mention, devices with basic specifications.

As mentioned earlier, Instagram Lite is a small app that only takes up 2MB of storage. Instagram has achieved this by using its own servers to process requests instead of doing it on the smartphone itself. According to Gal Zellermayer, software engineering manager of Instagram Lite, this was possible thanks to the significant reduction of the API, with the removal of animations and transitions, for example. Note that this move has also led to a reduction in some features. For example, Instagram Lite does not support IGTV videos. Users will, however, have access to Reels, stories, messaging and search. 

Instagram Lite server dependency
The app takes up a small amount of mobile storage space given that much of the code has been moved to Facebook's servers / © Instagram

One of the reasons for keeping Reels is because of its increasing popularity in India where TikTok has been banned and creators have found a viable alternative with Instagram Reels. This is also the reason, the app was first launched in India way before the global announcement. Meanwhile, the company also confirmed that a dark theme for Instagram Lite is already in development and should arrive in the coming weeks.

Instagram Lite is available in 170 countries

Among the 170 countries slated to receive the nod for Instagram Lite include Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Venezuela, Belize, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Uruguay, Guatemala, Peru, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and others. Given the low penetration of iOS in emerging countries, the Instagram Lite team is focused on developing the application only for the Android platform.

Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi

10+ years testing smartphones and other gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem recently, Android is still one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, now I write for the US market. I’m (still) on Twitter (@apequenarinaldi)!

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