What happened to Instagram Lite: Meta’s most visual social network was born weighing less than 200 Kb

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There was a time not relatively long ago when development teams were releasing light versions of your best apps with the aim of reaching more people. Meta was one of them and its greatest exponents, Facebook Lite, Messenger Lite and Instagram Lite precisely the protagonist of this article.

The idea was to simplify its deployment while maintaining the essence so that even an application focused on images, videos and short videos (a function that would come later) like Instagram would be available on the most modest mobile phones thanks to a minimal graphic load and therefore, lower resource consumption, which doesn’t hurt even if you have a mid-range mobile phone and you simply don’t need everything.

There was a certain boom in lite applications, but their decline also came and many like Messenger Lite passed away. On the one hand, they are less attractive and on the other, technological advances in the form of Internet expansion and the democratization of hardware have made it possible for the number of simple terminals incapable of running standard applications to be considerably reduced (experience is another thing, especially with several apps open). This is Instagram Lite story, the lighter version of the most visual social network in Meta.

Instagram Lite: first restricted, then (almost) global

There are no two without three. After the Lite of Facebook and Messenger, Meta launched Instagram Lite In the summer of 2018, that shortened version weighed only 164 Kb. It was born for Android and for developing countries like Kenya, the Philippines or India, and it was a progressive web app that could be installed and used from the browser.

With a different icon and a huge difference in space occupied after installation compared to the standard version (80 MB vs 164 Kb), I had the basic essentials: viewing bios, viewing and liking, reading and writing comments, watching videos and even consulting stories (the fluidity, as it is). Content uploads were more basic in terms of filters and options and there were no video calls integrated into messaging.

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In spring 2020, Meta removed Instagram Lite in what would be more of a see-you-later than a goodbye: the idea was a relaunch on a global scale, something that took place almost a year later. In December of that same year we saw her again on the Google Play Store for India, providing a clean, no-frills and even ad-free experience. However, it was not until March 10, 2021 when Meta announced finally the global Instagram Lite was launched in 170 countries, only for Android initially. Spain was not on the list through the Google Play Store, but it was through APKs.

That global version arrived with 2MB in weight compared to the 30MB of the “normal” Thanks to having more servers instead of the device, it worked with 2G networks (ideal for places with little coverage) and among its functions it did not leave behind the Reels (direct competition from a TikTok that was beginning to emerge, but was blocked in India) the dark theme, GIFs, but other functions such as support for IGTV.

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Instagram Lite is still alive and well

Instagram Lite today. If you search for Instagram Lite in the Google Play Store or the App Store you will discover two very different realities: it does not appear in the iPhone store because it is still not compatible, but it does appear in the Google store. However, you will not be able to download it since Spain is still outside the list of official countries.

But the last update dates back to February 15, 2024, so although it never (at the moment) officially arrived in Spain or on iOS, the light version of Instagram is still alive and well in other locations.

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Thus, it is still a magnificent application to install on your Android phone if you are looking for a smooth experience without consuming excessive data or resources simply downloading the APK from repositories such as APK Mirror. Thus, you can view and upload stories, view and interact with publications, talk to your contacts, explore and also view and share Reels. Of course, it still makes sacrifices in the form of fewer editing options, filters or shorter audios sent.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise