Instagram is about to become less of a burden for your phone and your data plan.
On Wednesday, Instagram Lite, a stripped-down, lightweight version of Instagram started rolling out in over 170 countries.
Announced back in December with a test run in India, Instagram Lite has been in the works for a year, created by Facebook’s developer teams in Tel Aviv and New York.
The app, available only for Android phones, is designed to provide a “high-quality” Instagram device, even on slower networks and older devices. Some of the animations, transitions, filters and icons have been removed to keep the app fast and nimble; as a result, the app only weighs in at 2MB, as opposed to 30MB which is the size of the full Instagram app for Android.
Most of the key features are preserved in the lite version, including video, messaging, GIFs and stickers. And more features, including a “dark mode” look, are in the works.
For many users with new phones and fast networks, the standard version will probably be better. But, as Facebook explains, millions of people don’t have those luxuries.
“No matter where they are, people want to be entertained and inspired by those that they love. It’s difficult to do that on Instagram with an entry-level phone that has storage constraints,” Michelle Lourie, who led the dev team in Tel Aviv, said in a statement.
In a video call with reporters, the people who worked on the app described the process of building Instagram Lite as a joint effort from two remote teams. With travel restrictions in place due to the pandemic, the engineers had to use emulators to slow down their fast mobile networks and get them closer to something a user might experience in India and Brazil.
Instagram Lite follows Facebook Lite, which was also created by Facebook’s Tel Aviv team a few years ago. The app quickly gained popularity, and currently has more than 1 billion installs. The company originally had the app on iOS, too, but it gave up on that version due to limited adoption, which likely explains why Instagram Lite is only available on Android.
The Instagram Lite app will be available to download from the Google Play Store starting today.