Instagram Lite Reboot Squeezes Into a Package of Just 2 MB

The Instagram Lite app on an Android phone

Facebook has just released Instagram Lite. It’s a stripped-down version of the image-sharing platform designed for users in emerging markets. It’s developed by Facebook’s team in Tel Aviv, which is also the birthplace of Messenger Lite and Facebook Lite. The package size of the app is only 2 MB.

The team that designed Instagram Lite said that the focus with this application, just like their other launches, was on users whose smartphones lack processing power, reliable data, and of course, storage capacity. To reach this size, the app focuses on images, messaging, and video, ditching other features and flourishes that fade into the background on the full-fat version of the app.

the Instagram logo

Some Features Are Removed

The app still has the main feed, as well as the ephemeral messaging feature cribbed from Snapchat – Stories, but not Shopping or IG Live. Gal Zellermayer, who is the engineering manager, said that as well as live filters and other AR effects that are unable to work on low-power devices, animations have been edited down. He cited the example of the cube animation that’s seen when swiping between Stories on different users, a very data- and processor-intensive transition that didn’t work well on older devices, which had been removed. He also added that a lot of extra compression work was handled on the server aside to relieve the burden of the device itself.

Instagram Lite interface
Instagram Lite Is Space-Efficient and Fun!

Product manager Michelle Lourie explained that there were a number of additional UI tweaks to meet the needs of “new digital users.” This included removing the trash can that represents a Delete icon, in favor of a simple X, which testers found made more sense. In addition, Lourie said that Stickers and GIFs remain part of the app because, unlike AR filters, they were space-efficient while remaining fun. She also said that the team was currently working on Dark Mode – a feature that countless users were requesting long before Instagram Lite was released.