Android: Once upon a time, Facebook’s Messenger app was just a way to send chat message to your friends. Over the years the social network has loaded the app with features such as the ability to send GIFs and play games with your friends. The app has its own personal assistant, and now every time you open it you’re also hit in the face with all your friend’s Stories. It’s a lot of information, and all that information needs a decent amount of bandwidth to work and display on your phone.
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As such, Facebook made Messenger Lite a while back. It’s essentially the same Messenger app, except stripped down so it works on even the crappiest of networks. The app was initially designed to be used in markets such as developing countries where high-speed data isn’t as readily available and cheap as it is in Australia. However, this week Facebook made the app available to everyone Australia using an Android device (unfortunately there’s no iOS version) as well.
With it, you can send messages, including stickers, pictures, videos and emoji, and make voice calls (no video chat)… and that’s it.
There are a few reasons why you might want to install it:
It Uses Less Data
The whole idea behind Messenger Lite is for it to use as little data as possible. The file for the app is less than 10MB, and since it sticks to text-based messaging you’re not going to end up in a situation where the app is sucking up data for things like GIFs or additional features you’re not going to use.
If you’re on an unlimited data plan in Australia, then this isn’t a huge deal. If you’re travelling overseas on a limited plan, or have restrictions on how much data you can use on your plan here, then moving to the lightweight version of the app can make a huge difference.
It Will Work More Places
Since it’s dealing with smaller amounts of data, messages within the Lite app will load faster and you’ll be more likely to get them in places with spotty or slow connectivity. It will also work on some fairly old devices. To use Messenger Lite your phone just need to be running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).
You Can Ditch All the Extras
Hate Facebook’s personal assistant M? Me too. Don’t want to get sucked into looking at your friend’s Facebook Stories every time you open the app? Never plan on using one of those selfie lenses within the camera? You’re missing out, but OK. Messenger Lite is for you.
You won’t be able to use all the other features of Messenger (some of which are actually pretty great, IMO), but you’ll still get the basic chat functionality, which is what the Messenger app is supposed to be about to begin with.