Facebook Messenger is an ever-evolving app that keep getting new features all the time. For some, this is a positive, but to others the bloated nature of the app makes it cumbersome and potentially more data-hungry than they’d like.
Android phone users now have another choice, in the shape of Facebook Messenger Lite, a stripped-down version that was originally designed for the developing world.
The limitations imposed by those regions makes a big difference, as it requires designers to consider data plans that are much smaller than in the West, and the older, cheaper handsets people use. The result is a streamlined app that keeps the best parts of Messenger and ditches the rest.
Here’s how to get Facebook Messenger Lite on your Android phone, but if you’re interested in other alternatives to Facebook Messenger, then be sure to read our WhatsApp v Instagram v Facebook Messenger v Snapchat comparison.
Can I get Facebook Messenger Lite on my iPhone?
Sadly, no. The iPhone X may have many new features, but the Facebook Messenger Lite app will not be among them.
As the app was created for the poorer parts of the world, it was focussed on the budget Android phones that most people use there. This means that Facebook never saw the need to make a version for iOS. A recent report by Techcrunch also states that Facebook has no plans to launch an iPhone app in the future.
If the full Messenger app on iOS is not to your taste, then you could read the Best Messaging apps for iPhone & iPad guide on our sister-site Macworld UK for some alternatives.
Downloading and installing the app
Residents of the UK, US, Ireland, and Canada will now find the Facebook Messenger Lite app in the regular Google Play Store.
Just tap install, then – when the download is complete – launch the app and log in with your Facebook account details.
After that, you should be good to go.
How is Facebook Messenger Lite different to the full version?
When you open the app, it will seem very similar to the normal version you’ve already been using. That’s because many of the standard features are included. You can still send text, photo, and video messages, plus Stickers are also available.
The list of contacts shows when people are available, just as it does on the full version, and group chats are the same. Free Wi-Fi calling also makes the app a money saving proposition, so long as you’re connected to the internet.
A deeper exploration will reveal the elements that are absent in the Lite app. These include Facebook Stories (the short movies that users post), Chat Heads, Video Calling, Themes, Wallpapers, and Games.
So, will you miss them? Probably not. If you want to use Messenger as an actual messaging app, then the Lite option dumps all of the superfluous bobbins that you don’t need. The result is a fast, simple, useful app that won’t drain your data plan or battery life.
Wow. Facebook did something right for a change. Let’s hope it’s the first instance in a long trend.