The party is ON! Join us at TNW Conference 2021 in Amsterdam for face-to-face business!

Your sardonic source for consumer tech stories

This article was published on March 10, 2021

Instagram Lite is rolling out in 170 countries — no Reels support for now

Instagram Lite is rolling out in 170 countries — no Reels support for now
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Starting today, Instagram is launching its 2MB lite app in 170 countries across the world. The app, built by Facebook’s Tel Aviv-based team,

is another addition to the company’s “Lite” apps, which cater to phones with limited specs and regions with low connectivity.

The company launched Instagram Lite initially in India last December. Last month, it introduced support for Reels to the app. However, sadly, this support is just limited to users in India, and the global version won’t have that feature for now.

It’s important to note that Instagram had a Lite version prior to this, but it was killed off last May to pave the way for this new version.

Instagram Lite interface

The technology behind Instagram Lite

Facebook’s team has managed to squeeze a lot of Instagram’s functionality into the Lite app, despite its reduced size. While the main app is sized at 30MB on download, the Lite app is just 2MB.

Instagram Lite doesn’t have AR-based stickers and effects in order to reduce the size. The team also removed some transition animations to decrease the load time of stories and feed.

It also uses some tools utilized to build Facebook Lite, such as SizeBot to keep the size of the files used in the project under check. To learn more about these tools, you can read our feature on how Facebook built its Lite app here.

[Read: How Facebook crammed all its major features into a 2MB Lite app]

In addition to these tools, Instagram Lite also optimizes image quality. It’s using a different version of JPEG for compression so that images load faster. Plus, it’s using CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) to store some assets to reduce the load time.

The next step for Instagram Lite team is to roll out support for dark mode and Reels worldwide.

You can download the app from here.

Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.