Companies develop “lite” editions of their apps for use in developing countries, where data connections aren’t as strong and devices run more slowly. However, with a little hacking, anyone can install a lite app. While you may miss out on certain features—the stripped-down version of Facebook Messenger, for example, has no video calling—you’ll gain a faster, smoother user experience.
Unfortunately, lite apps only work on Android devices, so iOS devotees are out of luck. If your iPhone is agonizingly slow, you can try replacing bulky apps with the mobile websites for these services. (We explain how to do this in the last entry on this list.)
How to install the apps
In some cases, you’ll be able to install these apps as usual, directly from Google Play. However, certain lite versions won’t be available outside of the countries, such as India, for which they’re intended. To get around this problem, you need to install the app through a simple process called sideloading.
If you’re running a version of Android older than Android 8.0 Oreo, your first step is to visit the Settings app. Tap Security and toggle Unknown sources to On. This lets you install apps from outside the Google Play Store. In general, downloading outside apps can harm your phone’s security, but if you’re planning to install trusted apps from a reputable source (as we are in this guide), then your device will be perfectly safe.
In Android Oreo, engineers have removed this setting. Instead, whenever you try to install something from a non-Google-Play source, you’ll receive warnings on an app-by-app basis. When the warning appears on screen, tap Settings and then turn the Allow from this source switch to On.
Once you’ve enabled outside apps, head to your phone’s mobile browser and load a safe and respected repository of Android Application Package, or APK, files. We recommend APKMirror. Find the file for the app you want, making sure it’s the most recent one available. Finally, download and run it.
Facebook Lite doesn’t take away too many features—you still get the News Feed, notifications, and status updates—but the interface is simplified and stripped down. The main difference you’ll notice is the visual appearance: The menu and status bars won’t always appear on screen, and you’ll have to tap on certain options rather than swiping through them.
As a result, the lite app takes up less room on your phone’s storage and in its memory. It compresses much of the data, especially images, before they reach your phone, so it will also work faster on slower connections.
Unlike the regular Facebook app, the lite version includes Messenger in the same package. However, you can also download a separate Messenger Lite app. We have more information on that in the next entry.
Facebook Messenger Lite
In addition to the Facebook Lite app we discussed above, Facebook has released a stripped-down version of its Messenger service. Facebook Messenger Lite gives you most of the bulkier app’s main functions, including text chatting, sharing photos, emojis, and more. However, you miss out on features such as video calling, sharing your location in a conversation, and playing any games.
Despite this, you might consider the trade-off in app size and memory bloat worth it. In addition, the lite interface loads faster, although it looks chunkier and less smooth than the standard app’s does.