What is Facebook Lite? In a nutshell, it’s a stripped-down version of the standard Facebook app for Android and iOS. Although it lacks certain features, it’s still a great alternative to the full-sized Facebook app.
However, as we all know, Facebook knows a lot of information about you, and the social network’s mobile app is one of the ways the company collects your data. Is the Facebook Lite app any better?
In this article, we’ll explain what Facebook Lite is and help you decide whether it can replace the standard Facebook app.
What Is Facebook Lite?
Facebook unveiled Facebook Lite in 2015 as a version of Facebook built from scratch to work smoothly with poor mobile connections and low-end phones.
It’s an app for the entire world, but built with developing countries where data connectivity is hard to come by in mind. Facebook Lite also helps save space on your phone, and still functions in 2G conditions.
The Benefits of Facebook Lite
The main difference between Facebook Lite and Facebook is its size. Facebook Lite’s download is under 10MB. On my device, it only takes up 2.19MB of space. Compare that to the amount of space regular Facebook takes up, which is 167MB. This is a substantial difference.
Additionally, Facebook Lite doesn’t preload photos in the way that Facebook does. This means slightly longer loading times when scrolling through your Newsfeed, but less data consumed. You’ll also notice that videos don’t autoplay the way they do on the standard app—videos will only autoplay on Facebook Lite when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.
You can save even more data by heading to your Facebook Lite settings, and scrolling down to the Media and Contacts setting. Here, you can choose the photo quality that Facebook Lite will display. Opting for low-resolution photos can help you reduce data usage. The standard Facebook app has a data saving feature, but it doesn’t save nearly as much when compared to Facebook Lite.
Facebook Lite isn’t just a wrapper for the mobile website—it’s a completely redesigned app. In all honesty, the layout isn’t worse; it’s just different. You still have the same basic tabs: News Feed, Friend Requests, Messages, Videos, Notifications, and Options—you just can’t swipe between them; you have to tap them.
Here’s a comparison of both apps’ Newsfeed, with Facebook Lite on the left, and the original Facebook app on the right:
As you can see, Facebook Lite’s menu and search bar remain on top of the screen, while the standard Facebook app places the menu bar at the bottom. You’ll see generally smaller text and buttons on Facebook Lite, which is intended for devices with low-resolution screens. It still has a semi-modern look with white cards over a gray background, much like the regular Facebook app.
In the notification panel below, you can see that the Lite version features small, low-resolution profile photos to denote whether someone liked or commented on something. The text is also much smaller when compared to the original Facebook app.
Scrolling through the Lite app is a bit slower than scrolling through regular Facebook. It’s clear that Facebook made some cuts to allow the app to function properly on devices with low RAM, low CPU power, and a poor internet connection. Despite this, Facebook Lite is still useable.
Security and Privacy
Facebook definitely loves your information, and you want to be sure that the company isn’t just handing it out to everyone. Well for starters, Facebook have an online tool so you can verify your privacy settings, but once you’ve done that, it’s not a bad idea to see what permissions that mobile app has on your device.
You can even browse Facebook through Tor for added security.
Some people consider the regular Facebook app’s permissions to be a bit invasive. You can see all of those below.
It looks like a long list, but Facebook Lite’s list is nearly as long:
The major differences? Regular Facebook has permissions to use biometric hardware, change audio settings, use Google Play billing services, and pair with your Bluetooth devices. So nothing too dramatic.
Basically, if regular Facebook’s permissions are too invasive for you, Facebook Lite’s probably are as well. Your best bet to avoid permissions is simply to access Facebook’s mobile website via your favorite Android browser.
Facebook Lite used to have its own messaging system built right into the app. However, it now forces you to download and use a separate messaging app, just like the standard Facebook app. Instead of using the regular Messenger, Facebook Lite users are encouraged to use Messenger Lite on Android and iOS.
But if you’re going to make the switch, how does Messenger Lite compare to Messenger? See for yourself. Messenger Lite is below on the left, and Messenger is below on the right.
Facebook Messenger Lite looks almost the same as the regular Messenger. If you find Messenger to be too bloated, Lite might just be the messaging app you were looking for anyway.
And if you’re a fan of Facebook’s stickers then you’ll be happy to know that even the Lite version supports them. Just keep in mind that you won’t have access to the library of GIFs, emojis, and text styles that come along with the standard Messenger. It’s functional, but it’s not great.
How Do I Download Facebook Lite?
Facebook Lite is currently available in North America, as well as in parts of Asia, South America, Africa, and Europe. The Play Store and App Store listings are visible to everyone, but if you’re not in one of the countries supported, you’ll see a message saying: “This app is incompatible with all of your devices.”
Download: Facebook Lite for Android | iOS (Free)
Facebook vs. Facebook Lite: Which Should You Use?
While Facebook isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, Facebook Lite might be more appealing. Especially if you own an older phone or need to save data where possible.
However, if you don’t have an older phone and don’t need to conserve data, you’ll probably benefit more from the standard Facebook app. The only issue being the extra permissions needed to use it.
Although Facebook Messenger provides an easy way to communicate with your friends, you might want to keep your information off of Facebook. Fortunately, these Facebook Messenger alternatives are perfect if you don’t want to use Facebook.