Facebook's official app is a lot better than it used to be, if only because the service has become so ubiquitous that it's more or less constantly being updated. Even so, there are Android users with older or cheaper phones, and users in areas where it's hard to find a reliable data connection, that Facebook is intent on serving. To that end the company has published Facebook Lite on the Play Store. This smaller and allegedly faster app is not available in the US, but American readers can download it via the APKMirror link below.

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Facebook Lite is relatively tiny for an app from a major social network, weighing in at only a quarter of a megabyte - a crucial stat if you live in a place that can only get 2G data access. There's a good reason for that, too: it looks like Facebook Lite isn't much more than a WebView wrapper for the mobile site, plus native Android notifications. That might indeed be very useful for someone who just wants to check in on Facebook without loading up the admittedly heavy Chrome app, but for most current users it won't add any real functionality. Facebook Lite does include a few extra bells and whistles that aren't available on the web, like the ability to peek into your phone's contacts to see if there's anyone you've ever spoken to that isn't your Facebook friend yet.

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Add to that a pretty lengthy list of permissions that no teeny tiny WebView app really needs, and it looks like Facebook users in major Western markets won't be lamenting their lack of access to this app any time soon. The app is compatible with Android 2.2 and higher, which should cover more than 99% of Android devices at this point. There is one demonstrable advantage of Facebook Lite: it both alerts you to new Facebook messages and allows you to open them directly, without requiring the Facebook Messenger app. That alone might be enough reason for some users to switch.

Download

The APK is signed by Facebook. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Downloading the app and subsequent updates from APKMirror is possible from any market and on any device.

File name: com.android.chrome-40.0.2214.89-2214089-minAPI16.apk

Version: 1.0.0.0.0 (Android 2.2+)

MD5: 48df1316724c995dd0d9032154f9c7ac