With mobile data getting faster and smartphones having larger storage, you'd be forgiven if you thought the need for slimmer and more efficient apps is dwindling. Quite the contrary, many developers are building bigger apps with overflowing features, which are not optimized enough for the lower-end devices and slower networks that are still found all around the world. To provide an alternative and avoid alienating this large user base, these developers are making "lite" versions of their apps — we've already seen this happen with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Uber, LinkedIn, Skype, Shazam, and all of Google's Go apps. Instagram is now joining the fold with its own Lite app.
Instagram Lite takes after the redesigned mobile web app that launched last year — in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it were just a wrapper around it because they look exactly the same. It doesn't have all of Instagram's features yet, but you can see your timeline, explore posts, upload your own, search, and most importantly, view/publish Stories. That's Instagram's bread and butter now. So far, direct messaging is missing and you can't upload videos or tag people, but Instagram says some of these will be coming later. I am also not sure if notifications are working; the app has settings to receive email and SMS, but not push notifications from interactions with your photos and stories.
Although Instagram Lite is only 573KB in size and will not use your data or phone storage upon first download/install, the app doesn't seem to do anything beyond that to limit its footprint. There are no measures to restrict its data consumption or lower its local storage use, which is why I am always a little dubious of this kind of app. After a couple of minutes of use, Lite is filling 13.45MB of my phone's storage, most of which was downloaded as I flipped through a few screens to check how things work. That's not so light.
According to TechCrunch, Instagram Lite has begun testing in Mexico this week and will expand to more countries later in the year. If you want to give it a go and you live in Mexico, you can grab it from the link below. Otherwise, we have it up over on APK Mirror for your sideloading pleasure.