Facebook has quietly revived Instagram Lite, a boiled-down, visually-identical version of the social media app. The company pushed its first update to the publicly-listed APK in 11 months after having officially shuttered the service in May, purportedly for a revamp.
Social media platforms have maintained slimmed-down versions of their apps in the past few years to grab more users from developing markets with low-end hardware. Facebook, however, has decided to shut down Instagram Lite and is now redirecting users to the main app. The company has not said why.
If you use Instagram's mobile web app, then you've likely been waiting patiently for the addition of notifications since it launched in the first half of 2017. That wait is finally over. Now, Instagram users who log in from Chome can turn on notifications for when they get new followers, likes, or comments. The change also applies to Instagram Lite, which is still in testing, and more or less a wrapper of the mobile site.
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.
Not too long ago, Twitter released 'Twitter Lite,' a progressive web app version of the official Twitter app. It can do almost everything the native app can, including notifications, but it uses less data and runs entirely in a web browser. Now Instagram has done something similar, with the new web app offering much of the native app's functionality.