There’s a new trend of lite apps for Android devices. A handful of major social media and communication apps are releasing stripped-down, barebones versions of their now-bloated apps.
These apps are ridiculously lightweight, sometimes weighing in under 1 megabyte. They’re also designed to not take up as much bandwidth.
And because they are not packed with over-the-top features, they don’t take up as much space and are quicker to operate (especially on older or cheaper devices).
Why This Is a Good Thing
These apps were made for developing markets, but not all of them are geographically limited. Even if they are, you can still install the secure APK file from APK Mirror. And I think they can be useful for all of us, even if you’re on an unlimited data plan and using the latest flagship Android phone.
We’ve been complaining about the bloated, poorly-coded, resource-hungry, and bandwidth-hungry apps like Facebook and Messenger for a long time now — and these Lite apps might be the answer. All the important, core features are right there. But more importantly, the bloat (like Facebook Stories in the Facebook app) isn’t.
1. Facebook Lite
The Facebook app is known to be a resource and battery hog on Android. The only alternative was to use Facebook in a mobile browser or use a third-party app like Metal. Facebook Lite is a good alternative designed specifically for low-end Android phones and regions where data doesn’t flow like the Niagara Falls.
When it comes to core features, the Facebook Lite app is very close to the full-fledged Facebook app (and, in some ways, better). While in a way, it’s a web wrapper, it does come with useful features. There’s notification support, video playback, support for reactions, and even messaging.
2. Messenger Lite
The biggest reason that you should use Messenger Lite is that there’s no Messenger Day feature here, or the new dynamic layout. Things are simple. Just a reverse chronological list of your chats, and basic messaging features.
The app is fast to use and uses less data. You can still send images in chat but other features like stickers, GIF search, and more are not available. There’s no support for chat heads either.
3. Skype Lite
Skype has a notorious reputation for being unreliable. But Skype Lite is designed to work well even on low bandwidth (2G networks). The app supports both voice and video calls and it weighs just 13 MB.
Currently, Skype Lite is only officially available in India.
4. Twitter Lite
Twitter Lite is a faster, data friendly way for people to use Twitter to see what’s happening in the world.
— Twitter (@Twitter) April 6, 2017
Twitter Lite is a weird entry on this list. It’s not a traditional app, but it’s not a mobile site either. It’s a new technology called PWA (Progressive Web Apps). Go to mobile.twitter.com and voila, you’re using the progressive app.
A lot of it works like a traditional app: you’ll get notifications, you can add it to your home screen, and there’s even an offline mode. But all of it still works inside the browser.
The progressive part of the app does some smart things. It saves the user interface and assets so they don’t have to be re- downloaded every single time you open or refresh the page. Plus, if you click on your profile icon and turn on Data Saver mode, you’ll see that images no longer load by default. You’ll see a blurred preview of them, along with the size of the image. You can then tap on the preview to load them.
The core Twitter experience — your timeline, tweets, mentions, and DMs — are still there. You won’t find special features like Moments or auto-playing videos here. For an easier setup, try turning the mobile web page into a pseudo-app using Chrome.
Visit — Twitter Lite
5. Shazam Lite
Shazam Lite weighs less than 1 MB and does the one thing you want the app to do. It does away with the bloat of recommendations, popups, and integrations. You just open the app, tap to shazam, and identify the song.
Plus, the app has a useful offline mode. This way you can scan for a song even when you don’t have an internet connection, and identify it later when you’re connected to a network.
6. Line Lite
Just like Messenger Lite, Line Lite is the lightweight, streamlined version of Line messenger. If you use the Line messenger service to stay in touch with friends and family, you’ll be happy to know that you can still perform all the basic functions here.
Personal chats, group chats, rich previews for media, and even stickers are all here. And thanks to the lack of bloat, the user interface itself is very simple and easy to navigate.
7. Opera Mini
Opera Mini is the tinier cousin of the Opera browser. It is designed to help you navigate the internet, with narrow bandwidth and reduced storage space usage.
You’ll find a plethora of features specially designed to help you deal with your data crunch, like downloading videos for offline play (except from YouTube). You can also save entire web pages for offline use.
Go to the built-in data saver, and you can fine-tune the data saving features and limitations like disabling high-quality images, optimizing videos, and more.
You’ll also find a smart download manager here. This allows you to hold off downloading large files until you’re on a Wi-Fi network.
Download — Opera Mini from Play Store (Free)
Data and Storage Management Tips
Right now, you can count the major lite apps on your fingers, though hopefully more apps take the same route soon. Until then, here are the things you can do yourself to make apps use less data, resources, and storage space.
- Use Opera Max to save up to 50 percent on all the data that goes through your phone. Opera Max is free and secure. But you need to sit through ads when the device is charging. There are paid options available as well.
- NetGuard is a firewall app that lets you block data access to certain apps in specific contexts.
- Use apps like Smart Launcher and Pulse SMS that are designed to take less than 10 MB of storage space.
How do you keep your Android phone running lean and clean? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below.