If you own an older Android phone, then popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge can seriously affect the performance of the device. These browsers tend to consume more storage space, processing power, and memory.
Fortunately, there are lightweight alternatives that have a much smaller footprint and focus on speed. We’ll guide you through the best lightweight browsers available for old Android devices.
1. Via Browser: Small in Size, Rich in Features
- APK size: ~821KB
- App size after installation: 2MB
The Via Browser is built on top of the Chromium WebView. Its main highlight is the simplicity. The browser doesn’t compromise on any features and offers you many customization options. From look, to feel, to how you interact with it, every aspect of the browser puts you in control.
Tap the Hamburger Menu, then tap the Settings button to open the Settings screen. You can customize the homepage by changing the background picture and style, enable or replace the browser logo with your image, and adjust the opacity of the background.
It also includes Incognito Mode for private browsing, or you can set the app to let automatically clear your browsing history on exit. You can even set the navigation button to perform a particular function on long-press. For example, you might set Scroll to top for the Back button and Scroll to bottom for the Forward button.
Via Browser also offers some advanced features. You can change the browser user agent, block images when using mobile data, save a web page for offline use, and more. With a small footprint of 2MB, Via browser does an excellent job on an old Android device.
Download: Via Browser (Free)
2. Monument Browser: Designed for Readers
- APK size: ~2MB
- App size after installation: ~9MB
Monument Browser is also made possible thanks to Chromium WebView. It is a fast, secure, and intuitive web browser designed to give you the best possible experience while surfing and reading. Tap the Overflow Menu, then the Settings button to open its Settings. You can choose to move the search bar from top to bottom, change the user agent, and swap search engines.
It gives you some interesting options as you start surfing the web. Tap the Overflow Menu, then Extras to take a look at these. You can switch on the night mode, or try the reading mode which has the ability to change fonts and listen to the article. While you’re on a page, you can take a screenshot of an entire article or save it as a PDF.
The app has built-in support for downloading audio, video, and entire web pages for offline viewing. Tap the Overflow Menu > Download Medias to activate the media inspector. Then while watching a video, it will automatically enable picture-in-picture mode.
If you’re looking for a lightweight browser focused on surfing and reading, then monument browser should be your choice.
Download: Monument Browser (Free, premium version available)
3. FOSS Browser: Open Source and Full of Features
- APK size: ~2.5MB
- App size after installation: ~8.6MB
FOSS Browser is an open source browser also based on WebView. Its main goal is to give you a browsing experience that puts you in control. The search bar, tab preview, and entire navigation controls live at the bottom of the screen, making it optimized for one-handed browsing.
The homepage includes links to your saved sites, bookmarks, history, and saved login data. While you’re on the page, tap the Overflow Menu, then the Share button to share a link, screenshot, or PDF with a single tap. You can save them to your device as well.
With a small footprint of 9MB and built-in security controls, FOSS browser is an excellent option for an old Android device.
Download: FOSS Browser (Free)
4. Phoenix Browser: Download Videos With Zero Effort
- APK size: ~5.5MB
- App size after installation: 27.5MB
Phoenix Browser uses a WebView component built on top of Chromium. It’s a lightweight browser with a built-in download manager to grab online videos and play them without the need of a third-party video player.
When you install the app, you’ll see the homepage cluttered with news based on your location, games, and most visited pages. There’s a bit of an issue with notification ads too. If this bothers you, tap Manage Homepage and toggle off all the options. Also, you might want to disable notifications for this app.
Apart from the usual browsing-related features, there are some interesting tricks too. Access them by tapping the Hamburger Menu, then Toolbox. Turn on the Private Space to keep the browsing history and downloaded videos in a separate database. Other users will not be to able to view what sites you visit and videos you download. If you use this feature often, check out the best mobile private browsers.
Overall, there are both pros and cons for this app. But if you travel frequently and like to watch videos offline, Phoenix browser should be on your device.
Download: Phoenix Browser (Free)
5. Hermit: Lite Apps Browser
- APK size: ~3.7MB
- App size after installation: ~10MB
Hermit is essentially a browser that lets you create lite apps from websites you visit frequently. It comes with a rich library of ready-made lite apps, complete with pre-configured settings. Tap an app icon to install that app instantly. If you don’t find a particular lite app, type in the URL of a site and Hermit will turn it into an app on the home screen.
When you create a shortcut to a website with Chrome, it functions as a browser tab. In Hermit, the lite apps operate as actual apps in its browser. You can customize those apps with different settings for each.
For example, you can set one lite app to desktop mode, but others in default mobile mode. It also lets you block images for specific lite apps and set custom themes. Hermit also supports notifications for RSS feeds, lets you bookmark a particular section of a site, supports night mode and reading mode, and much more. Visit the Hermit website to see how it’s different from other browsers.
If you own an old Android device, then you should try this app. It helps reduce battery consumption, free up storage space, does not use background resources, and reduces the permission requests required by native apps.
6. Lynket Browser: Multitask While Surfing the Web
- APK size: ~3.8MB
- App size after installation: ~9MB
When you open a link from any Android app, it either opens in your default browser or the app’s integrated web browser. While the integrated browser suffers from the older implementation of WebView, the external browser might take a while to load the website. This results in loss of focus and prevents you from multitasking.
Lynket is a unique browser build on the top of the Chrome Custom Tabs protocol. So when you open a link, the web page will slide over the app you are using. This lets you you multitask or stack multiple links in floating bubbles in the background, so you don’t lose them if you accidentally swipe them away.
Lynket also offers unique customization options. You can choose the toolbar color dynamically, read articles without any distraction, utilize Google AMP support, and much more. If you own an old Android device, this browser helps you have the best customized browsing experience without slowing down your phone.
Download: Lynket Browser (Free)
7. Opera Mini: Browser With Data-Saving Features
- APK size: ~8MB
- App size after installation: ~20.5MB
Opera Mini is a lightweight and powerful web browser designed to work with devices that have fewer resources. Out of the box, it comes with incognito mode, a smart download feature with intelligent mobile data detection, a night theme, the ability to change search engines, data sync across your devices, and more.
Its data saving feature is unique among browsers and supports multiple modes. Tap the Opera Mini button on the bottom toolbar, followed by Settings > Data Savings. You’ll see a graph of the data you’ve saved over the last week. You can let Opera do the magic for saving data, or choose between Extreme and High compression modes.
In the High Compression mode, the browser will crunch the web page through a server and push a lighter version to your phone. In contrast, the Extreme Compression is too aggressive and might break a page. Use it only when you’re really low on data, or in a location where internet connectivity is poor.
Download: Opera Mini (Free)
More Tweaks to Make Android Faster
The Play Store has a variety of lightweight browser apps with different sets of features and abilities. It doesn’t make sense to use Chrome or Firefox for your old Android device. In the long run, with a more streamlined browser you’ll save battery and resources, plus get more life out of your phone.