What’s the Difference Between Facebook and Facebook Lite

Facebook Lite is an Android app designed for low speed connections and low spec phones. It has been available outside the US for a few years, and now it’s available in the US, too. Here are the differences between it and the original Facebook app.

Facebook’s main app weighs in at 57 MB on my Motorola Moto E4; Facebook Lite is a mere 1.59 MB—that’s about 96.5% less space. Facebook Lite is designed to use less RAM and CPU power, as well, so you’ll get a smoother experience on a cheaper and  less powerful phones. Facebook Lite even works on older phones that are no longer supported by the regular app. If you want to check it out, you can grab Facebook Lite from the Play store.

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As well as using fewer system resources, Facebook Lite is really designed to work on slow or unstable internet connections like 2G networks or in rural areas with a bad signal. To do this, it uses a lot less data by not downloading high resolution images or autoplaying videos. This has the added bonus of saving you money if you’re on a metered plan.

Surprisingly, Facebook Lite is almost as fully featured as the regular Facebook app. You can still like and comment on your friend’s posts, visit their profiles, post to your own Timeline, and do everything else you normally do.

Even with all the features present, the difference you’ll notice with Facebook Lite is the totally stripped down interface with bigger, blockier buttons and other elements. It feels pretty dated, but it is functional. On phones with smaller screens, the larger UI elements are definitely a plus, though on my Moto E4 they just feel comically oversized. In the screenshots here, Facebook Lite is on the left and the regular app is on the right.

Should You Use Facebook or Facebook Lite?

Facebook Lite has a lot going for it. It’s got all Facebook’s banner features, uses fewer system resources and less data, and works on slower connections. The only downside is that it feels kind of basic. The stripped down interface, large square buttons, and loading bar (yes, there’s a loading bar) feel like something from the late 2000s. It doesn’t look all that different to how I remember Facebook appearing on my Nokia.

If you’ve got a decent Android phone and a good mobile data plan, I’d suggest sticking with the regular Facebook app. On the other hand, if you’re running an older phone or want to save mobile data, there’s no harm in giving it a look. It’s only 2MB, and the worst case scenario is you switch back. It might also be exactly the Facebook app you’re looking for.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.