What Is Facebook Lite?

Use Facebook with older phones, limited data plans and poor internet connections

An image of a man looking at Facebook on a smartphone.

S3studio / Getty Images

Facebook Lite is an official Facebook app that can be used as an alternative to the original, standard Facebook app. If you're frustrated with the performance of the standard app on your Android mobile device, you're going to want to keep reading.

An Intro to Facebook Lite

As its name suggests, Facebook Lite is a lighter version of the standard app. It was designed for Android devices that can't handle the bulkiness and power-sucking nature of the standard app.

Facebook Lite has been stripped down specifically in size and system resource requirements so it uses less RAM, CPU and data. It can also run on unstable or low speed internet connections.

Despite its "lightness" in system requirements and data use, Facebook Lite still offers almost all of the features you can get on the original Facebook app, meaning that you can still get the full Facebook experience even without the best device, data plan or Wi-Fi connection.

How Facebook Lite Works

Facebook Lite works virtually the same as the original Facebook app. When you open the app, you're shown your news feed along with the main menu options and status update field at the top of the screen.

Two screenshots of Facebook Lite for Android.

You can browse, like, comment, add friends and do everything you'd normally do on Facebook. You won't notice many features missing, and you can even use some of the more recent features that Facebook has added—such as Stories (by tapping Add to Story on your home feed) or Reactions (by tapping to hold down the Like button on any post, which brings up a set of six reactions you can select).

Overall, Facebook Lite is designed to be simple and intuitive to use. It works very fast and efficiently so you can spend more time using Facebook and less time waiting for things to load.

Differences Between Facebook Lite and Standard Facebook App

Now that you know that you can use Facebook Lite almost exactly the same way that you already use the original Facebook app, you might be wondering what the specific differences are between the two apps. Here's a brief comparison between the main features for you.

App Size

It varies by device, but you can expect Facebook Lite to take up about 95 percent less storage space than the original Facebook app. As an example, Facebook Lite (version 117.0.0.8.98) takes up 13.7MB compared to 239MB for the original Facebook app (version 195.0.0.35.99) on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A.

Battery Use

According to developer Abdou Belghalem who ran an experiment between the two apps, using Facebook Lite can save more than 50 percent of battery power compared to using the original Facebook app.

Data and Wi-Fi

To help save data when using Facebook Lite, photos render in lower resolution, videos aren't set to autoplay and there's no automatic refresh feature. The standard app on the other hand is built to support high-quality media while the news feed refreshes at frequent intervals. Facebook Lite has also been designed to run smoothly on 2G networks or in areas with bad signals.

App Performance

Since Facebook Lite uses fewer system resources and less power, it loads fast, runs smoothly and works very efficiently. The standard app might lag a little depending on the device and connection.

If you're used to the original app, you might notice a very small difference between the time it takes to take a new action on Facebook Lite. It's barely noticeable, but whereas the original app supports immediate transitions from one action to the next, Facebook Lite is designed in a way where each is a new occurrence.

Interface and Overall Layout

Facebook Lite looks less cluttered overall compared to the original app even though it has nearly all the same features. Some say that Facebook Like has a slightly more dated look to it, with block-like elements that are larger than necessary. Some buttons and icons might also appear smaller and simpler while more advanced graphics are nowhere to be seen.

What Is Facebook Lite Best Used For?

Anyone with a compatible Android device can use Facebook Lite, but it's especially helpful for users with specific devices and in specific situations. Facebook Lite is most appropriate for:

  • Older or cheaper Android devices with limited processing power
  • Devices with limited storage space
  • Devices with limited mobile data plans
  • Connections to unstable or low-speed networks (such as in rural areas)

Basically, if your current Android device is relatively new with good hardware and enough storage space, you have a generous data plan and/or your connection is typically strong and reliable, then you might just want to stick with using the standard Facebook app.

How to Download Facebook Lite

Facebook Lite is only available for Android devices from Google Play. You can still use it even if you're signed into your Facebook account on other devices (iOS, Android, web) or the same Android device using the standard Facebook app.

  1. Visit the Google Play Store on your Android device.

  2. Use the search field or your voice at the top to do a search for "Facebook Lite."

  3. Select the Facebook Lite app from your search results.

  4. Tap Install. The app should finish installing fairly quickly given that it doesn't take much space.

  5. Once the install is complete, tap OPEN.

  6. Enter your login details for your Facebook account into the given fields and then tap Log In.