What Is Facebook Messenger Lite?

The difference between Messenger and Messenger Lite

Messenger app icon on a smartphone

Hoch Zwei / Getty Images

Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging platforms for mobile devices, but not everyone needs all of the app's advanced features. That's why Facebook decided to launch a stripped-down version of Messenger called Messenger Lite.

Information in this article applies to the Facebook Messenger Lite app for iOS and Android devices.

What Is Facebook Messenger Lite?

Messenger Lite is an app that includes only the core features of the standard Facebook Messenger app. You can easily send text, photos, links, and stickers to anyone on Messenger or Messenger Lite. You can even video chat with friends.

The standard Messenger app includes extra features like games, stories, extensions, automated messaging from brands, and more. Messenger Lite, on the other hand, keeps it all focused on one thing and one thing only: instant messaging. The result is a simpler, less distracting app that doesn't hog as much storage space, processing power, and data.

If you're concerned about data usage, there's also a Facebook Lite app that makes an excellent companion to Messenger Lite.

How Messenger Lite Works

Messenger Lite works very similarly to the standard Facebook Messenger app, but instead of seeing several menu options at the top and bottom of your screen, you'll only see three main tabs at the top:

  • Messages (the speech bubble icon)
  • Contacts (the two people icon)
  • Account (the cog icon)

When you tap an existing conversation or start a new message, you'll notice almost all of the same buttons in the exact same places as you'd see on the standard app. You can type your message in the text field, send photos or files, record a voice message, send a sticker, call a friend by phone, start a video chat, mute or block users, and view a friend's profile (which will open in Facebook Lite if you have it).

Facebook Messenger Lite account, contacts, and messages tabs

Facebook Messenger vs. Messenger Lite

Although Messenger Lite includes the core features of the standard Messenger, there are a few differences between the two apps.

Messages

Under the messages tab, you'll see your most recent conversations and who's currently active. There's no option to search your conversations or start a new conversation. Tap the blue plus (+) in the bottom-right corner to start a group chat.

Contacts

When you switch to the contacts tab, you'll only see a list of people who use Messenger and a search field at the top. This is vastly simpler compared to the standard app, which includes options to scan QR codes, invite friends, view requests to connect, add friends by phone number, upload your contacts, or view all of your Facebook friends in alphabetical order.

Account

The account tab displays a much slimmer offering of settings compared to the standard app. You have no code for friends to scan, no username to copy or edit, no Story settings, and no access to secret conversations. However, you can still configure your notifications and sounds, sync your contacts from your device, view message requests, and switch between accounts.

Chat Window

Within the chat, you can do pretty much everything you can in the standard app. For example, it's possible to share your location, send money, and record voice messages. However, photos you receive won't load in full resolution until you tap to view them, and you cannot access Facebook games or extensions like Spotify or Gfycat.

App Size

App sizes vary by device, but Messenger Lite takes up approximately 90 percent less storage space than Messenger. As an example, Messenger Lite (version 34.0) weighs in at 27.58 MB on a Samsung Galaxy Tab A while Messenger (version 187.0) is a whopping 237 MB. Memory use is also cut down by half or more when you use Messenger Lite instead of Messenger.

Data and Wi-Fi

Without all the extra bulky features, Messenger Lite doesn't have to work as hard, therefore saving you precious data and battery life. Just like Facebook Lite, Messenger Lite has been designed to run on 2G networks and work efficiently even in areas with unstable or slow internet connections.

There's no way to log out of Facebook Messenger or Messenger Lite within the app. You can sign out of your account from the Facebook app or Facebook.com.

What Is Messenger Lite Best Used For?

Messenger Lite can be used on any compatible mobile device, but you'll find that it really shines in certain situations. Messenger Lite is ideal for:

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

If your device is fairly new and has decent storage space, it can likely handle the power and size of the standard app. Likewise, if you don't mind the added features that Messenger offers and actually prefer using them, you might want to stick with it since Messenger Lite does away with most of them except for basic messaging and video calling.

How to Get Facebook Messenger Lite

You can download Messenger Lite from Google Play or the Apple App Store. When you install the app, you'll be prompted to sign in to your Facebook account. You can use Messenger Lite even if you're signed in to regular Messenger on the same device.