Facebook Messenger Lite is finally available in the UK

I have a difficult relationship with Facebook Messenger, and I go through the same process every couple of months. I install it, because certain friends refuse to use anything but, then I delete it because it’s bugging the hell out of me with it’s blobby chat heads and battery drain. A couple of months later I reinstall it, and have Facebook telling all of my friends that I’m using it, so they should say hello. Thanks Facebook.

Facebook Messenger Lite is finally available in the UK

But now it looks like there’s a way for me to end this tedious cycle once and for all. Facebook Messenger Lite isn’t exactly top secret, given hundreds of millions of people use it worldwide, but it wasn’t officially available here until today. It’s primarily aimed at developing markets where 4G and 3G coverage is either patchy, or data plans are simply unaffordable. While full-fat Facebook Messenger is designed for you to walk around London, sapping all the data it can, draining your battery with its colourful bells and whistles, Facebook Lite is considerably more frugal. Think of how Facebook was a few years ago: it’s like that.

So that means you lose things like games, bots, reminders to sync, chat heads, the ability to use it as your SMS service, GIFs, app extensions and disappearing video messages, but what you get in return is a super lightweight app which won’t drain your data or your battery life. It’s super fast, and weighs in at just 10mb – that’s 144mb less than my current Messenger installation.

The UK isn’t the only market to benefit from Facebook opening it up: Ireland, Canada and the United States are now also free to streamline their devices. Happy days.

You can download it from Google Play here. If you were looking for an iPhone link, you’re out of luck: because the app was originally designed for low-cost Android devices in regions where iPhone penetration is close to nonexistent, it was never developed. Though perhaps if Lite overtakes Messenger in the US and Europe on Android, Facebook will be forced to reconsider.

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