Meta Drops Messenger Lite, Shifts Focus to Main App

  • Meta, formerly Facebook, confirms Messenger Lite shutdown, directing users to main Messenger platform, streamlining its messaging services.
  • Messenger Lite, introduced in 2016 for low-powered Androids, removed from Google Play, access ends on September 18, 2023.
  • Transition directs Messenger Lite Android users to main app or FB Lite; SMS support also ending after September 28, 2023.

In a move that signals a shift in its messaging app offerings, Meta, the social media conglomerate formerly known as Facebook, has confirmed the discontinuation of its lightweight messaging app, Messenger Lite. This decision comes as Meta aims to refine its messaging services and streamline its portfolio, affecting millions of users globally.

Messenger Lite, initially introduced in 2016, was designed to cater to Android users with devices possessing limited processing power and storage capabilities. By providing only core messaging features, the app was optimized to run seamlessly on less-powerful devices, addressing the needs of users in emerging markets and regions where high-end smartphones were less common.

The company’s decision to discontinue Messenger Lite has been confirmed to TechCrunch. Users of the app have started receiving messages within the app, advising them to transition to the main Messenger app for their messaging needs. Additionally, the app has been removed from the Google Play Store for new users, and existing users will lose access to the app after September 18, 2023.

Effective August 21, users of Messenger Lite on Android devices will be directed to either the main Messenger app or FB Lite, another lightweight app developed by Meta, for sending and receiving messages. This strategic move aims to consolidate the user experience and provide access to the full suite of Messenger features.

Meta’s spokesperson emphasized this shift, stating, “Starting August 21, people using the Messenger Lite app for Android will be directed to Messenger or FB Lite to send and receive messages on Messenger.”

It’s worth noting that although Messenger Lite was initially available for both Android and iOS platforms, the iOS version was discontinued in 2020, leaving only the Android version until its current phase-out.

According to data from mobile analytics firm data.ai, the combined global downloads of the Lite versions of Messenger reached an impressive figure of around 760 million. Notably, India stood out as the largest market for these downloads, followed by Brazil and Indonesia. Interestingly, the United States held the eighth position in terms of lifetime downloads, indicating the app’s popularity in regions with limited access to high-end smartphones.

This development comes on the heels of Meta’s recent announcement about the forthcoming discontinuation of SMS support on Messenger, set to take effect at the end of September 2023. Following September 28, 2023, users will no longer be able to utilize Messenger for sending and receiving SMS messages sent by their cellular network. This shift underscores Meta’s focus on refining Messenger’s core functionality and aligning its services with modern communication trends.

In tandem with these changes, Meta has revealed its plans to implement end-to-end encryption as the default setting for Messenger by the end of this year. This security enhancement is in line with the company’s commitment to user privacy and data protection. Furthermore, the tech giant is expanding its ongoing testing of end-to-end encryption features, intending to include conversations of millions more users in the security-focused trial.

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