Meta is shutting down Messenger Lite, its lightweight stripped-down version of Messenger, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Users of the app are starting to see a message that advises them to “use Messenger to keep chatting.” The app has been removed from the Google Play Store for new users and will no longer be available after September 18 for current users.
“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,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email.
Meta, known as Facebook at the time, introduced Messenger Lite for Android in 2016 for users with less-powerful Android devices. The app offers only the core features Messenger in order to hog less storage space and processing power.
Although Meta launched Messenger Lite for iOS, the company shut it down in 2020.
According to mobile analytics firm data.ai, the Lite versions of the app had combined downloads estimated at approximately 760 million globally, with India accounting for the single largest portion, followed by Brazil and Indonesia. The United States ranked No. 8 by lifetime downloads.
The news comes as Meta recently announced that Messenger is dropping SMS support next month. The company notified users that they “will no longer be able to use Messenger to send and receive SMS messages sent by your cellular network when you update your app after September 28, 2023.”
Earlier this week, Meta said it plans to enable end-to-end encryption by default for Messenger by the end of this year. The tech giant is also expanding its test of end-to-end encryption features to “millions more people’s chats.”