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Meta is shutting down Messenger Lite, the lightweight stripped-down version of Messenger, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Users of the app are starting to see a message advising 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 to current users after September 18.
“Starting August 21, people using the Messenger Lite app for Android will be redirected to Messenger or FB Lite to send and receive messages on Messenger,” a Meta spokesperson told TechCrunch in an email.
Meta, then known as Facebook, introduced Messenger Lite for Android in 2016 for users with less powerful Android devices. The app only offers the core Messenger features to use less storage space and processing power.
Although Meta launched Messenger Lite for iOS, the company shut it down in 2020.
According to mobile analytics company data.ai, the Lite versions of the app had combined downloads estimated at about 760 million worldwide, with India accounting for the largest share, followed by Brazil and Indonesia. The United States ranks #8 in lifetime downloads.
The news comes as Meta recently announced that Messenger will be discontinuing SMS support next month. The company has informed users that they will “no longer be able to use Messenger to send and receive text messages sent by your cellular network when you update your app after September 28, 2023.”
Earlier this week, Meta said it plans to enable standard end-to-end encryption for Messenger by the end of this year. The tech giant is also expanding its test of end-to-end encryption features to “chats from millions more people.”