Facebook has updated Messenger Lite to provide a “richer” experience while retaining the same <10MB size that makes it so appealing. Among the changes is improved support for GIFs, which were previously supported but not animated. This time around, Facebook has enabled Messenger Lite users to send and play animated GIFs, an arguably vital part of the modern chat experience.
Messenger Lite is a lightweight version of the Facebook Messenger app intended for underpowered Android devices and slow Internet connections. The app retains Messenger’s core features, but takes up less than 10MB of storage space on the device, making it an appealing — and somewhat restrictive — alternative to the regular offering.
The new animated GIF support requires users to utilize a third-party mobile keyboard with GIFs baked in, such as Gboard. In addition, Facebook has expanded the ability to customize Messenger Lite with custom names for groups and people, change colors, and associate emoji. This is similar to the regular Messenger product, which allows users to change the color associated with a particular friend, for example.
Messenger Lite also now allows users to share files, videos, pictures, and audio files with other users, this likewise mirroring a feature already available in the regular Messenger product. To do so, users merely tap the “+” symbol and then choose the file located on their device.
Facebook has steadily updated its Messenger Lite product over past months. Earlier this year, for example, Facebook added video chat to Messenger Lite, enabling users to call each other with live video for a more robust experience. The company says it will be adding more updates in the future, and we’ll be hearing about them starting in 2019.