It’s been a long time since Facebook Lite’s 2015 launch, and since then we’ve seen plenty more lightweight apps come down the pike. Android Go and Google’s drive for cheap Android phones have no doubt helped this along.
Keeping track of all the available Lite or Android Go apps can be a chore though, but we’ve got you covered with a list of some of the most essential Android Go and lightweight apps on there. Keep in mind some of these apps might not be available in your country, however.
Best Android Go and lightweight Android apps
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Android Go and lightweight Android apps regularly as new applications come around.
Weighing roughly 1.5MB, Facebook Lite eschews animations and visual flourishes for a simple UI that won’t tax low-end devices. It’s got everything from your news feed and photo uploads to event functionality and business information, just like the standard app. You can even access your messenger inbox without downloading the separate app.
Facebook Lite has a couple of limitations, like its lack of calls. That’s where Messenger Lite comes in. The app supports audio and video calls with your Facebook contacts, and strips out complex UI stylings in favor of a lightweight UI and an ~8MB install size. Don’t expect games or great GIF support, but most of the other essentials are here.
Google Photos is pretty much the best photo storage and organization solution available. However, the app is quite large and all those saved photos can take up a lot of space on your phone. Enter Gallery Go, which operates much in the same way as Google Photos but is smaller, more efficient at photo storage, and works great even without an internet connection.
The Instagram Lite app was only a matter of time, following the success of Facebook’s other lightweight apps. The core functionality is mostly here too, allowing you to upload photos, browse your timeline or explore tab, check out stories, and comment on uploads. However, you can’t share videos (to your timeline or stories) or send a direct message.
Originally launched for the Indian market, Skype Lite is a slightly streamlined version of the original Skype Android app. Users get a data-saving mode, data tracking, Indian-specific bots and SMS insights (using machine learning to quickly categorize text messages). If the main Skype app is too bloated for your liking, this is worth a look.
If you thought the difference between Facebook and Facebook Lite’s file size was striking, get a load of this. The Google app weighs in at 76MB while Google Go takes up roughly 5MB of storage. Despite the dramatic size difference, Google Go offers trending queries and topics to sift through, the usual search options (images, websites, videos), and the ability to receive light webpages only. You don’t get a feed like the main Google app, but it’s still one of the better Android Go apps.
Google Maps Go
Strip Google Maps down and you’ve got the idea behind Google Maps Go. It’s a progressive web app, so you can also access it via your web browser. The app delivers traffic info, business listings, and public transport schedules. The two biggest downsides are the lack of map downloads and turn-by-turn navigation, though you can enable the latter with the Navigation for Google Maps Go app.
Files by Google
Files by Google might just seem like a file management app, but it has a few nifty tricks up its sleeve (aside from being very small in size). For example, you can share files with other smartphones without needing a data connection, easily free up space using built-in tools, and backup files to the cloud. There’s even a dark mode!
Amazon Kindle Lite
Amazon Kindle Lite offers much of the same functionality as the main Kindle app. It even lets you read ebooks saved on your smartphone, meaning you don’t need to have an Amazon account to read. You can also read book samples from millions of authors while the app itself will only take up a measly 2MB of your internal storage.
Google Assistant Go
Google Assistant Go only weighs in at 4.6MB, but it packs a fair amount of functionality nonetheless. The app lets you make phone calls, send text messages, get weather forecasts, and navigate, among other commands. However, it lacks a few features like reminders and smart home functionality.
Google clearly has no shortage of Android Go apps at its disposal, delivering Gmail Go back in February 2018. The app weighs in at just under 10MB, compared to the more than 20MB size of the Gmail app. Most of the core functionality is still here anyway, so that means multiple accounts, smart replies, and smart email categorization. It also seems to disable image loading by default to save data and storage space.
One of the more noteworthy Android Go apps right now, YouTube Go offers a number of mindful tweaks to conserve your data and run well. It allows you to choose stream or download quality, which gives you the video size in the process, among other things. One of the coolest features has to be the ability to share downloaded videos via a local connection, no data needed.
Twitter Lite is yet another progressive web app. It’s accessible via your browser and takes up just 730KB on my device. Nevertheless, it also offers a data saver mode, so you can tap to load images instead of downloading all images on your timeline. Smart stuff, even if it’s just a step above a mobile website.
One of the newest Lite apps on the list, Uber Lite is another app originally designed for the Indian market. Uber claims the app works fine on 2G internet connections, which is a seriously bold claim. Nevertheless, the lightweight app doesn’t show maps by default, instead relying on a progress bar to track your journey. The app also caches the top places in your city so you can quickly get suggested pickup and dropoff points.
Did we miss any noteworthy Lite or Android Go apps? Let us know in the comments section! You can also check out all our Android app lists over here.