To make its iPhone messaging app run better – especially on older phones – Facebook rewrote it from the ground up. The new version is going live now. From a report: In August 2011, Facebook introduced Messenger, an iPhone and Android app that spun off the social network’s chat feature into a stand-alone experience. […] Messenger hit one billion monthly active users in 2016 and was the world’s most-downloaded app in 2019, according to App Annie. Along the way, it supplemented its original text-based conversations with everything from voice and video calls to games to payments to bots to Snapchat-style stories. As its user base and ambitions grew, so did its size. What had been a wafer-thin 8.5MB download in 2012 expanded to take up 130MB of space on users’ iPhones. That’s about twice the size of WhatsApp, another Facebook messaging app that offers many similar features.
But now Facebook has put the iOS version of Messenger on an extreme weight-reduction plan. By rewriting it from scratch, it’s shrunk Messenger’s footprint on your iPhone down to an eminently manageable 30MB, less than a quarter of its peak size. According to the company, the new version loads twice as fast as the one it’s replacing. The update is so compact that Facebook was able to quietly build it into the existing version and test it by exposing it to a subset of users. As a giant piece of programming, the downsizing is even more dramatic. Messenger is going from 1.7 million lines of code to 360,000, for an 84% reduction.