Facebook has launched a completely rewritten version of its Messenger app for iPhone, promising that it is faster, small and simpler than before. And the changes are very significant.
On the coding front, Facebook has managed to shrink Messenger from a bloated 1.7 million lines of code down to a mere 360,000. It goes without saying that this makes the app smaller, but also helps to noticeably speed things up. In terms of raw number, Facebook says that Messenger is now a quarter of a previous size and twice as fast.
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We learned a little about Facebook's more streamlined design for Messenger a few days ago, but the company has only just revealed the under-the-hood performance and optimization improvements for iOS users.
The design is part of what has been called Project LightSpeed, and Facebook says that anyone who launched Messenger multiple times a day to chat with friends, family and colleague will really notice the difference.
There are some pleasing side effects of trimming back on the codebase, too. A smaller app needs smaller updates, meaning faster updating using less data. Facebook also points out that the changes will be of great benefit to people using older handsets, and those who live in places with poor connectivity.
Facebook concedes that it has undertaken a massive project in giving Messenger such a huge overhaul. Unfortunately, the rebuild of the app does mean that a few features will be temporarily unavailable, but the company says it will bring them back as soon as possible – although it doesn't specify exactly which features have gone AWOL.
Android users have already received an update which tidies up the interface a great deal, but for now it seems as though the speed and app shrinking are limited to iOS. In our tests on Android, Messenger certainly seems not faster than before.
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Sofia is a tech journalist who's been writing about software, hardware and the web for nearly 20 years – but still looks as youthful as ever! After years writing for magazines, her life moved online and remains fueled by technology, music and nature.
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