TikTok (previously known as Musical.ly) is one of the massively growing social media apps out there, and it's easy to see why. This app is easy to use and lets users create cool and funny videos in a jiffy. Also, TikTok packs an arsenal of tools that makes editing videos a smooth affair.
In early August 2018, Bytemod Pte Ltd or ByteDance, TikTok's makers, quietly rolled out a lighter version of the app. Going by the name of TikTok Lite, the app was initially limited to a few South-East Asian countries. Now it's available in many Asian as well as African regions and has been downloaded over 7 million times. In November 2018, TikTok had a whopping 800 million global active users in a month.
You must wonder — how is TikTok different from TikTok Lite? Is it only the name and the app size, or is there something more? Well, let's find out in the comparison below.
Storage and Battery Usage
Typically, a Lite version of any app is smaller in file size, stripped down of features, and meant for folks over slower 3G or 2G data networks.
TikTok app carries about 182MB in file size on installation and eventually hoards more space (app data + cache) depending on your usage. At present, the app measures over 300MB on my phone. On the other hand, TikTok Lite is smaller at 30MB. Clubbing the app data and cache data rakes up its storage size to around 125MB. So the Lite version is perfect if you have a phone with limited internal storage.
Since both versions support video playback, the battery consumption is nearly similar. To judge that, we used TikTok and TikTok Lite for roughly twenty-one minutes each. The resultant battery consumption was about 4% in both the cases.
At first glance, the interface of both the apps looks similar. You can access the videos through the home button and next to it are the four options — search, upload, notification, and profile.
You can still cycle through the videos by swiping up and visit the uploader's profile by swiping left. While cycling through the videos, you'll notice that they take a second more to load. The delay isn't too long but might get annoying in the long run, especially when you're scrolling through the feed to kill time or to discover a fun clip.
The video apps are known to preload content for making a seamless transition from one video to the other. Unfortunately, Lite apps don't do that by design to save data, battery, and storage — that's the reason for lags and delays.
Another minor difference is the app icon. The TikTok app has a circular icon with black background while the Lite version carries a square one with a white background.
Usually, the lite versions of apps remove the clutter and provide just the core functions. Though the app description for TikTok Lite promises a creative studio (and many things more), the Upload function doesn't work. A tap on the Upload option in TikTok Lite displays a message that the upload function will be introduced in a later update. A major deal-breaker, I'd say.
On the other hand, TikTok app boasts of an endless array of sounds, visual effects, and transitions that are impressive. If you like a specific video, you can make your own version by tapping on Album Art > Record.
TikTok Lite lets you see the people who've recreated a particular song or video, but when it comes to recording one, the option is absent.
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Profile and Settings
With TikTok, you can also set up your own TikCode. TikCode (similar to Instagram's Nametag) removes the manual process of typing and searching for a user. Instead, you can simply scan the code and follow.
Other than TikCode, there are a handful of privacy options to select who can download and view your videos, thereby preventing others from taking undue advantage of your public videos.
Furthermore, it hosts other settings such as Block list, Digital Wellbeing, LivePhoto, Wallet, and a few more. Unfortunately, the makers have stripped most of those aforementioned settings from the TikTok Lite app.
When it comes to privacy, you get the option to block others, make your account private, and a few basic notification settings. And that's pretty much it. Obviously, if you don't have any videos to protect, the privacy settings won't be of much use.
Other Features and Capabilities
Aside from the above features, another major difference between the two apps is their sharing capabilities. TikTok app offers plenty of functions like Duet, React, Save Video, Share as GIF, Favorites, and Live Photos. This is in addition to the standard Android sharing options like Share to Facebook, Share on Instagram, etc.
Needless to say, the myriad options make sharing and saving videos a seamless affair. Plus, you don't have to depend on third-party apps for simple things like making GIFs.
As you may have expected, TikTok Lite cuts down on these features too and gives you only two options — Copy Link and Report. While the absence of features like Duet and React make sense, it would have been great if simple options like Favorites and Share as GIFs were also present.
Thankfully, the standard sharing options are still there. So to save a video, you'll have to use a third-party video downloader. Also, a GIF maker should you wish to convert a video.
That undermines the whole purpose of lite apps because installing new apps to make up for basic features will indeed occupy more storage than you bargained for.
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Is Lite the One for You?
Though you can comment, like and follow your favorite videos, the bottom line is that TikTok Lite is a consumption-only app. You can see and search for all the wacky and crazy videos of the world. However, you won't be able to create and add new videos.
That is something that TikTok Lite's developers should have made clear in the Play Store description. Reading a nearly similar description as the TikTok app, users have been confusing it to be a full-fledged one without a few functionalities.
So, if you intend to binge-watch TikTok videos for fun, then the lite app is your best option. All you have to do is swipe up on the videos to cycle through them. Theoretically, it should work on phones with slower data speeds as well.